The Instigator
proglib
Pro (for)
Losing
3 Points
The Contender
BlackVoid
Con (against)
Winning
21 Points

TEA Party Ignorance, Stupidity and Extremism Cost GOP the 2012 Presidential Election

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 6 votes the winner is...
BlackVoid
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/28/2013 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,868 times Debate No: 29615
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (29)
Votes (6)

 

proglib

Pro

I thank Blackvoid for accepting this debate, and look forward to an interesting discussion.

First round for acceptance.
No semantics.
Abuse forfeits.
Other standard debating rules.

CLARIFICATIONS:

"TEA Party" in the Resolution is intended as a general stand in for "conservative" extremists who have moved the party far to the right and interfered with its ability to win elections and to "govern from the center." It is NOT intended to refer to the literal, formal organization of the same name (if there is one), or to the original, putative raison d'etre and literal acronym.

"Cost the GOP the Presidency" is intended to mean that actions by those on the far right had a significant negative impact; enough so that without those actions (includes verbal actions, i.e., statements) Mitt Romney could have won (with all his faults and wishy washiness.) It does NOT intend to close off the possibility that Romney had other even more significant faults or mistakes.

Though this is a serious topic, I hope we can have some FUN with stupidity and ignorance--and that most of it is other folks', not mine.LOL
BlackVoid

Con

Thanks proglib for the debate. While I disagree with just about everything the Tea Party stands for, my impression is that they had a minimal impact on the election.

I agree to the rules and will attempt to throw some humor in as per my opponent's last paragraph. Good luck.


Debate Round No. 1
proglib

Pro

"The economy, stupid."
With that simple expression, James Carville was able to focus the 1992 Clinton campaign in a time of much less severe or protracted recession than faced in 2007-2012. Unfortunately for conservatives there was no such focusing on their part for the presidential campaign of 2012.

------------
Definitions
Extremism or extremist position
Extremism is NOT assumed to be a bad thing. Extremism will be defined simply as positions that are a certain distance from the norm. (We may want to discuss offline how far--the number of standard deviations, for example.)

For example, a position on abortion from either absolute would be considered "extreme," under this definition simply because *most* voters fall somewhere in between.[1] Other positions that I hope to show are both extreme and hurt conservatives in the 2012 presidential election are: foreign policy, immigration, gay rights, gun rights, healthcare and global warming. This is not meant to be an exhaustive list now, and I may have evidence for other positions in R3.
--------------------

As I said in R1, my argument will be about extremist "conservatives,"* though self-proclaimed TEA Party members are a good stand in. What I hope to show is that beginning at least as early as the 2008 election campaign, conservatives made stupid mistakes rooted in extremist thinking, that ruined their credibility, and that they continued to make these mistakes far into the 2012 election.

Just for fun, I hope to show that many still haven't learned from those mistakes.

My argument will have two main parts:

1. Crying wolf
I'll show that extremist conservatives took the lead in severely harming conservative credibility by excess demonizing of Barack Hussein Obama, Democrats and "liberals." Again this damage to conservative credibility began back in 2008. In the case of healthcare, crying wolf hurt conservative credibility even on an issue where their position was in the mainstream.

2. Taking unnecessarily extreme positions
When given the chance to change the country in their direction, conservatives showed a rare ability to alienate the rest of the populace with their inability to compromise. When placing stricter limits on abortions might be achievable, conservatives instead pinned "no pregnancy termination for any reason" on the Republican Platform and the Romney campaign. A position even Paul Ryan had to back away from, although he agrees with it. (Republicans can be questioned fairly on whether some of their major presidential candidates are anti-contraception for Pete's sake.)

These are my main arguments. I look forward to my opponent"s argument.
BlackVoid

Con

My opponent apparently intends this round to be a preface as to what we're going to argue in depth later.

