The Instigator
unlockable
Con (against)
Losing
7 Points
The Contender
Double_R
Pro (for)
Winning
13 Points

Is Obama a Great Orator?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/16/2011 Category: Politics
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 4,707 times Debate No: 17537
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (27)
Votes (3)

 

unlockable

Con

President Obama is an over-hyped orator. He's not a great writer or a great speaker, whether prepared or extemporaneous. His tone is repetitive and monotone, he relies on a handful of rhetorical crutches, and he's petty. His reputation as a uniquely gifted, wise, insightful, mature, or honest communicator is unfounded.
Double_R

Pro

Thanks to Con for initiating this debate. I wish him the best of luck.

Definitions

Before we can discuss weather Obama is a great orator we must first establish what a great orator is:

Orator
: One who delivers an oration (1)

Oration
: an elaborate discourse delivered in a formal and dignified manner (2)

Great
: remarkable in magnitude, degree, or effectiveness (3)

Great Orator
: One who delivers an elaborate discourse delivered in a formal and dignified manner that is remarkable in magnitude, degree, or effectiveness

Rebuttal

Cons entire first round argument is a collection of personal opinions that do not affirm his resolution, and in fact contradict it. The magnitude, degree or effectiveness of an orator can only be measured by the impact it has on the people whom the oration is directed, in this case the American people. Con states that Obama is “overhyped”. However in order for him to be overhyped he must be hyped up to begin with. Pro also states that Obama has a reputation as being a uniquely gifted, wise, insightful, mature, and honest communicator. This only affirms that Obama has accomplished his objectives of making his orations remarkable in magnitude, degree, or effectiveness, thus he is a great orator.

This alone is sufficient enough for me to declare the resolution stated as Obama is not a great orator to be negated. However I will simply add to my case to provide Con with the counter argument that he apparently intended for. For Con to affirm his resolution he must refute this rebuttal or show why it is invalid.

Counter Argument

Deciding from an individual point of view weather Obama should be considered a great orator can only be based on highly subjective criteria, thus this is my only basis from which to continue. An article from the Huffington Post listed Obama as the 3rd greatest president in history behind only JFK, and FDR. In the article point #3 stated Obama as a user of all 4 languages of communication(4). I will list them and add my supporting contentions.

Visual Language
: Con describes Obama as being monotone but change in emotional level is not necessary to create excitement. Excitement comes from someone who speaks with authority and confidence. To a visual person this method is very effective, and Obama clearly displays this.

Auditory Language
: This is the art of providing a very compelling story line. When Obama speaks he takes the audience from points A to Z in a coherent and convincing fashion. Those who share his basic beliefs are left with their concerns mitigated before the even arise and set up nicely to absorb his main talking points.

Auditory Digital Language
: This is someone who shows an unmistakable grasp of the facts, details and nuances. Obama clearly shows this in his speeches leaving his audiences to feel assured by his statements.

Kinesthetic Language
: This comes from the ability to connect with, move and inspire an audience. Obama’s words tend to be not only in sync with the thoughts of his audience but even go beyond what his audience was expecting. This is why he has been so successful inspiring them.

Conclusion

Con has provided a case which is supported by his own personal opinions. However when choosing an obvious factual method to support his resolution it fails by his own contentions.
Debate Round No. 1
unlockable

Con


I am grateful to Pro for having made his opening statement in a clear and transparent fashion. He has set a standard for this debate that is much higher than the intellectually lazy and subjective argument which my “debate challenge” would otherwise have initiated.



Definitions



Pro presents a fine definition, but I do not wholly agree that it should be our working metric, and in any case I do not believe that President Obama satisfies Pro's standard of oratorical greatness.



The key problem in Pro's definitional argument is the “effectiveness” prong of “greatness.”



Pro states says the “effectiveness of an orator can only be measured by the impact it has on the people to whom the oration is directed, in this case the American people.” But the only evidence Pro shares of Obama's impact on Americans is that Obama is “hyped” among the people and that he has established a reputation as a “gifted, wise, insightful, and honest communicator.” Pro states that Obama's succesful establishment of this persona “affirms that Obama has accomplished his objectives of making his orations remarkable in magnitude, degree, or effectiveness.”



