Chapter 5

The Second Affirmative Constructive


What are the goals of the 2AC speech?

Your duties as the Second Affirmative in the constructive speech are quite clear. You have to regain initiative and recapture the offensive position after the inroads made by 1NC. You want to narrow the debate back down to the Affirmative issues established in the very first speech. The Negative has tried to detour into irrelevancies; donít let them get away with it!

At the same time, you wonít be satisfied merely to rebuild to the point you were at before 1NC. Certainly 1AC didnít say everything that was possible to support the Affirmative plan ó he only had eight minutes. You now have the opportunity to add new analysis and evidence to advance the Affirmative case. You wonít present new contentions, but you will build on the material already on the judgeís flowchart. Give the judge even more justification for giving the Affirmative team the victory.

At the end of your speech, you want the Affirmative side clearly to be winning. Coming up is the 13-minute Negative block. The better you are before the block, the less damage control you will need after it


What is the format of this speech?


How does the Affirmative refute Negative arguments?

Refer to the chapter on 1NC to see how refutation is done. The 2AC speaker uses the same techniques. Challenge the evidence or reasoning offered by the Negative. Read counter-evidence, to show that the Negative position is simply not true. Or show that, even if the Negative is correct in itís position, the argument simply does not apply to your Affirmative case.

As you would expect, your refutation needs to be well organized. The signposts and labels presented in 1AC help a lot. For each point of the original case, remind the judge of the 1AC analysis. Then mention what the Negative said about the point. Finally, refute the Negative position to rebuild your case, and extend with new evidence and reasoning.


What is the purpose of extensions?

As you go point-by-point down the Affirmative case, you not only must respond to Negative arguments, but you should use this last chance to develop new arguments of your own. Such an argument is called an extension, because it extends upon the original Affirmative analysis.

The Affirmative case should grow throughout the debate. Do not just repeat an argument from 1AC; make it better. Do not be satisfied to read another piece of evidence that repeats facts from 1AC ó instead, present evidence that makes a stronger stand.

Did the Negative ignore something from the first speech? Great! Bring it forward! If time permits, nail the issue down with new analysis and evidence. Above all, do not drop part of the Affirmative case just because the Negative ignored it! You should have extensions prepared in advance for all the issues of your speech, for the rare case when an incompetent Negative team totally botches 1NC. Even when the Negative misses only a few issues, prepared extensions allow you to advance the case points that were not challenged.

Extensions are most useful, however, in rebuilding those issues that the Negative did attack. Remember, you must answer all 1NC positions, even if they seem unimportant. Tell the judge that they are unimportant, but respond. You cannot risk ignoring anything the Negative has said. Then, use your prepared extension block to show how new evidence and reasoning also point the Affirmative way.


How do I properly organize my speech?

As mentioned earlier, follow the First Affirmative Constructive organization exactly. Do not necessarily follow the pattern that the Negative used. A good 1NC speaker would have used the Affirmative format anyway, but a poor 1NC will wander from issue to issue at random. If you follow his lead, your organization will be just as bad, and leave a bad impression on the judge.

Consider the following example. The Affirmative is promoting federally financed health care for the poor. Following a fairly strong 1NC, the Second Affirmative rises to rebuild the case issues: "Well, the First Negative started off discussing inherency, so Iíd better start there. They said Medicaid insurance coverage was in good shape, and gave us four reasons. Iím gonna read a card that my partner read in the first speech...."

Even from this excerpt, you can see that the Affirmative is in trouble. We donít know which of the four inherency objections the speaker is trying to refute. And re-reading evidence from an earlier speech adds very little persuasive impact on the Affirmative side; the judge has already taken note of the evidence, and so the only reason to read it again would be to correct a misinterpretation of the quotation by the opposing team.