My arguments can't exactly be planned until I see my opponent's full ones, since my job is largely to refute his case. But I'll likely respond to his examples with either A. The position isn't extremist (I won't use this argument often to avoid a definition debate), or B. It didn't affect the election. I'll also make a general critique stating that due to the nature of today's political parties, extremism has an inherently minimal effect, anyway.

I await Pro's arguments.
Debate Round No. 2
proglib

Pro

Since the recession started in 2007, intensified in 2009 and remained the key issue for most voters through the 2012 Presidential election, one would think that conservatives would follow the Carville maxim in R2 above, and make the economy the focus of their attacks on the incumbent. It worked in 1980 and 1992.

Crying Wolf
Instead, starting as early as 2008, conservatives have wasted political capital and credibility on attacking Barack Hussein Obama in a bizarre game of crying wolf:
    • “palling around with terrorists” [3.1]
    • black liberation theology, anti-colonial revolutionism and hatred of whites [3.2]
    • socialism and communism [3.3]
    • being born in Kenya and being Muslim [3.4]

The list goes on, but you get my point. The most basic lesson that many children learn from Aesop’s fables seems to be lost on the adults of the far right--which is that after awhile people stop believing you, even if you’re suddenly telling the truth.

To cap off the Crying Wolf section of my argument, I’ll ask readers what fantastically successful business person comes to mind (other than Romney himself) when one thinks of conservative critics of President Obama? And what topic did Mr. Trump use his business credentials to hammer on: taxes, regulation, trade imbalances? No, of course not. A google search for “Obama Trump” comes up with 43 million hits. I challenge you to find a dozen that don’t mention the “birther controversy.”[3.5]

“The Economy Stupid”
The right wing has a valid argument to make over the economy and government spending and regulation. [3.6] Unfortunately for them, it’s not a simple argument. Many of the best economists are Keynesian, and if you’re going to challenge the established wisdom you’d better make a good case. You’ll need to do better than trot out tired sayings from past presidents and people like “Joe the Plumber”--who isn’t a plumber, and his name isn’t Joe.

Conservatives needed to have a constant lineup of successful business people, both large and small talking about how taxes were really hurting them and their ability to expand their business. They needed economists from Ivy League level schools making their case in a way that made sense.

Instead we heard “socialist” or “communist” so much that the words became meaningless.

To move on to the other extreme positions that hurt the presidential ticket, we saw Paul Ryan, for Pete’s sake, having to back off of the absolutist Republican Platform position on abortion. [3.7]
  1. The environment
    • Denying global warming and attacking the EPA (established by Nixon in 1970, by the way) did not help the Romney/Ryan ticket to keep the focus on the poor economy. [3.8]
  2. Foreign policy
    • When an incumbent president is seen as relatively strong and moderate on war and foreign policy it does not help the challenger to win over mainstream independents by claiming to be more hawkish and belligerent. [3.9]

It is my contention that any of these out of the mainstream positions on their own could have accounted for one or two percentage points in key swing states. Taken together they helped a weakened incumbent hold onto his seat.

I look forward to Pro’s rebuttal.


[3.1]http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com...
[3.2]http://preview.tinyurl.com...
[3.3] http://commieblaster.com...
[3.4] http://urbanlegends.about.com...
[3.5]http://preview.tinyurl.com...
[3.6]http://tinyurl.com...
[3.7]http://tinyurl.com...
http://www.gallup.com...
[3.8]http://www.mercurynews.com...
[3.9]http://www.bloomberg.com...
BlackVoid

Con

Thanks for the opening round.



Crying Wolf


1. Pro lists 4 poor allegations the Republican party made against Obama, but doesn't give any tangible evidence that they were a factor in the election. To do so, he would have to provide surveys or quotes from voters indicating that "crying wolf" by the Tea Party uniquely affected their vote. As it is, we have no reason to believe that it did. Its just asserted.


2. He also has to prove that not only did crying wolf hurt Republicans, but that it hurt them so much that it single-handedly cost them the election. Thats not shown either. The claims aren't quantified.


