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Why do some people believe that Poltics DAs are bad, and what makes a Poltics DA different than "normal" DAs?

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Whenever I read online about Politics DAs, I always find that people bash on them for some reason, and from what I understand, Politics DAs are somehow different than other DAs.

 

How are Poltics DAs different from "regular" DAs, and why are they sometimes looked down upon?

 

Also, I came across this page, and I don't understand the rationale behind these reasons:

http://learnpolicydebate.wordpress.com/2012/03/31/reasons-why-the-politics-disadvantage-is-the-worst-disadvantage-in-policy-debate/

 

If anybody could help me understand, it would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!

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People hate politics disads because they don't link. The aff asks the question of should x be done, not should the government do x instead of y. So its annoying that politics disads have become so traditional that these theory arguments are extremely ineffective.

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People hate politics disads because they don't link. The aff asks the question of should x be done, not should the government do x instead of y. So its annoying that politics disads have become so traditional that these theory arguments are extremely ineffective.

Eh, I would argue that Politic DA's are in my opinion one of the better DA's that link because if you find major disagreement against a plan you have a link. Also, the aff asks if x should be done and the negative responds by saying no that it trades off.  Also a good politics debater will never argue that the plan shifts the agenda by putting the plan on top. A good politics debater would argue that the plan is majorly unpopular so once the plan passes it will make all those people so upset that they aren't going to vote on anything else that they may not be to fond of ie; CIR. My partner and I use the example of "When you were a kid your parents made you eat broccoli you never wanted asparagus afterwards. Empirically proven that congress doesn't like to do a bunch of things that they hate. And to the argument that fiat solves the link: https://www.dropbox.com/s/xws16c3bkheodie/Fiat%20Theory.docx this is a theory argument I whipped up after a tourney.

Edited by Solax10
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Personally, I hate most politics DAs because they're mostly unrealistic. Let's break them down into 3 types:

 

Political Capital: The President only has the resources to get X passed; plan takes those resources away so X fails.

 

These are usually unrealistic because political capital in this sense doesn't really exist. A president who does something deeply unpopular can lose his ability to get legislation passed, sure. But that requires specific link evidence, and usually makes no sense given the timeframe of policy debate. For example, Obama certainly has lost political capital after pressing through Obamacare--but it didn't become apparent until it started getting implemented and people found lots of problems with it. The idea that Obama can't pass immigration reform because he spent political capital on an oil drilling agreement with Mexico is silly.

 

Elections: Plan will cause the public to vote GOP/Dem, and that's bad because X will/won't happen.

 

This is silly because very few policy debate Affs are controversial enough to turn elections, and because what does turn elections is often extremely unpredictable. Who predicted the Republicans taking a big hit in the 2012 election season from an obscure Senate candidate saying stupid stuff about rape and abortion? Who predicted first Benghazi, and then the Candy Crowley moderator intervention in the second debate? For midterms, it's even worse, because those elections are local and a lot more volatile, as Eric Cantor recently found out. As a generic argument, it's usually silly, but with very specific evidence, it can be effective.

 

Resistance: Plan will cause GOP/Dem backlash stopping X from happening.

 

Probably the best type of Politics DA, and probably the least common (because it's not as generic as political capital). With specific evidence, it can be great, and formed an effective part of our teams' general strategies last year because most Affs people were running would in fact cause GOP backlash. But it'll be much weaker on a topic like Oceans where most Affs won't be very controversial.

 

TLDR version: Politics DAs can be great with specific link evidence, but far too few debaters take the time to pull those specific links.

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Basically PTX is incredibly generic.

 

I think they are good for debate. Although I hate PTX debates, I think it encourages research before tournaments. Also if you can find a plan popular card; They can't just use some generic link,  but still PTX will always be there whether we like it or not; might as well try to find ways to beat it/win on it. 