But I assert that the effectiveness of a Presidential orator is about more than merely creating a persona, which I recognize in my opening statement that Obama and his enablers have done effectively. Consider that an effective President is one who advances his leadership agenda in the executive functions of government, in spearheading legislation, and in foreign and military policy. So, to the extent a President could be considered an effective orator, it should be in relation to the effectiveness with which his oration advances his Presidential agenda, not merely in relation to whether people concede that he's a smart or likable guy. I submit to you that if a President persuades some people that he is an effective orator, but his oratory does not substantially enable him to assert his leadership, then his oratory is ineffective and he is not, in fact, a great orator.



Time and again the President has tried and failed to advance his agenda through speeches and press conferences; his oratory is ineffective at building political capital or momentum for his policies. His canvassing on Health Reform did not affect public opinion of the Affordable Care Act, which ultimately passed through parliamentary procedure in spite of the fact that it remained unpopular, even though the public demand for “reform” in general was high. http://www.theatlantic.com... Obama's personal stump-speech investment in midterm elections, such as in Virginia, New Jersey, and Massachusetts, also failed. http://jumpinginpools.blogspot.com... More recently, he called two big-deal press conferences in a single week on the issue of raising the debt ceiling, attempting two completely different rhetorical positions. A couple months ago, he had a much-anticipated addresses on Afghanistan and Israel, the former failing to adequately inform or rally public opinion (http://shadow.foreignpolicy.com...) and the latter being backtracked within days. The "recovery summer" PR campaign was also a failure (http://www.politico.com...), as was last year's cliche-filled "sputnik moment" state of the union address.



Of course, every political lader has difficulty advancing his agenda, and this being a democracy, no President can simply snap his fingers and make everything fall into place. But that is why being considered a "great orator" among national leaders throughout history is a unique achievement worthy of only a handful of figures. It is about more than one's likability or adherence to Toastmasters conventions, it's aout effectiveness. Wnston Churchill was a great and effective orator who kept British morale high during World War II and the London air-raids. FDR will forever be known for his fireside chats. Ronald Reagan's nationalistic rhetoric had an inspiring effect on Americans, and it alo rallied people on the other side of the Iron Curtain.

Jimmy Carter, on the other hand, will always be known for his so-called "malaise speech," George H.W. Bush for his boring delivery, Bob Dole for talking in the third person, Ross Perot for his awkward use of props, and George W. Bush for his inerudite enunciation. Like Obama, all of these men were trained to communicate using verbal and non-verbal language, but rarely did they do it effectively, and none of them are likely to be remembered as "great orators."


I believe that Obama's oratory should be compared to that of Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan,and FDR. The theme of Obama's presidency seems to be economic recovery. That was also the case during much of FDR's presidency, all of Jimmy Carter's, and the first few years of Reagan's first term. FDR and Reagan were apparently great orators because their oratory successfully persuaded the American people to be faithful in their leadership and their oratory advanced their presidential agendas. Jimmy Carter, on the other hand, was not a great orator because his oratory failed to prop American morale or to advance an agenda. President Obama's oratory has not buttressed American morale against the "misery" of this period of economic trouble, it has not built political capital for his agenda, and it has not even been good enough for him to maintain a decent job approval rating, in spite of the fact that he won election in 2008 with a large electoral majority.



Collateral Argument



Pro introduces a "counter argument" by which he intends to use some objective standards to show that President Obama is a great orator. I reject these standards because they represent a mere "minimum threshold" of competence, not great oratory. In my rhetoric class at school, I learned of the different levels of language, and all my classmates and I applied them in public speakng exercises. I believe that all politicians apply these, too, and while some are better orators than others, rarely are any of them great. The mere fact that Obama communicates on several levels of rhetorical language is insufficient to show that he's a great orator: merely that he tries.


I believe that other factors constitute great oratory. A great orator should routinely communicate messages that are impactful, and a great Presidential orator should exhibit a range of communication that is impactful and memorable in the many different contexts wherein a President might communicate. In this regard, President Obama fails because he is an oratorical "one trick pony." The only speech he knows how to give is one in which he frames a controversial issue in a morally relativist framework, leading up to a politically leftist conclusion, puncuated througout with his favorite catchphrase, "let me be clear." (Having to plead with your audience to permit you to speak clearly merely underscores the lack of clarity in one's message.) The first time he gave such a speech, such as his Race Speech or the 2004 Democratic Convention keynote address, it may have been impactful. But each time he recycles the same rhetorical structure, he fals short of his reputation for good oratory and reveals that perhaps he is not so gifted after all.