3. On several polls asking for the biggest reason voters would vote for a certain cantidate, "Crying Wolf less" doesn't appear on any of them (1).


As for the 4 sources themselves, they all have a myriad of issues. For instance, the writer of the article of Obama being born in Kenya isn't even a conservative, so he has nothing to do with this topic. The quote accusing Obama of socialism is from a propaganda website called "Commieblaster.com" which 99.9% of people haven't even heard of, let alone would be affected enough by it to vote against Romney. The Obama = terrorist quote is from 2008, and I doubt voters had a quote from 4 years ago in mind when casting their ballot.


There's no reason to think any of these things were significant enough to cost romney the election. The race was between Romney and Obama, so you'd think that voters would put a lot more emphasis on things Romney says rather than things said by Glenn Beck and Commieblaster.com.



Economy



Pro's general argument is that conservatives didn't push the Economy enough in their campaign, and specifically calls out Donald Trump for focusing on Obama's birth certificate rather than his economic record. Except, he did talk about the economy. Here's a list of Donald Trump quotes relating to the it:



1. "(Obamacare) is very, very bad for business" (2)



2. "Its a tremendous cost"



3. "the United States is no longer a rich country. When you’re not rich, you have to go out and borrow money. We’re up to $16 trillion in debt.” (3)



4. The "real" unemployment rate is around 15-16%. (3)



5. "(an associate) thinks he's going to be closing up his business because of Obamacare....and you have a lot of people saying that."

___



Furthermore, the economy was pushed as a big issue by other means. The first presidential debate was solely about the economy. It also played a role in the second. The third debate was about foreign policy, but Romney redirected part of it to the economy once again (4). This means that in the three most most publicized and widely-seen political events, the economy was referred to more than anything else.



Extremism



1. Pro's arguments about Romney's position on the Environment and Foreign Policy aren't topical, because Mitt Romney is not a member of the Tea Party (5), and according to them, is a moderate.

2. Pro doesn't explain why attacking the EPA and having a "belligerent" foreign policy is extremist.

3. Turn - Romney's environmental position ties into the economy. From my opponent's own source: "I am not willing to adopt multitrillion-dollar programs to reduce greenhouse gases in America."

4. The Republican platform on foreign policy isn't "more hawkish" than obama's. Anyone who watched the third presidential debate could tell that their policies don't differ. From his own source, Romney was "more or less agreeing with the president on everything".

5. Pro claims that conservative extremism could have accounted for 1-2% of the vote in swing states. But Obama won 7/8 swing states by at least 4% (6). The only one where 2% would have changed the outcome is Florida, without which Obama still would have won the election by 68 points.


1. http://tinyurl.com...
2. http://tinyurl.com...
3. http://tinyurl.com...
4. http://tinyurl.com...
5. http://tinyurl.com...
6. http://tinyurl.com...

Debate Round No. 3
proglib

Pro

Again I thank my worthy opponent BlackVoid for the debate.


Con makes a couple of mistakes in countering my argument.

1. Crying Wolf

"2. He also has to prove that not only did crying wolf hurt Republicans, but that it hurt them so much that it single-handedly cost them the election. Thats not shown either. The claims aren't quantified."


Con misunderstands the purpose and result of the argument on crying wolf. It is not necessary to show that crying wolf "single-handedly" cost conservatives the election, just that it hurt the credibility of the conservative cause, and was part of an overall pattern of taking the "eye off the ball" of the economy.

While Con quibbles with a couple of my sources, there are literally thousands, if not millions of examples from a brief google search that show conservatives making fantastic claims about President Obama.[1] Con has not disagreed with that.

My argument is an a priori one. Crying wolf hurts credibility. There is ample evidence that conservatives cried wolf on President Obama. Therefore conservative credibility was hurt.

By 2012 moderate and undecided voters had to ask themselves could they trust far right conservatives and the Republican Party. This is important for a voter considering other issues than the economy in their decision.