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I think it's mostly because it's generic. At the same time, you could say the same thing about most critiques, though people are getting better about writing/reading topic specific K's. Anyway, the other problem with the politics DA is that even within debate it just doesn't make any sense simply because if you actually look at the political context within our system, the plan won't link. It doesn't trigger a link, and it wouldn't matter because it wouldn't make a difference to the GOP on supporting x issue.

 

But overall politics DA's are good because of the research you have to do, the ability to keep up with current events, and being a super generic that is not only good for new affs, but good when other DA's are either terrible or don't exist (college War Powers and maybe the Decrim topic)

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Ptx sucks soo bad, every time I've hit it it's always

 

1. Some bill is gonna pass

2. Govt. does anything

3.Obama loses PC

4. Bill doesn't pass

5. Nuke war

 

The main problem I have w/ ptx is that the bills were probably never gonna pass anyway (I.e. CIR) or they're gonna pass no matter what cause there's an absolute necessity (I.e. Debt ceiling)

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Ptx sucks soo bad, every time I've hit it it's always

 

1. Some bill is gonna pass

2. Govt. does anything

3.Obama loses PC

4. Bill doesn't pass

5. Nuke war

 

The main problem I have w/ ptx is that the bills were probably never gonna pass anyway (I.e. CIR) or they're gonna pass no matter what cause there's an absolute necessity (I.e. Debt ceiling)

 

God damn I missed the debt ceiling politics DA. 

 

"What's your timeframe on your impact" - opponents 

 

" 3 days" - me 

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Personally, I hate most politics DAs because they're mostly unrealistic. Let's break them down into 3 types:

 

Political Capital: The President only has the resources to get X passed; plan takes those resources away so X fails.

 

These are usually unrealistic because political capital in this sense doesn't really exist. A president who does something deeply unpopular can lose his ability to get legislation passed, sure. But that requires specific link evidence, and usually makes no sense given the timeframe of policy debate. For example, Obama certainly has lost political capital after pressing through Obamacare--but it didn't become apparent until it started getting implemented and people found lots of problems with it. The idea that Obama can't pass immigration reform because he spent political capital on an oil drilling agreement with Mexico is silly.

me: "how much political capital does immigration reform need?"

neg: "8 gallons"

 

that was a confusing cross-x

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Here is my question... if x bill is going to pass now then cant you just say let it pass then pass the plan? Like yeah tf and stuff but like honestly there is no plan that's timeframe is a month or less

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Here is my question... if x bill is going to pass now then cant you just say let it pass then pass the plan? Like yeah tf and stuff but like honestly there is no plan that's timeframe is a month or less

That is an argument that's made, called bottom of the docket, but there are a couple of problems with it.  First, there's no formal order for when bills pass, so if you assume real world politics, the bill probably dies in congress.  Second, neg can concede that the bill won't pass and get stuck in congress, then say that means the plan never gets passed.  Third, the neg can concede any other defense on the flow, 2nc counterplan pass the plan immediately, and win.  Third, it's theoretically illegitimate as hell because you can use it to justify spiking out of any DA ever (do the plan once the economy stabilizes, biodiversity is no longer on the brink, etc.) and it severs should, which is immediate.  Fourth, most policy judges I've seen really don't buy politics theory, so you can't go for it unless it's dropped.  Fifth, if you want politics theory, you're better off with intrinsicness or fiat solves the link, both of which are more coherent, easier to justify, and less likely to get you into murky ground and bad debates.

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Fiat solves the link still leads to some pretty bad debates.

 

Basically, fiat means that we imagine it passes, but it doesn't really dictate the theoretical premise of how that comes to fruition. Unless specified otherwise in a plank in your plan text, it's assumed that bills follow 'normal means' which means they go through Congress and get signed by the President. If you try to specify later that gives the neg a very good moving the goal posts argument because you're adding on planks to spike out of the DA link which is just a shitty thing to do from a fairness standpoint and can very easily lose you rounds for it.

 

As far as intrinsicness, there's at least two separate topics on intrinsicness DA theory, and the community consensus is that the argument died out around the Jurassic period, so good luck convincing a judge.

