All too often, debates are like a ping-pong game.
“No, I just care about poor people!”
“Obama’s a socialist!”
“I wish!”“How dare you!”
We bark our talking points, they yelp back with theirs, no minds change, and we end just how we started.
With rare exceptions, this bores the crap out of me. I don’t have any problems with yelling, but yelling alone doesn’t do it. Yes, those who agree with you pump their fists in the air at the TV. So what.
Besides, whenever there’s a yelling match, you’ll notice on YouTube that if one side posts “Michelle Malkin destroys Juan Williams”, the other side posts the same clip with the title “Juan Williams destroys Michelle Malkin.” If there’s a screaming match, each side feels victorious. This is because when you’re more concerned with saying what you want to say the way you want to say it than you are with actually convincing somebody of something, somebody yelling at a prog the way you’ve always wanted to feels like a win in and of itself.
I’ve dealt with the yelling before, but today I’ll address an aspect of the ping-pong. This works to varying degrees of effectiveness, but it usually throw your opponent somewhat off-guard. If it doesn’t, at least it sames some damn time.
Let’s say you want to criticize Obama for deficit spending. The way this typically works is:
Goppie: Our debt has skyrocketed under Obama.
Libbie: That debt was massive before he even got there.
ProgMan: Bush did it, too!*
Goppie: But Obama’s way worse.
I’m not excusing Bush, and I believe that there’s a special room in Hell tucked away for the GOP majority from 2003-2007, but Obama has in fact been worse. “Worse enough to make the GOP a viable option?” is a question for another day. Also, “Republicans do it, too!” a.k.a the Colmes-Over has it’s own special technique that I’ll teach you later (which is important to know even for libertarians who despise Republicans).
The point is, if you’re dealing with one of liberalism’s more idiotic specimens, you have a decent idea what they’re going to say before they even say it. “Obama didn’t create the federal debt.” No shit
Therefore, refute their point before they even make it. Mastering this technique requires either some experience around lefties or some time watching MSNBC (painful, I know, but it helps a lot. I recommend watching it to punish yourself if you miss the gym that morning), but you can use this without being a Master like me:
Martel: Obama added as much to the debt in four years as Bush did in eight.
Libbie: But Bush was worse! (or something)
Obviously, Libbie will have a response (probably related to global warming or something only vaguely germane). However, you’ve robbed Libbie of her chance to ping that pong right back at you. If you’re adroit enough, you can press this to your advantage.
Partisan Democrats have a list in the back of their mind to which they can refer any time anybody accuses a fellow Democrat of anything. They do this because even if the Democrats have done something downright awful five thousand times, some Republican somewhere has undoubtedly done it at least once. Although this means absolutely nothing in the grand scheme of things, it’s a great way to get somebody to defend Ron Paul’s pork projects instead of going after Obama for Solyndra.
There are appropriate responses to the Colmes-Over after it’s been delivered that I will address shortly. Nevertheless, if you say, “Operation Fast and Furious”, they’ll say “Operation Wide Receiver.” So head them off by saying, “At least Bush stopped Wide Receiver before people died. Fast and Furious was a travesty.” Will you have to also eventually mention how in Wide Receiver they also actually tracked the weapons in question? Yes. Does this mean you win the debate? No. But instead of allowing any observers to think they’ve actually made some sort of point, you’ve scored two hits before they even got off one.
If you know in advance what they’ll say but have a clever slam planned in response, it might make sense to let them come back at you. This is usually preferable when you know your opponent and are almost certain as to how they’ll respond. I’ll address such situations shortly.
In the meantime, when you hear their talking heads ramble on or stumble across an editorial on HuffPo, pay attention to what they’re saying. They may be wrong, but by actually hearing them out you not only learn how they argue and how they think, you find out what they’re lefties are likely to say to you if you ever come across them in person.
Besides, every once in a blue moon they’re actually right about something (nobody’s wrong about absolutely everything). If you find this out ahead of time, you can learn to distinguish the flashes of basis human decency from the counterproductive solutions they offer.
The better you know what they’re going to say ahead of time, the less effective anything they say might be.
* A third option is to cite that study I don’t have time to look up that uses accounting tricks to basically eliminate the stimulus from affecting the rate of increase in federal spending during Obama’s term. Lefties cited it extensively for about a week during the last election. Most people won’t do this, and those who do are wonks. I’ll address how to deal with the Ezra Kleins of the world in a different post.