The 'No Ad Hominem' Political Debate Tournament

Yesterday was amusing, in that certain individuals proved they just could not address the topic, instead falling into personal insults and ad hominem attacks; indeed some of them began with such tactics. So, for today I thought we would try something fun, and see who could go the longest in a political debate without using an ad hominem attack. For those who are unclear with the term, ad hominem is an argument that focuses on the person rather than the topic. A common example of this is the court case where the defense lawyer cannot win on the facts of the case, so he tries to turn things around and put the prosecution and witnesses on trial. The most notorious recent example of this would be OJ Simpson’s murder trial. The ad hominem tactic in political rhetoric is the common habit of going after the writer or prominent individuals on irrelevant bases; like mocking the appearance of a person or implying criminal conduct on no basis other than theatrics. Examples of this would include the unsupported assumption that President Obama was personally responsible for the FUBAR NYC fly-by this week, or tagging TEA party protesters as ‘rednecks’; in neither case is the argument supported by evidence or facts, but is generated and propelled through subjective antipathy against a person. This is much different than legitimate debate, such as discussing the economic history of stimulus and tax bills or the specific language in proposed legislation.

So here we go. The topic, since we are still in the range of the celebrated ‘100th day’ of President Obama’s term, is the practical effectiveness of Obama’s policies and actions so far. I will not participate in this one, as I am the referee – when someone presents a personal attack or one which ignores the topic, I will so tag the poster and call them out (and delete any further posts from that person, so if you get tagged, you may as well go find another article for your comments). I will also tag and exclude any responses to such comments, so if you come across a comment which is out-of-bounds, don’t respond to it because that will get you excluded as well. The winner will be that person who best presents their argument with evidence and on-topic. In the event of a tie, I may call in additional judges.

Let’s see who can make a good, clean argument.

Supreme Empathy?
This is what a real outing looks like -- "ABC's shame"