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I agree that politics theory probably isn't the way to go; I'm just saying that fiat solves and intrinsicness don't let your opponent do shenanigans.

 

Incidentally, while I know community consensus is against me, I still think fiat solves the link is completely legitimate.  If we can fiat past all the other barriers to plan implementation, I don't see why we can't also fiat a mindset shift that overcomes attitudinal inherency.  Even if we can't, guaranteed passage of the plan means there's no reason the predient has to expend political capital to pass it anyway.  Also, any argument that derives all its validity from "normal means" seems iffy to me; I think the neg should have to get the aff to commit to their interpretation of how the plan passes to get a link (or CP competition).  Your interp of how fiat solves is run seems to be a bit different from mine; it's possible I've been misusing the term.

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1) Fiat means "let it be done," and only means that we imagine the plan passes so we can debate the effects of that plan rather than every debate being 'no solvency--would never pass.' The problem is that imagining the plan passing doesn't mean that we can arbitrarily "fiat" things such as how congressman think.

2) Guaranteed passage in no way means that there wasn't a political battle. Obamacare passed but I think we'd all agree that a significant amount of political capital was expended in trying to do so. 

3) It's no so much that it derives its link from the idea of normal means as the idea that trying to say "Oh, it's actually XO" or "We actually overturned X v Y" after the 1AC is theoretically a bad move from an abusiveness standpoint because you change details of your advocacy to spike out of the DA.

--The idea of normal means insofar as PTX is concerned is that the plan follows the normal procedure for becoming law; that is that is is passed by Congress and signed by the President. That doesn't mean you can "fiat" that all the congressman agree, or like your plan, because at that point it's basically justifying using fiat to get out of almost /any/ DA, because using that same logic you could say "Oh, well also Russia would like the plan too, so no backlash," or something to that manner.

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1. Fiat overcomes all barriers to plan implementation; if there's a law that prevents the implementation of the plan, fiat means that law goes away.  Likewise, attitudinal inherency serves the same function of preventing plan passage; the most logical solution is to fiat that it goes away.  If the aff was as unpopular as the link evidence claims, it wouldn't pass, so the fact that it passed means it must not have been as unpopular.

2. Sure, things can pass and be costly.  That said, there's immediate passage with no time for fights, modifications, media coverage, or any of the other things that end up influencing political capital.  More to the point, it means that there's no reason Obama would have to get involved, so even if fights occurred, they wouldn't necessarily impact him (particularly if the aff is some conservative oil bill that logic dictates wouldn't be pushed by a liberal president).

3. Sure, 2ac clarification of mechanism like that is pretty questionable (cross-x probably checks, but that's a whole side discussion), but the politics DA is heavily reliant on a questionable idea of normal means within Congress.  It assumes direct presidential push (or at least implicit presidential support), rather than a decision within the legislature that simply gets signed after all the fights drain other people's PC (side question: are other government officials, particularly within the legislature, considered to have PC, or is that term only used in the context of executive influence over the legislature?).  If the neg can assume that, I'm not sure why the aff can't counter-assume Obama vetoes it and then fiat means 2/3rds support is available (I don't support this interpretation, I'm just not sure why it isn't an equally valid definition of "normal means", particularly if the aff has Obama says no evidence).

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As the person who wrote the article the original poster links to.

 

What happens in debate conversations outside of debates:

Peoples opinion of the argument is probably a flavor of their win/loss record versus it.  Although, various arguments in debate--particularly those that are known as "generic" strategies get a bad wrap after debate rounds.  Consultation counter plans and arguments known as back-file checks also fall in this diminutive argument characterization.  Other more "utopian" or idealistic strategies like the anarchy counter plan and the critique (more broadly) also tend to get this label.

 

Strategically.  Every reason I think on this thread speaks to the negative's strategic options with politics.  One other key reason why that is true is that there are a number of counter plans that you can viably run with politics that make it an even better option.

 

Truth value of the argument.  The argument itself is a flawed way to look at reality and make decisions.

 

I think aft teams can make smart arguments regarding the credibility to the truth claims of the politics disadvantage.  

 

What is different than other disads??? In some respects this is a fair criticism.  I think if you re-read the article it specifics the things wrong with the politics disadvantage…..and you can think about the ways a regular disad doesn't do that.

 

I tend to think budget disads (tradeoff) although the extent to which Congressional fiat does or does not cause an on budget tradeoff is up for debate.  Often there are topic disads that are like deterrence good/deterence bad.  Agency focus tradeoff disads are at least credible.  Also, impact turns (which are essentially disads) also have a better link.  So in all those cases you have disads that are conceivably better than politics disads.

 

For me, the viability of politics disads is massively increased by counter plans that solve 90 to 100% of the case.

 

In the real world its possible that horse-trading external to the aft would solve the link.

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1. Fiat overcomes all barriers to plan implementation; if there's a law that prevents the implementation of the plan, fiat means that law goes away.  Likewise, attitudinal inherency serves the same function of preventing plan passage; the most logical solution is to fiat that it goes away.  If the aff was as unpopular as the link evidence claims, it wouldn't pass, so the fact that it passed means it must not have been as unpopular.

2. Sure, things can pass and be costly.  That said, there's immediate passage with no time for fights, modifications, media coverage, or any of the other things that end up influencing political capital.  More to the point, it means that there's no reason Obama would have to get involved, so even if fights occurred, they wouldn't necessarily impact him (particularly if the aff is some conservative oil bill that logic dictates wouldn't be pushed by a liberal president).

3. Sure, 2ac clarification of mechanism like that is pretty questionable (cross-x probably checks, but that's a whole side discussion), but the politics DA is heavily reliant on a questionable idea of normal means within Congress.  It assumes direct presidential push (or at least implicit presidential support), rather than a decision within the legislature that simply gets signed after all the fights drain other people's PC (side question: are other government officials, particularly within the legislature, considered to have PC, or is that term only used in the context of executive influence over the legislature?).  If the neg can assume that, I'm not sure why the aff can't counter-assume Obama vetoes it and then fiat means 2/3rds support is available (I don't support this interpretation, I'm just not sure why it isn't an equally valid definition of "normal means", particularly if the aff has Obama says no evidence).

 

A world with that interpretation of fiat, along with the NFL's insistence on topics with massive breadth and in some cases a lack of good DA's (Like how NAFTA non-uq's most mexico da's) means that for anyone in a lay district (like me), the aff would win 90-95% of rounds. I buy that fiat means plan passes, but it sure as hell doesn't mean it gets to be popular. Saying fiat gets you out of the political process is more than just a cop-out, it kills neg ground. I would have quit debate if I lost all of my neg rounds because I couldn't generate offense. 

 

Not even kidding here, downrep me I don't give a fuck. The Politics DA might not be great or even realistic, but it's the only way to create viable offense vs new affs (and disclosure doesn't check in local districts since no one fucking discloses), moreover it creates some offense vs extreamly small affs, especially in places where generic T or those shitty "substantial" T cards aren't bought by judges. 

Edited by RainSilves

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me: "how much political capital does immigration reform need?"

neg: "8 gallons"

 

that was a confusing cross-x

How much political capital? Like 10 political capital.

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your ability to run a good ptx da is largely dependent on the country's political atmosphere during the time of your debate

having good uniqueness cards is really important; i know of a team that lost a round bc their PTX UQ cards weren't as updated as the other team

make sure you cut new uq cards for your aff (i.e. plan is popular) before a tourney

theres also a ton of embedded theory args for ex. da is intrinsic (aff arg)— judge is a policymaker so they can pass whatevers on the docket as well as the plan

u have to be familiar with a ton of jargon and in general stay up to date with news

some key terms to learn: political capital, top/ bottom of the docket

its not that complicated once u get it, just requires lots of practice! Good luck (:

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I've heard 3 political capital can kill a man

but not a woman cos we haven't had one of those for president.

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