Member and Rebuttal Speeches

Written by Josh Sandberg & Sihong Chan for Stanford CTL35SI

MG & MO speeches:

The second constructive speech for both teams is where the arguments really develop and the clash occurs. Both speakers must develop their partner’s arguments and patch up the holes that the other team has battered in them. While you are listening to the opening speaker for the other team, try to think beyond the obvious responses that your partner will (probably) make. Think about arguments on a deeper level, whether it be by challenging the logical links or the underlying philosophies. Your partner has done the carpet bombing, now it’s time for you to launch the smart missiles to where they can do the most damage.

Member of Government:

To be an effective MG, you must listen carefully to the LO's speech - particularly his or her independent points - and figure out what general approach they are going to take to attacking your case. A good opp team will be developing their own philosophy, and if you don't preemptively undermine it in your MG speech the opposition will have 12+ minutes to cement their view in the mind of the judge. Be careful: it's very easy to concentrate on individual arguments, one at a time, without thinking about how they're all connected. They may have misunderstood your intent, or they may be (more likely) intentionally shifting your arguments to a different context; either way, if you're not careful, it can be deadly. Make sure you debate your case on your grounds.
Member of Opposition:

As the last speaker in the round, the MO will have had a (comparatively) vast amount of prep time. Take advantage of every one of those 23+ minutes to analyze the government's case and figure out what the real problems are. The LO should leave you a broad framework and philosophy from which to challenge the case, now it's your job to expand and deepen this analysis. You should be doing more than reiterating the LO. It's your job to weigh the arguments on each point and show why your view is superior. Clarify the opposition philosophy. Finally, make sure to watch out for any trickery in the MG: new points, case shifts, or the setup for a collapsing case. If you address these in your speech, it'll make things a lot easier for the LOR.

Reply Speeches:

A good reply speech can swing a round, against all odds, so its importance cannot be overstated. A reply speaker is supposed to summarize the main areas of debate that have occurred in the round. Think of 3 questions the judge should be asking him/herself when trying to decide who deserves to win the round. Those questions are your points of crystallization. Although it should seem evident what these areas of clash are, a good reply speaker should try to frame the debate in the best way possible for his/her team. Tell the judge explicitly why you should win! If you don't give the judge a way to weigh arguments, he or she will have to come up with one, and it's likely to not be what you want or even what you expect. It’s all about structure and summarizing (I’ll explain in class what this means). Lastly, remember that new arguments are not allowed but new examples are always welcome!

Leader of the Opposition Rebuttal:

Prime Minister’s Rebuttal: