Monday, March 1, 2010
I participated in my first Latke-Hamantash Debate last night at the Buntport Theater in Denver. I was one of four representatives for Team Hamantash, and I'm sorry to report that we lost on a very close audience vote, 43-41. The competition was a ton of fun and very instructive.
From there, I pointed out the American trinity of the legislative, executive, and judiciary branches, noting the Madisonian ideals of checks and balances. I contrasted this with the unitary theory of the executive propounded by the Bush administration, suggesting that the latke essentially represented George W. Bush. If you believe in the need for nuance and balance, I offered, there really is only one choice.
Well, despite these efforts and some truly heroic histrionics by my teammates, we still lost. I'm not sure how much actual persuasion occurred among the crowd, but one thing that stood out to me was that the latke team used our advantages against us. We were the more technically advanced team -- most of us used Power Point with a laser pointer. Team Latke, however, played up their Average Joe appeal by noting that their food consists of potatoes and oil, common working class fare. They portrayed the hamantash as an elite pastry and our team as out of touch with the masses. They turned us into John Kerry. It was most impressive.
I think for next year, our strategy should be to immediately go negative on the potato. We have to remove the positive connotations. We should also maybe rebrand the hamantash as "poppy pockets" or something.