Another example of great oratory is extemporaneous speech. One who is truly gifted at oratory should be able to demonstrate his skill in ad-hoc speech as well as prepared speech. This is especially important in modern times, wherein every President employs a large team of speechwriters and coaches and it is difficult to determine how much is the President's oratory versus how much is puppeted. Obama is known for a near-pathological avoidance of extemporaneous speech, and some of the most embarrassing moments in his career have come from his unprepared remarks (Beergate, Clinging to Guns, etc.)

Double_R

Pro

Thanks to Con for providing a thoughtful reply and raising the level of his level of argument. I guess I’ll do the same.

Definition

1.
Rebuttal of Cons definition

Clearly a major factor of this debate is in how we interpret the words “great orator”. Con appears to accept the effectiveness “prong” but adds the concept of leadership effectiveness through results. I can certainly refute Cons assertion that Obama has failed to achieve political results as Obama is widely known for passing some of the most historic legislations (good or bad) in many generations, but this concept is flawed.

A President’s oratory abilities have little to do with him advancing his political agenda. For a President, advancing political agenda is dependant on the support of other politicians. Because other politicians already have strong opinions of their own, oratory skills alone will not change their minds. By the same token, many debaters reading this already have a strong opinion of weather Obama is a great orator. Yet despite how convincing my argument might be, the readers will not likely change their minds. That is no indication of my debate abilities any more then Obama advancing his political agenda is any indication of his oratory abilities.

2.
Level of greatness

Another flaw in Cons definition is that he appears to assert that Obama must be measured against histories greatest orators to be considered great. This is simply not the definition. The resolution is not that Obama is the greatest orator of all time or anything along those lines, it is simply that he is a great orator. Most would accept that great is what comes after very good, and that good is simply better then acceptable which is borderline average. As an analogy, many basketball fans would consider this years MVP Jalen Rose to be a great NBA basketball player. Yet few would consider him better then LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, or Kobe Bryant. In other words he is considered a great basketball player but he is not even the best player in the NBA today, let alone one of the greats of all time nor does he need to be. Just as such, an argument that Obama is not one of histories greatest orators would not negate the resolution that he is a great orator.

3.
Effectiveness

This brings us back to how we measure a great orator. To measure greatness we must first establish what the purpose or goal of an orator is. In politics an orator’s purpose is to communicate, excite and inspire his supporters, independents, and possibly even some of his opponents. I think this goal is very similar to that of a salesman, as Obama is selling himself and his ideas to the audience. Salesmen are measured by how much volume they produce in sales, which is an easily measurable and comparable number. Oratory “sales” are much more difficult to measure, so we will have to find the strongest factual basis to measure it on.

Examples of Greatness

1.
Obama inspires voters

An incredibly noteworthy point is that Obama had no political or business background going into 2004(1). Yet despite not having any relevant background, he won the election for Senator of Illinois that year. From there Obama went from a political unknown when he began his tenure in 2005 to being elected President of the United States in 2008 despite his lack of sufficient qualifications, unique ideas, or legislative accomplishments. Along the way he defeated Hillary Clinton who many considered unbeatable in the democratic primary, and won a presidential campaign on a platform of "hope" and "change". A very good orator would not have been able to pull any of this off.

2.
The other side acknowledges

It is often a very critical talking point of political conservatives that Obama's only ability as commander in chief is to speak. The “hope and change” phrase is commonly used by conservatives as an assertion that he has no idea what he is doing and that people vote for him anyway because he inspires them. The most common joke however of Obama is about the teleprompter, again insinuating that his only ability is to speak. The teleprompter has been around since Herbert Hoover in 1952(2), yet no public speaker has ever had their name synonymous with it like Obama. In Feb 2010 Sarah Palin made her famous speech saying “it’s a lot bigger than any charismatic guy with a teleprompter”. Everyone in the crowd knew exactly what she was talking about. In fact conservative politicians like Florida’s Senator Marco Rubio will even joke about Obama’s use of a teleprompter… while reading a teleprompter(3). If conservatives viewed Obama’s election victories as anything but the result of his superior oratory abilities, then this joke would not be funny enough to try to pull this off. Yet to them it is.

