Well, this should be fun.
An amicable, edifying and ultimately futile debate (the sort The Hannibal Blog loves) in January, between, on one side:
- Kevin Starr, the preeminent historian of California (and a preferred source of mine), and (see Update below).
- Sharon Waxman, distinguished journalist and author,
- Bobby Shriver, Renaissance man and Kennedy/Schwarzenegger clan member, and
and, on the other side,
- Gray Davis, the former governor of California, and
- Van Jones, Obama’s former “green czar”, and
- Lawrence O’Donnell, cable-TV analyst and, more importantly, father of The West Wing, the most intelligent TV series ever.
My team will argue that, yes,
California is the first failed state.
The other guys will argue the opposite.
Then the audience will annoint the winners.
Feel free to suggest debate strategies/arguments (for either side!) in the comments.
33 thoughts on “Me against Gray Davis”
Congratulations on being chosen to participate in this debate.
But, is it not a paradox that Gray Davis, who, by the way he was removed from the governorship, is arguably the first “failed” governor, should be arguing that the state he was the “failed” governor of, is not the first “failed” state?
You’re very kind, Phil.
But yes, I see all sorts of ironies in the choice of Gray Davis. Which I will enthusiastically point out at the right moment….
First, I see a distinct advantage because you don’t have a name that looks like a noun or an adjective. I suggest you make fun of the names Gray and Van in some way. Name calling has stood the test of time. Be careful, Kevin Starr could be a liability for this reason.
Second, if you get backed into a corner, misquote the U.S. constitution with great authority. If necessary, yell at your opponent using your best Austrian accent. This will keep them disoriented and nervous.
Point out that neither the Angels nor the Dodgers (nor the Giants, nor the As, nor the Padres) made it to the World Series.
Unfortunately, this won’t help you win. Is there a good example of a state or State that has failed without violence?
I have marked this tactic down, Mr Crotchety. I could confuse gray with beige, and van with truck.
I think the promoters are to be congratulated on securing you as a participant, Andreas.
At risk of being off- topic, or perhaps slightly off- topic, which seems to be worse, let’s remember Churchill:
“A thousand years scarce serve to form a state. An hour may lay it in the dust.”
Doesn’t sovereignty, or the state, ultimately depend on violence, however we like to refine the concept, Mr Crotchety? Perhaps they are synonyms.
If I recall correctly, Hobbes defined the Leviathan as a monopoly on legitimate violence.
Also be sure to mention that in 2012, california is the first state to go… straight into the ocean.
I am a little late to the discussion tonight, but based on my knowledge of Gray Davis, I’d like to make a pari mutuel bet down at the track for Starr and Kluth. Gray Davis has NO idea who he is up against.
My advice (from my personal experience in debate with my father): listen, listen, listen until the opposition makes a factual error. Then, pounce politely with some wit. They won’t know what hit em.
Uhhhhh….that would be Whom he is up against.
Or up against who he is
You have taught me that grammatical “slips” often lead to sunlit uplands, Cheri. Why pause to analyze, or analise?
Oh gosh. Like Andreas, I can be a bit of a pedant. It’s not my best attribute.
Or maybe it’s my insecurity.
Well, actually Davis has no idea up against whom he is, just as Churchill remarked that people who insist on putting their prepositions in the right place are people up with whom I cannot put.
Hey, you celebrity, you. Well done! How much do you think your blog contributed? eg, didn’t you blog about this issue, or am I imagining it? Sgx
Not at all, actually. What did it was a few of my articles in The Economist predicting California’s imminent disappearance ( 😉 ).
There isn’t much market for the debate over here, Andreas. Will we here whisperings on the Hannibal side of Wall Street?
I shouldn’t encourage you, but ‘Will we here, whispering on the Hannibal side of Wall Street?’ is poetic. (not what you said exactly (or meant)). A sunlit upland.
I confess to it all!
The course of true love never did run smooth[ly].
California has failed? Was that Andrea’s fault?
Summon the responsible.
I deny everything.
It always takes a long search for the truly responsible …
I missed that, Exuvia. Do I hear the shaking of continental cutlery? Let’s hope the debate is de-sanitized.
Well, an interesting update, just one day after this went on the website.
Kevin Starr has now pulled out, claiming that he never assented to arguing FOR the motion in the first place (although the organizers say that he did). So I will have a different team member. What a pity. He is a cavalier and a gentleman in heated debate.
Who this team member is (predicate nominative, guys) will be critical for victory in this debate (and for my bet).
Judge Blah would be an able partner; he too, is a gentleman in a heated debate (trust me, I know this from personal experience) but…..alas……he is a classic roundhead.
How about Campbell? (Not that dimwit Campbell Brown on CNN,) but Tom Campbell. He would be smooth as silk.
Your loyal Earth Pig
Campbell would be great, but as a candidate for governor he would not be able to touch the proposition in the affirmative with a barge pole. Ditto for Ronald George, the CA Supreme Court chief justice, with whom I’ve just had a great conversation, but who could never allow himself to speak his mind on certain issues publicly.
Which reminds me how lucky I am to be able to offend freely and copiously.
Would Kevin Starr be a brother or some such of Ken Starr? If so, you could ask Kevin to ask Ken to take his place. Ken would be good debater, being a lawyer and all.
No, they’re not related.
By the way, guys, I’m not at all involved in choosing the debaters. I was chosen by Intelligence Squared. I will do nothing except wait whom they produce….
As your friendly neighbour up north, I will just watch the fight (I mean debate) and try to learn something (I hope).
You know that pile of paper? You can set fire to that for a start. Climate change – nothing come the Revolution!
well, andreas, if i were you i too would wish for kevin starr as a fellow debater.
but it looks like you are stuck with myself (see bio here: http://www.thewrap.com/masthead or, alternately, here: http://sharonwaxman.typepad.com/loot/sharon-waxman.html) and bobby shriver, who’ll have to speak for himself. (he’s a shriver, and that may well be enough.)
i promise to bring the pain on the appointed day.
Well, I’m honored and delighted to have you on the team, Sharon.
I confess that I’m new to The Wrap but I will browse into it.