LIVE STREAMING NOW — Clemons vs. Gaffney: Reluctant Debaters Agree to Joust for Cancer Charity


(Sorry for late notice on this — just learned we could do it. will get video up for later viewing tomorrow.)
UNDER GROUND PUNDIT CAGE-FIGHTING (UPC) Threatens Very Fabric of DC’s Foreign Policy Community

For One Night Only, General Public To Be Given Glimpse of What Happens When Diplomacy Stops Being Polite and Starts Getting Realist

Washington D.C. — Illegal prostitution across state lines? So gubernatorial, so 2008. The current intrigue burning up the Beltway has the potential to change the fates of nations and the lives of millions.
D.C.’s dark obsession with “Underground Pundit Cage-fighting” (UPC) dates back to the days of Hamilton and Burr.
Long hidden behind the op-eds and the green screens of mainstream media, the UPC surfaced nationally after allegations of performance enhancing simile-use led a prominent talk show host to abort a planned run for a Mid-Atlantic Senate seat.
Now for the first time, the raw rhetoric and pure, no holds barred policy thuggery of foreign affairs gladiators will be available live to the general public, Thursday, April 9, 2009.
For one, all too short hour, 5-6 pm, the 4th floor of the New America Foundation at 1899 L St. NW (map) will host two real warriors of geo-strategic analysis for a far-ranging debate on “The Future of American Foreign Policy.”
In one corner, Steve Clemons, the punishing publisher of progressive realism on The Washington Note and devastatingly effective director of the American Strategy Program at the New America Foundation.
In the other, Frank Gaffney, the veteran neocon’s neocon looking for a shot at the title with the Center for Security Policy, of which he is both president and co-founder. Rumor has it that Clemons and Gaffney last sparred years ago on an MSNBC exchange where Steve dubbed his hawkish rival, Frank “nuke ’em now and get it over with” Gaffney. Gaffney has been smouldering since.
Tomorrow’s faceoff will be the first in person UPC meeting in years between two experts that differ on just about every diplomatic and national security issue imaginable. Opposites understates the case.
For years, the Council on Foreign Relations had banned such an event, fearing the clash of titans would fundamentally alter the fabric of foreign policy civility in Washington–violating the PBS protocols of the Geneva Convention mandating that policy debates be neither entertaining nor insightful.
The clash was only made possible by a cause that transcends partisan politics: the fight to cure leukemia, lymphoma and other blood related cancers.
All proceeds from tomorrow’s event will benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, thanks to the efforts Alejandra Lopez-Fernandini. The tireless debate promoter and future marathon runner is raising money for LLS through the organization’s Team in Training program. TNT is a charity sports training program that has raised millions of dollars for the research and patient services provided by LLS.
The event will be moderated by Foreign Policy magazine’s executive editor and former national news editor at the Washington Post Susan Glasser.
Refreshments will be served, and a webcast will be available after the event.
You can also make a tax-free donation at this secure fundraising webpage.
Or you can make a check payable to:

“The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society”
In memo line: “Alejandra Lopez-Fernandini, TNT-DC Chapter”

Or send to:

Leukemia/Lymphoma Clemons-Gaffney Scuffle
New America Foundation
1899 L Street, NW, Suite 400
Washington, DC 20036

— Alejandra Lopez-Fernandini, Paul Testa and Ben Katcher


8 comments on “LIVE STREAMING NOW — Clemons vs. Gaffney: Reluctant Debaters Agree to Joust for Cancer Charity

  1. Steve Clemons says:

    Beth in VA — I agree with you actually Beth. I don’t represent the left well — and I find it odd that I gravitate toward the netroots left in many things – but am much more Nixonian/Progressive Realist in foreign policy. But it would have been good to have someone from the genuine left in the mix.
    Linda…we didn’t have matzah but had unleavened bread thingies of other sort — not sure what they were but they seemed kosher, sort of.
    all best,


  2. Beth in VA says:

    This debate illustrates how the left/right, liberal/conservative positions are skewed so far to the right. Steve Clemens is one of the true moderates about most positions, or at least independent in terms of political parties: an equal-opportunity critic based on the issue, not political party.
    Isn’t Gaffney one of the most strong Republicans? I saw him on TV the other day talking about how Obama is in servitude to the Saudis because of the bowing thing. Pure GOP talking points! Clemons V. Gaffney needs another voice–a true lefty to balance out Gaffney’s partisan shots.


  3. Linda says:

    I assume that neither you nor Gaffney were invited to the White House Seder though I think Obama should issue you both last minute invites to come over a break matzoh with them.
    Also be sure that you are serving matzoh with the refreshments at your event.


  4. fidel castro ruz says:

    steve maybe you can discuss israeli spying in the united states and the medias failure to present this issue to americans.


  5. Will says:

    Man, I would love to see this; I wish it weren’t happening around
    Passover/Easter when I have to be out of town for the holidays. 🙁


  6. mel bernstine says:

    Bravo! Can’t wait!
    Liked the good-humored announcement. D.C. needs this kind of attitude.


  7. ... says:

    steve good luck in your debate for a good cause…
    here is an interesting development in foreign affairs involving the usa….
    Spain May Try American Officials in Terror War Abuses


  8. Lurker says:

    Steve, I can’t understand how you have the energy to do the things you do. I really take my hat off to you for debating someone you obviously disagree with on everything to help others. This takes energy and a very good heart. Good for both of you for doing this.


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