3.
The greats are remembered for their speeches

One of the major factors from which orators are defined, are the speeches they are remembered for. Bad orators are always remembered for their blunders, despite any good speeches they may have given. Good or very good orators are rarely remembered for any particular speeches good or bad. Great orators always have a speech or two that is considered among some of the greatest speeches ever. Martin Luther King is always remembered for his “I have a dream” speech, and Ronald Reagan for his “the speech” in 1964. Obama’s “race speech” and his 2004 DNC keynote address are considered up with some of the greats, and some would include his Tucson Speech. How high these speeches should be regarded is completely subjective but he is clearly remembered for them.

4.
The 4 languages of communication

Con states that my analysis of Obama’s use of the 4 languages only demonstrate that he is “trying”. My analysis demonstrates not that he merely uses them, but that he excels in each of them. Everybody has strengths and weaknesses. I show the 4 languages to demonstrate that he has no weaknesses in any general area of his oratory abilities. This is something very few very good orators can accomplish.

A Couple More Quick Rebuttals

1.
Con makes references to Obama’s approval ratings as an indication of his oratory abilities. People vote for a President in large part as the result of their oratory abilities, they do not judge their job performance on it. If an unhappy voter is unemployed, they are not going to watch a speech and change their mind.

2.
Con refers to Obama as a “one trick pony” stating that his messaging is less impactful every time he uses them. To go back to my salesman analogy; a salesman is very unlikely to sell the same person twice no matter how good he is. Once Obama made his message and people bought it, if they are unhappy with the results they are not going to be re-inspired by listening to another version of the same thing. No honest oratory skills will change that. That is why it is important to note examples like the Tucson speech. This was an opportunity for Obama to speak about something that he had not done so on before. People were curious to see what he would come up with because of his established ability, and he did not disappoint. That is what great orators do.

Conclusion

Cons definition is extremely and unusually high and is also mostly unrelated to what makes a great orator. Meanwhile I have shown what a great orator is, and gave plenty of reasons that undeniably demonstrate that Obama is great orator.
Debate Round No. 2
unlockable

Con

Too tired to respond today. Sorry, Pro.
Double_R

Pro

Given my opponents busy schedule I accept his apology. Argument extended.
Debate Round No. 3
unlockable

Con

unlockable forfeited this round.
Double_R

Pro

Argument Extended.
Debate Round No. 4
unlockable

Con

Definition

1.
I agree with Con that it is innappropriate to equate a Presidential (Pres) orator's greatness with his political success.


But to be effective, and therefore great, there should at least be some noticable relationship between the oratory and the oratory's intended effect. Irrelevant or impotent oratory is not great. Obama (O) has a record of attempting presidential oratory to advance an agenda, but his oratory rarely, if ever, contributes noticably to promoting his agenda.

Con cites the Affordable Care Act (ACA) as a political success of the Pres's. Whatever the merits of the ACA, the story of its passage illustrates the impotence of this Pres as an orator. O summoned Congress to speak about ACA, did a speaking & interview tour, yet failed to win public support for the bill: it only passed by parliamentary anomale http://www.weeklystandard.com...

Con says Pres's failure to win public support on an issue doesn't necessarily mean his oratory is ineffective; audience can be biased. I agree. But when Pres's audience is sympahetic to the issue, then it is appropriate to measure Pres's oratory by its effectiveness in persuasion. Regarding ACA, 56% of Ameicans favored passing "a major health care reform bill," http://www.gallup.com..., as did all Democratic congressmen, who had a filibuster-proof bicameral majority. Yet despite having a persuadable audience, Pres failed to win popular support for ACA, which caused Dem congressmen to be reluctant to vote for it without favors being traded in turn.

I reiterate the other points I made previously: that Pres's stump speeches, press conferences, foreign policy speeches, and public relations campaigns, such as "recovery summer" and "win the future," are all failures indicating Pres isn't great orator.

2.Level of Greatness

I re-assert that it is appropriate to measure O's greatness as an orator against modern history's other "great" orators, who set the standard of greatness. Con himself shared an essay about O being among the best presidential orators of all time. My argument that O isn't a great orator, which I elaborated in the opening argument about him being over-hyped, alludes to the fact that so many people perceive him to be among modern history's great orators: that is the perception that I'm arguing against, and that Con himself endorsed in his first response to my opening argument.