Letís look at a better approach: the same case, the same 1NC, but a better 2AC speaker:

"Look at the first Affirmative advantage: THE AFFIRMATIVE PLAN BETTER PROVIDES ACCESS TO HEALTH CARE. Our analysis began with point A: THE POOR NEED ACCESS TO HEALTH CARE. This was dropped by the Negative team; pull it across the flow for the Affirmative. But add to it the fact that the poor need health care more often than any other group; the Journal of Mortality Studies in July of last year reported, ĎAdjusted for other factors, those under the federal poverty level have health care needs two or more times greater than those of the general population.í

"In point B, my partner told you that THE POOR CANNOT AFFORD ADEQUATE MEDICAL CARE; again, there was no Negative response. The Negative concedes half of our inherency position.

"Now on to point C: MEDICAID FAILS TO PROVIDE HEALTH CARE ACCESS. The first Negative gives us four responses, the first being that MEDICAID IS FINACIALLY SOUND. Sadly, thatís just not true. Remember, the Negative evidence was from 1997, and a lot has changed since then. Letís look at what Representative Barney Frank said in 2002, from the Congressional Record of June 14...."

And so on. Clearly, this speaker is much more in control of the debate. She noted the lack of Negative argument on the first two issues and reclaimed them as Affirmative territory; the Need issue ó point A ó was supported by an extension. Note how the C point was handled, as well; the speaker not only challenged the adequacy of the Negative evidence, but she is reading counter-evidence to refute it and to advance the case by turning a Negative issue into an Affirmative one. And the four Negative arguments are going to be picked apart in the order they were presented, so the judge always knows what attacks are being refuted. By the time this speech is over, the Affirmatives will be in a very strong position.


Is there any exception to the rule that the 2AC follows 1AC structure?

Oh, sure. Every rule has to have exceptions, right?

The exception in this case is that the Second Affirmative has to abandon her case structure when the First Negative has presented something that is completely novel to the case. Weíve mentioned some of these possibilities before: topicality arguments, disadvantages, and counterplans, for examples. Donít worry if youíre not yet familiar with these terms ó theyíll all be discussed in later chapters. The point is that when the Negative team presents one of the offcase arguments, they must develop their own organizational structure along the way. After all, since the argument is not a direct outgrowth of the Affirmative case (thatís why we call it "off case"), it clearly cannot be fit into the 1AC structure.

On those occasions when the 2AC has to address a new issue developed by the 1NC ó an offcase issue that has its own organizational structure ó then the 2AC will signpost her arguments to the Negative format. She should not try to attach it to part of the Affirmative case structure.

You will need to develop a sense of where the offcase issue should be addressed, of course. Some offcase arguments have great potential importance to the round ó such as topicality óand should probably be answered immediately after the 2AC introduction. At other times, you might prefer to extend the case analysis before turning to offcase issues. The judge will be able to keep track of your arguments, no matter what order you present them, as long as you take pains to signpost your speech.


Gotcha. Any more exceptions?

One more, but itís basically a restatement of something weíve already talked about: handling plan attack arguments. You will recall that we said, in our discussion of writing the Affirmative case back in Chapter Three, that the plan should not have evidence. The idea is that the plan structure itself shouldnít be debated in the round, although we can certainly expect arguments to develop over the planís effectiveness and desirability.

Some Affirmative teams, when faced with a Negative disadvantage argument, make the mistake of trying to respond to the disad using the framework of the plan. Thatís a bad idea, because the disad will not fit nicely into the plan structure. As we noted a couple of paragraphs ago, itís far better to adopt the Negative outline structure when you refute a disadvantage.

Itís rare, but also possible, for Negatives to bring up solvency arguments in the 1NC, forcing the 2AC to refute them. Again, you will not want to try to follow your Affirmative plan structure in this instance. If the Negative solvency attacks match up nicely to the 1AC case structure on solvency, then you will of course use the Affirmative structure as a framework for your response. If, however, the 1NC presents a Plan-Meet-Need argument with an original outline structure (PMNs will be covered in the next chapter), then youíll adopt the Negative structure. Let the circumstances, and the way the argument is presented, guide your strategy.


Introduction to Policy Debate
Copyright © 1990, 1993, 1996, 2002 John R. Prager
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