On Monday, I gave the many critics of my unfortunate, clear-cut and unapologetic conclusion that Sarah Palin cannot defeat President Obama in 2012 the golden opportunity to put their money where their mouth is. In a column here at The Daily Caller, I offered a $1,000 bet at incredible 100-to-1 odds that Palin would not be elected president in 2012 to the first prominent conservative commentator who responded.
I predicted that no one would take me up on it because those who were claiming I was wrong were doing so as a political maneuver and not because they really thought I was incorrect in my analysis. Well, technically I was correct, although I think we do have a bet.
Immediately after the column went live, the highly passionate Palin fan website Conservatives4Palin (founded, ironically, by Palin aide Rebecca Mansour, who told me on the day Palin resigned as governor that she also knew a 2012 run was a non-starter) put up a post by Ian Lazaran “accepting” the $100,000 bet but significantly changing the conditions. “They” (I am still not 100 percent sure exactly for whom Lazaran was “accepting” the bet) only wanted the bet to take place if in fact Palin decides to run.
While this condition may seem logical at first glance, such a concession reveals a stunning lack of understanding of the original proposal. The reality is that I made the odds so lucrative because there was at least a chance she may not run. But more importantly, if Palin decides not to run, it will largely be because she realizes that she can’t win. Therefore, if she doesn’t run, that will essentially mean the same thing as if she had run and lost.
This bit of “nuance” appeared to be totally lost on the C4P people, so I decided to go ahead and change the bet to allow it to be voided if she doesn’t run for president. This of course then created a debate about what the definition of “running” is. I wanted the threshold to be her being taken off of Fox News, but I eventually decided to give C4P what they wanted and make the point of no return a full-fledged announcement. In response, I added a provision that the bet was also off if somehow Obama was not the Democratic nominee.
Then I needed to figure out who exactly was taking responsibility for the bet. This turned out to be far more difficult than I ever imagined. Even though I went to great lengths to contact Lazaran, my e-mail is extremely accessible, and the burden of contact was clearly the person/entity taking the bet. But five days after his post “accepting” the bet, I have still not heard from him.
Instead, I have been in excruciating communication with Sheya (no last name used publicly) from “Palin TV” who is apparently part of C4P. As a condition of the agreement, I wanted to know specifically who would be paying, or cashing in on, the bet. Sheya told me it would be him and Ian on behalf of C4P. I said I needed some direct contact information. Sheya gave me his and I was promised I would get Ian’s, but as of this writing, that still hasn’t happened.
I have provided all of my contact info and even went to the extraordinary length of offering information on the account where the $100,000 is (after Sheya mistakenly charged that I might not be able to pay the bet in the highly unlikely event that I lose).
So, I believe that we have a bet (altered from the original proposal) between a man with one name and another who publicly “accepted” the bet but who has not e-mailed me five days after being directly given my contact info and being told that him contacting me was vital to confirming the bet.
Does anyone else feel that this agreement might be a little shaky?
The most frustrating element of all of this is that there has never been anything remotely flimsy about my offer or its intent. While I fully realize that such an offer is wrongly seen by many observers in the media as a stunt (largely because they see it through the cynical prism of what it would mean if they themselves, a group incapable of acting in anything other than their own self-interest, ever did such a thing), I can assure you that the offer could not be more real or more grounded in substantive intentions. I am simply trying to prove an incredibly important point, and given that I do not have a nightly show on Fox News, this is about the only option I have to do so.
Frankly, while I am well aware that few will realize or admit it, the point has already been made in spades. The only semi-legitimate response to my incredibly lopsided and lucrative bet was from by far the most fanatical pro-Palin website and was “accepted,” after significant alterations, in a way that was neither efficient nor definitive. Had a similar offer been made at this time in 2007 to liberal supporters of Obama’s then-long-shot candidacy (a scenario that was actually quite plausible), I would have been immediately bombarded with credible responses. The near total silence here is as significant as it is unfortunately unsurprising.
Heck, even Big Hollywood’s John Nolte, who penned one of the more declarative and high-profile pieces saying I was wrong, didn’t even bother to get back to me on the bet proposal. Gee, I wonder why?
The bottom line of all of this is that what I said about Palin’s inability to get elected is a vital and undeniable truth that was dramatically against my self-interest to voice, and yet the conservative establishment has largely ignored it because this truth is not in their self-interest to tell. Unfortunately, such communication failures are just part of the price our movement will continue to pay for having the vast majority of our small share of the media pie driven by the motivations of a business instead of a cause.
John Ziegler is currently a documentary filmmaker who most recently released a movie on the 2008 election called, “Media Malpractice: How Obama Got Elected and Palin Was Targeted.” He has also been in radio talk show host in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Louisville and Nashville. Ziegler has written two books and has appeared live on numerous national television shows including the Today Show, The View, Fox News Channel, CNN and MSNBC.