There is little doubt that for many Americans the answer is a resounding “No.” Again, this is an a priori argument that Con has not successfully contested. In fact, he barely tried due to his assumption that I would need to show some statistical correlation between mistrust and exit polls.

2. Extreme Positions - Agreed on definition
Con claims “Pro doesn't explain why attacking the EPA and having a "belligerent" foreign policy is extremist.” We agreed on the definition of extreme positions in Round 1. While the foreign policy issue is less clear and I’ll drop that, a large majority of Americans have consistently supported the EPA do its job, as a simple google search shows.[4.1]

3. Extreme Positions - Mistake in accumulating impact of several extreme positions
This is where the polling is important and where Con makes an important mistake by failing to add the impact of the several extreme positions that the Romney/Ryan campaign was saddled with in order to judge the cumulativeimpact of those positions on moderate or swing voters.

  • Anti-abortion absolutism - up to 8-12%
    • 17% Abortion is threshold issue [4.2]
    • >70% favor some choice
    • almost 50% pro choice
    • 8% to 12% may have turned out just for women’s choice issue
  • Anti-environmental extremism - % [exact number to be determined, but not needed]
  • Other far right positions - %
  • TOTAL FAR RIGHT POSITIONS - [exact number to be determined, but clearly important]*

CONCLUSION
The really sad thing for the Romney/Ryan ticket, and for conservatives who hoped to turn the country around economically in ways that serve free market ideology is that the Republicans were not surprisingly more trusted by voters on the economy. Had this election been primarily about the economy, as it should have been, Republicans could reasonably be expected to win.

While I don't have any confidence that conservatives will learn from their mistakes and focus on credible economic arguments--witness the recent fight brewing between TEA Party members and Karl Rove [4.4]--I urge DDO voters to look carefully at the evidence.

Please vote Pro.

[4.1]http://content.usatoday.com...
[4.2]http://www.gallup.com...
[4.3]http://www.gallup.com...
[4.4] http://tv.msnbc.com...

* I ran out of time in adding up the effect of far right positions. Abortion absolutism and anti-gay messaging were likely enough on their own to cost Republicans the Presidency
http://www.nytimes.com...
BlackVoid

Con

I also thank my opponent for the debate, its been fun.


Crying Wolf


Pro claims he doesn't have to prove crying wolf cost Romney the election, just that it hurt republican credibility. But the wording of the resolution puts the burden on Pro to prove that these things "cost GOP the election". That means that harming credibility is a valid argument, but only if he ties it into a tangible impact on the presidential race. But its not done - Pro hasn't offered any reasons to believe that crying wolf affected the race, and if so how much. Maybe it was a dumb thing for the tea party to do, but Pro needs to prove that voters had "this party cried wolf less" in mind when casting their ballot.


Pro provided 4 examples of "crying wolf" in R3. I refuted each of them, and he didn't defend any of them in R4. Therefore, there are no standing examples of it in the debate round. That said, Pro links me to a Google search and puts the burden on me to refute "thousands, if not millions" of more examples. Problem is, I can't refute a million arguments in 4000 characters, which is why standard debate rules dictate that supporting examples be provided in the debate round (like his first 4), which these were not. If Pro wanted to run more examples, he should have linked the specific ones from that search and explained them here. As it is, there's nothing for me to refute.


Furthermore, Pro drops my (3) from last round which empirically proved that pollsters voted for who they thought would do a better job on the big issues (like the economy), and not because they didn't belong to a party that made extravagent claims.


Economy


Pro doesn't respond to anything under this - extend everything. The economy was the biggest issue on the voter's minds and the Republican party did a good job of making it so.


Extremism


I'll agree that attacking the EPA can be considered extremist (based off the definition), but Pro still doesn't refute the fact that this anti-environmentalist position was posited by Mitt Romney, who is neither in the Tea Party nor is politically far-right, which makes this entire argument nontopical. More importantly, my (3) from last round was 100% dropped, which showed that his environmental position also has an economic component, which means that this "extremist" position actually benefited the GOP in the polls (since Pro thinks Republicans were better on the economy).