3.Effectiveness Examples

1.O's political career does suggest great oratory, or at least charisma. I remember that about 10 years ago, when I was attending a Chicago public high school, some of my friends talked about how Barack Obama "is going to be President someday!" and how charismatic he was. The best I can say to this is that being charismatic and being a great orator are related, and both cause a poliician to win votes, but that oratory should be judged by objective standards, too (see below) and that in spite of his initial oratorical success, O is a "one trick pony" whose persistent failure to achieve oratorical success as Pres undermines his status as a "great orator."

O's success in Pres election was attributable just as much to factors outside his control (the unpopularity of Bush & GOP, financial collapse, etc.) as to factors within his control, of which charisma was one, David Axelrod being another. Consider: before the financial collapse occured in Sept 2008, John McCain was actually leading O in public support despite O's "great oratory" and a pro-Democrat political context. http://www.boston.com... and http://campaigndiaries.com... Regardless, I think the Presidential election is too muti-faceted to be clear proof for or against Obama's oratory.

2.The other side acknowledges

I think Con's point is clever but not conclusive. Many conservatives use the "O's only good at talking" meme to mock Pres for what liberals perceive to be oratorical greatness. Some conservatives may believe O's a great orator, but many praise in jest: satirizing O's cliches and making hyperbolic, ironic references to O's oratory because they're amused by the dissonance between perception and reality (as they perceive it ;). They make fun of O's teleprompter attachment because O is, actually, uniquely averse to extemporaneous speech and he will have a teleprompter set up at even the most mundane occassions, http://old.news.yahoo.com..., such as at low-exposure public school or factory visits. Amuse yourself with these Youtube videos:

3.Rememberance of speeches.

Too early to say what'll be remembered.

4. Four languages.
Anybody who's taken a public oratory class can apply these four rhetorical languages. Unremarkable.



Rhetorical Crutches

O's reliance on rhetorical crutches undermines his alleged oratorical greatness. Consider two of his favorite devices: the "false choice" structure and the "let me be clear" topic sentence. He uses these so often and so cheaply that it's embarassing.

O often presents two political charicatures as "false choices"in order to frame his own position as the reasonable middle gound. It's a straw-man argument, which is the mark of a charlatan, not a great orator. Else he uses the false-choice structure to present his own position as a win-win, another rhetorical cop-out because doing so deliberately hides important moral and political dilemmas, such as when the moral worth of an embryo was hidden behind the "false choice between science and ethics" in O's stem cell speech. Maybe embryos should be sacrificed for the sake of life-saving medical science, or maybe, because of their cellular humanity, they should be left immune to utilitarian considerations. Whatever the case, it isn't a "false choice" between science and morality but a real choice between one moral vision and another. "Hiding the ball" in such a way is unbecoming of a great orator, who ought to be able to speak with clarity and persuasiveness, not obfuscation. See generally http://www.realclearpolitics.com..., and see, regarding stem cells, an EXCELLENT article by Charles Krauthammer: http://www.washingtonpost.com... Seriously, go ahead and vote for Double_R in this debate but at least read that Krauthammer piece. (Also, vote for ME!)

The "let me be clear" topic sentence is used so often that it should be the starting point for everybody's Obama impersonation. It is a desperate rhetorical plea that appears designed to offset what is otherwise a poorly communicated message. A great orator doesn't have to beg for his audience's permission to speak clearly: rather, he just does it. An excellent survey of the President's "let me be clear" crutch can be found here: http://www.washingtonpost.com...

And for what it's worth, O's rhetoric is often substanceless. It's easy to please audiences with feel-good political cliches and generalties, but this is sophistry, not "great oratory." Consider this NPR interview: http://www.npr.org... and

Rebuttal to Rebuttals

1. An effective Presidential orator should be able to keep his approval rating high in hard times. Contrast the approval rating of FDR with those of Hoover and Truman, his predecessor and successor, respectively. All three presided over challenging economic and military climates (Depression, WW2, Korean War) but only one of them--FDR--was effective in buoying his support wth oratory.

2.See "Rhetorical Crutches," though I did find Tucson speech moving & race speech refreshing. Kudos to O & his team on those.
Double_R

Pro

Definition


In order to debate weather Obama is a great orator we must first establish what a great orator is. In the previous argumentative round I made a case for what defines a great orator, however Pro does not address my case and instead simply reasserts his own. I extend my argument here.


