The Affirmative case was comprehensive ocean planning — The United States federal government should implement comprehensive ocean planning.
They claimed this was necessary to solve an overcrowded ocean and that an overcrowded ocean will undermine the economy, reduce military readiness, and threaten the environment.
The Negative ran four off case arguments.
T – Exploration & Development is exploration & extraction
Hastert DA – They said that if Boehner agreed to pass new legislation that the Republicans would revolt, sacking Boehner and replacing him with “someone else.” Someone else would trigger gridlock, making it impossible for us to solve oil dependence.
A Europe counterplan that can be generally described as “cooperate with Europe about the plan.” The text: The United States federal government should maintain exploration and development of the Earth’s oceans at current levels, should implement comprehensive ocean planning, and offset the cost of this by ending port dredging. We’ll clarify.
An offsets counterplan
The 2NR went for the Europe counterplan, the Boehner DA, and some case defense.
The decision was relatively easy because the 1AR conceded that the counterplan solved the case and only argued that the counterplan “might” link to the plan. There was no offense on the Hastert DA, so any risk means a Neg ballot.
Despite the easy decision in this technical sense, I think the 2AC & 2AR had a lot of strong arguments against the CP: no ev that Europe will actually do anything, no ev they’ll agree to collaborate, now ev about how the collaboration will occur, no ev the actual plan will result. Obviously this would all take a long time and there would be many political, economic, and legal issues to resolve. The problem was just that these arguments were not in the 1AR. If they were and the 2AR went for them, they could have substantially reduced the likelihood that the CP would solve.
There are similar issues on the Hastert DA. The Aff is right that this DA makes little sense. The evidence is really talking about how the Republicans didn’t want to add anything to the CR, but they ended up adding things. And the government shut-down before, indicating that gridlock is NU/empirically denied. The Neg responds to this by saying “Hastert key,” but Hastert key is just a claim that Hastert is necessary to stop gridlock. It is the secondary link that is NU, and that’s the real problem. They Neg doesn’t have an impact that is specific to Hastert getting booted. The meta problem for the Aff is that this is just defense and the CP solvency is conceded, but even then, the 2Ar only goes from the gridlock NU and some process/fiat answers that were HEAVILY preempted in the 2NR. So, at least in this debate, the Neg ends up winning more of the DA than they should.
The other Aff weakness is that the Aff gave up on the case in both rebuttals. The only think that is left is that the plan causes MORE GROWTH (not averts a decline) and more growth isn’t clearly impacted. There is some residual environment advantage, but it isn’t clearly extended.
So, obviously things didn’t go well for the Aff on the whole, but it really isn’t due to the strength of the Neg’s arguments. If the Aff had extended (and developed a bit ) their solvency arguments, defended a bit more of the case, and extended more of the original DA answers, I think I would have voted Aff.