Pro then gives a statistical analysis estimating how many votes may have been lost by the GOP's position on abortion. First, the republican platform didn't push "anti-abortion absolutism" - Romney supports abortion in some circumstances (1). This invalidates the entire argument because abortion then isn't an extreme position at all. Maybe the Tea Party is universally opposed, but the person that actually ran for president isn't, so this had no effect on the election. Second, turn - the GOP's pro-life position had a net benefit on the polls. From my opponent's own source (2) - "Gallup finds slightly more pro-life voters than pro-choice voters saying they will vote only for a candidate who shares their views, 21% vs. 15%...a slight pro-life tilt, albeit one that could potentially benefit pro-life Republican candidate Mitt Romney"


My opponent references "other far right positions" that the Tea Party supported, but doesn't say what they are and how they affected the election, so there's nothing to refute.



Conclusion

Romney lost the election for a lot of reasons, but the reasons my opponent cites aren't among them. All examples of crying wolf have been refuted and weren't defended. The economy was proven to have been pushed adequately as a major issue. The "extreme" positions from the GOP were either made by Romney (who isn't Tea Party) or had a net benefit on his chances.



Good luck to proglib in his future debates.



1. http://www.nytimes.com...
2. http://www.gallup.com...


Debate Round No. 4
29 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by proglib 3 years ago
proglib
As a joke. I assumed girafelover was also joking. :)
Posted by Deadlykris 3 years ago
Deadlykris
Why are you talking to a spambot?
Posted by proglib 3 years ago
proglib
babyy, huh?

oh babyy, ooh babyy

i think she must be talking to me, since I'm the old married man, lol
Posted by giraffelover 3 years ago
giraffelover
Are you asking me or Proglib?
Posted by proglib 3 years ago
proglib
@giraffelover

LOL!

You should have been arguing Pro on that Resolution rather than me on mine. You'd have won big time!
Posted by giraffelover 3 years ago
giraffelover
I think the REAL reason the GOP lost the election is someone said Romney was going to fire Big Bird.
Posted by proglib 3 years ago
proglib
Again, I don't hope to change votes.

However, @RoyLatham, your RFD indicates that the FIRST paragraph of "CLARIFICATIONS" was not clear at all.

'CLARIFICATIONS:

'"TEA Party" in the Resolution is intended as a general stand in for "conservative" extremists who have moved the party far to the right and interfered with its ability to win elections and to "govern from the center." It is NOT intended to refer to the literal, formal organization of the same name (if there is one), or to the original, putative raison d'etre and literal acronym.'

Furthermore, while you're asking for "extreme statements," the anti-abortion absolutism was directly in the Republican Platform. Again, not literally "TEA Party", but Con and I agreed ahead of time to use "TEA Party" as a lightening rod stand in for extreme conservatives, in general.

Your vote concerns me almost not at all. Your RFD indicates to me that my arguments and your take on my arguments passed like ships in the night. As the author, I think it is incumbent on me to take the responsibility for that. [In the vernacular: "my bad.":)]
Posted by proglib 3 years ago
proglib
@RoyLatham

haven't seen the Newsweek article you reference. turnout was obviously important to Obama campaign. without it, they lose. IMHO, however, even given their focus on turnout, without the push right, republicans could still have won.

the grassroots need a clear target for their pitch to get people to go to the polls, or to work on turnout, for that matter.

let me put it this way (something i should have said in the debate),the Obama coalition depended on s number of issues to fire up a diverse group of grassroots field workers-from pro-choice women to environmentalists to gay rights folk. George W. Bush, for just one example, did not face such a fired up grassroots. WHY?

(from the phone)
Posted by proglib 3 years ago
proglib
Blackvoid,

Sounds good to me!