Pro continues with his already refuted case that a great orator can be measured in part by how well he advances his agenda because of those abilities. I already explained why this concept is invalid but even if I agreed with it, the major issue with this argument is the fact that there is absolutely no way to measure this effect. In order to measure the difference his oratory skills have made, we must first know what the results would have been if he did not posses those same skills. And because there is no way for us to know the results of this hypothetical scenario, there is no possible way to measure the difference. Therefore there is absolutely no way to know how much of an impact his oratory abilities have had in advancing his agenda.


Pro tries to use the ACA (which I never did cite BTW) as an example of Obama’s oratory failures. First let’s recognize that healthcare was a goal of nearly every democratic president for generations, Obama was the one who actually made it happen. More importantly however, the popularity of the bill was not decided by Obama’s oratory but rather the substance of it, and the fact that republicans trashed the bill every chance they got. So much that they even tried to repeal it with a bill titled “Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act”(1). It does not matter how good an orator he is, there is simply no way one man can compete with nearly half of congress and the senate supporting this kind of rhetoric (or truth depending on your view).


Pro also tries to pick out a few of Obama’s failures as an argument for his lack of oratory greatness. It is easy to make anyone look bad when you only focus only on their worst moments. This is why politicians are almost never poll over 50%. In fact this past Congress’s approval polled at just 17%(2). Every human being makes mistakes. When you are President you practically have a camera on you 24/7, so all your blunders will find their way to youtube.


Level of Greatness


Pro tries to reassert his standard for this debate by stating that Obama must be measured against histories greatest orators because that is the perception we are debating. I would correct Pro by pointing out that this is simply his perception. As instigator it was his responsibility to define what a great orator is and he did not do so. I responded by providing a dictionary definition which he did not refute. It is too late to change the definition now. Pro tries to claim that I supported this definition with the article I referenced. This is incorrect. Part of my message there was that if he was not a great orator then he would not have been ranked among histories greatest.


I will however point out that I am not suggesting Obama is not one of histories greatest orators at all but however you look at it, this is still a debate. I am not trying to play semantics. Great means different things to different people. I like many, do not feel calling someone great means they must be amongst the greatest of all time, and many people who make the claim that Pro is making do not believe that Obama is a good speaker at all so my interpretation is very reasonable and should be accepted given the discourse of this debate.


Effectiveness


This is pretty much the main argument I have made throughout the debate and Pro seems to completely disregard it. He tries to throw in a concept of charisma as if it is separate from oratory abilities and uses his own subjective opinions without any facts to back them up. His only fact based argument is in pointing out that Obama was able to beat McCain in part because of a large democratic support heading into the post Bush period. This is a solid point, it however does not address how he was able to beat the heavily favored Hillary Clinton, or how such an unknown even made it to that point to begin with. I once again extend my argument.


The other side acknowledges


Pro claims that my teleprompter joke argument is inconclusive. He states that the joke is simply amusing to conservatives as a dissonance between the perception and reality of liberals. If that is the case then why are liberals so dissonant to begin with? Could it be because they are “buying what Obama is selling”? I am not suggesting that Obama is lying but if people support him based on his speeches rather then reality then it is obvious that he would need superior oratory abilities to pull it off.


The other point Pro makes is that Obama basically takes his teleprompter everywhere he goes. But the question is why are people paying attention to this in the first place? Presidents always speak with a teleprompter. No one cared weather Bush used one, and as I mentioned before Marco Rubio even made fun of his use of the teleprompter, while reading from one. Obama is the only one people pay attention to when it comes to this, clearly his ability to speak is being acknowledged.


Remembrance of his speeches


Pros entire response to my argument here is: “Too early to say what'll be remembered”. Actually, Obama’s speeches are already remembered and are not going to be simply forgotten given that some consider those speeches to be among the all time greats. The point I made with this argument is that great orators are remembered for their best speeches which Obama clearly is. It is a concept that only comes from greatness. If I approach a baseball fan and say: “Hank Aaron”, the words “home run” immediately comes to mind. By the same token when I say “Obama” many think about his speeches. This would not be the case if not for his superior oratory abilities. Pro has completely disregarded this concept.


