[Fisking is] just a way of saying, I don't agree with each of your points, and here's why.But that describes honest debate, too, doesn't it? That describes what you do in litigation; you just do it in front of a referee who (theoretically) keeps the argument free of the gratuitous insult, violation of decorum, etc., that makes a lot of web-based dialogue ugly.
But, more to your point, I think I'd characterize Kusnet's piece as analysis. He's asking what parts of the message are effective, how much of a change there is from Bush's SOTU message. I didn't get the feeling he was only offering disagreement, and that -- to me -- is the difference. Disagreement does nothing to "advance the ball"; disagreement with pointed criticism, refutation, and appeal to logic, evidence, or experience can do so enormously. (This reminds me somewhat of the knock against partisanship. There is in fact a world of difference between empty partisan rhetoric and actual disputation of policy points.) Unless I miss your point entirely, I think you paint this issue with too broad a brush.
Moreover, how does your post directly below advance the ball on gay marriage? That's not to say I don't find your suggestions for amendments very funny (particularly the one involving restrictions on rock stars marrying supermodels -- who should, of course, be forced to marry bloggers). I'm just wondering what, exactly, you're looking for in informal, web-based discourse.