If the votes are honest, I don't question whether they understood or had preconceptions.
Posted by RoyLatham 3 years ago
RoyLatham
Time Magazine, an unquestionably liberal source, correctly identified the key to President Obama's victory: the Democrats conducted an astoundingly good campaign to register and turn out voters who had no interest or knowledge of politics. The second factor was the national press being solidly in Obama's pocket, so he escaped any serious questioning. He campaigned by lying about Roney and never being held to account.
6 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Vote Placed by Subutai 3 years ago
Subutai
proglibBlackVoidTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro had the BoP, and failed to meet it. All of his arguments were either irrelevant, or couldn't be tied to the Republican's loss of the election. The Tea Party itself is a right-wing economic advocacy group, not the extreme right altogether as some claim. The Tea Party is not a faction of the Republican Party, but a grassroots, non-political movement aimed at upholding the standard of free-market Capitalism. In addition, pro fails to even uphold the resolution, straying more to a debate over Romney's tactics than from the Tea Party's effect on the election. On sources, con used more bipartisan, unbiased sources than pro (some of his are clearly far left), and con pointed this fallacy out.
Vote Placed by RoyLatham 3 years ago
RoyLatham
proglibBlackVoidTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro needed some statistics to show that extreme statements cost the election. He also needed to show that the extreme statements came from the Tea Party. The Tea Party claims they only deal with economic issues. Pro had the burden of proof and did not meet either requirement.
Vote Placed by KroneckerDelta 3 years ago
KroneckerDelta
proglibBlackVoidTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro strayed away from the points they were trying to make and Con took advantage of that. I disagree with Con on the point about "crying wolf". Pro made an argument as to why that is a bad thing and Con did not refute this. Con demanded concrete evidence and I think demanding polling data over every single issue is unreasonable (especially in this type of debate). However, Con won on arguments because Pro shifted the focus to Romney/Ryan instead of hammering home it was the Tea Party, not really Romney/Ryan that was the problem. Con tricked Pro into making this debate about Romney/Ryan and it worked. Conduct went to Con because Pro wasted a whole round to present an overview of his case (which should have been done in R1).
Vote Placed by Deadlykris 3 years ago
Deadlykris
proglibBlackVoidTied
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Reasons for voting decision: In the final tally, Pro simply failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that extremism pushed people away from voting Republican. An equally valid scenario is that Mitt Romney was a throwaway candidate that did remarkably better than expected and almost won the election despite Tea Party extremism.
Vote Placed by Tes95 3 years ago
Tes95
proglibBlackVoidTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro fails to keep fixed what he is indeed debating. The title of this debate implies it is the Tea Party that cost the election, now he is referring to "the far right" without defining the relationship to the Tea Party, or even proving it. Pro lumps the Tea Party to the Republican Party, which shows he knows nothing about the make up of the Tea Party. The Tea Party is an independent movement of people who share conservative values. He then goes on to attack everyone on the right for criticism of Barack Obama and others, which would have happened whether the Tea Party existed, or if he likes the fact they have some valid points or not. Pro has yet to prove my previous inquiry of if he can provide evidence of a 51% majority of racist, bigoted individuals making up the majority of the Tea Party to validate his claim it cost the Republicans the election. Con makes good rebuttals to the credibility of the sources, which are indeed far left, Con disproves this notion offered by Pro.
Vote Placed by DeFool 3 years ago
DeFool
proglibBlackVoidTied
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Reasons for voting decision: I see the following argument: 1) Unpopular (extreme) statements and policy positions were prominently made by the GOP. 2) The unpopularity of these cost the GOP to lose popular elections. This was rebutted by pointing out that "it was not shown" that this unpopularity was important. The Pro response was to point out that these extreme positions and statements encompassed many important election topics (the economy and others). Con responds by listing fairly extreme statements as proof that the right was focusing on the economy, inadvertently agreeing with Pro's position. I award arguments to Pro.