Four languages


Pro again disregards the concept of my argument. Yes anybody can use these speeches, but how many people can excel at each of them? Obama is among the best users of these languages in each category. Going back to baseball analogies, this would be like a baseball player who excels at hitting, home runs, stolen bases, and defense. Many players can excel in one or two of these categories but only great players can excel at all of them. Pro has not challenged my case on this.


Rhetorical Crutches


Pros entire argument here essentially nit picks Obama’s oratory characteristics. This goes back to the question, what is a great orator? How do any of these arguments negate the resolution? The main point of my argument that Pro has not refuted is that an orator can only be objectively evaluated by the results of his orations. Criticizing his techniques is just as unproductive as criticizing the selling techniques of the top salesman in say, an insurance company. If it works it is a result onto itself because it accomplished the goal. This is all that matters. If Pro disagrees he should have challenged my argument about this instead of asserting his own definition without acknowledging mine.


Rebuttals to rebuttals


Already refuted


Conclusion


Pro hung in there but I think the conclusion here is obvious. Pro did not refute most of my case, most importantly my case about what a great orator is and how Obama’s track record clearly shows the results to negate the resolution. Meanwhile I have refuted every valid point he has made. I would also like to remind the voters that personal opinion of the resolution is an entirely different question from most convincing argument.


I would like to thank Pro for what was certainly a fun and interesting debate. I never did find out what happened with that Bar Exam but I hope everything went well and wish him the best of luck..


Vote Con.


(1) http://www.govtrack.us...


Debate Round No. 5
27 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Double_R 5 years ago
Double_R
Simple mistake. Don't think anyone is gana buy what your selling. You'll have to learn from Obama.
Posted by unlockable 5 years ago
unlockable
too bad; urging a "Con" vote counts as a forfeit!!!
Posted by Double_R 5 years ago
Double_R
Wow, I just realized that I flipped Pro and Con in that last round. Don't vote Con, Vote Pro! lol
Posted by unlockable 5 years ago
unlockable
Double_R should totally just forfeit because I just laid the smack down ;)
Posted by Double_R 5 years ago
Double_R
That's fine. Forfeits usually get penalized by the voters, but still I think we were having an interesting debate (really, not just saying) and it would be nice to have concluding arguments. In the future when you are not prepared to respond but still feel like finishing, it is better to post a response like you did in round 3 so it shows you intend to finish, and importantly so the debate shows up on the main screen. Forfeited debates do not show up there so many people won't see it.

Let me know if you want me to post my extension now or wait.
Posted by unlockable 5 years ago
unlockable
I dropped the ball again! I really don't mean to be so disrespecftul and I believe that the correct result is for me to be deemed to have forfeited the whole debate, but nonetheless I do, still, intend to respond to your last argument. Sorry, I have no objectively good excuse this time.
Posted by Double_R 5 years ago
Double_R
One round left, whats the deal?
Posted by Double_R 5 years ago
Double_R
Sounds good. I will wait till Wed evening to post a simple argument extension. That will give you till Sat to post your response.
Posted by unlockable 5 years ago
unlockable
Yes, I'd like to continue! I Probably won't be able to give a decent response until Friday evening. I'm taking the bar exam Tuesday and Wednesday, and then I have a business trip on Thursday.

I appreciate your consideration and I think it is even fair to call my last round a "forfeit" round for the purposes of voting, but for the purposes of the debate itself I'd be really happy if we could continue developing our arguments in the remaining round(s).
Posted by Double_R 5 years ago
Double_R
You still plan to continue? Assuming you do let me know when you will have a chance to respond. I'll hold off from posting a simple response so that you'll have enough time.
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by Man-is-good 5 years ago
Man-is-good
unlockableDouble_RTied
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Reasons for voting decision: I am countering MassDebator's vote bomb. It is clear that Double_R won the debate from the beginning by setting the outlines of the debate, where he noted how Obama fitted with his standards and noted, among others, fallacies in unlockable's case...including the fact that effectiveness does not equate to 'greatness in oration' or eloquence.
Vote Placed by MassDebator255 5 years ago
MassDebator255
unlockableDouble_RTied
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Reasons for voting decision: obama can orate my balls
Vote Placed by Cerebral_Narcissist 5 years ago
Cerebral_Narcissist
unlockableDouble_RTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Con effectiively concedes the debate in R2 by refusing to address Pro's argument, basically agreeing with it and attempting to change the subject. He then forfeits two rounds.