Why I accepted Ziegler’s bet
While I have always known that commentators like John Ziegler twist, spin, and make stuff up, until recently I could never truly grasp it. It is mind-boggling how someone can spin their own challenge.
Last week, John Ziegler wrote an op-ed in The Daily Caller blabbering away about why he believes Governor Sarah Palin could not be elected president in 2012. To bolster his claim, he argued that those who publicly support the governor privately hold the same opinion as he does. To prove his point, he put up the following challenge:
To Nolte and all other commentators who claim I am wrong about Palin’s chances in 2012, I simply ask you to put your money where your mouth is. I am officially offering a $1,000 bet, at incredible 100-1 odds, that Palin will not be inaugurated president of the United States in January of 2013. This unbelievable $100,000 offer (along with details as to how I would pay in full with the money I had reserved for the charity offer that Keith Olbermann dodged) is available to the first prominent conservative who takes me up on it.
If I am so wrong, this is the deal of a lifetime, right? A no-brainer even. So why am I so convinced that no one will even take me up on it or that hardly any of my critics will see the obvious significance when they don’t?
As soon as that challenge was published, I sent out the following tweet.
I accept this by @TalktoZig “offering a $1,000 bet, at incredible 100-1 odds, that Palin will not be inaugurated president in 2013.”
After my tweet went out, a discussion was held among the Conservatives4Palin editors over whether the site should officially take him up on his bet. While we had no issue with accepting the challenge, the majority wanted to ignore Ziegler because the guy is an attention-seeking lunatic. For some reason, he’s convinced that just because he bombarded Governor Palin with unsolicited “advice,” he suddenly became her “advisor.” By those standards, I’m the official advisor for nearly every politician in the country (check my Twitter feed).
Ian Lazaran and I agreed to take on the bet on our own accord. Because I wasn’t available to put up the post, I asked Ian to put it up. In a post titled “We accept John Zeigler’s bet,” we publicly accepted it. Knowing with whom we were dealing, we made it clear that the bet would only be valid if Governor Palin actually runs.
Ziegler stunningly lacks any understanding of his own proposal. The entire premise of the bet was whether her supporters believed she could win. We believe that she can and we accepted the bet. We had publicly proven Ziegler wrong. To save face, he had to change the game. So he made it about the bet and the terms of it. From the moment we accepted it, he kept on emailing me, calling me, never content with one answer, always looking for five more. It seems that Ziegler didn’t even know what he wanted. For someone who wanted to prove that no one would take his bet, he seemed quite desperate to get a deal.
Ziegler claims that we accepted the bet by significantly changing the conditions. That’s not true. Nowhere in his column did Ziegler suggest that his opinion about Palin not being inaugurated in 2013 is valid even if she doesn’t run. Had he even remotely suggested it, his entire piece would have been laughable at best. There is not a single person in the world who would assume that anyone can be inaugurated president if they don’t run. Did Ziegler really expect someone to accept his bet under those circumstances? He might as well have put up a bet about whether I will be sworn in as president in January of 2013.
Ziegler argued that if Governor Palin doesn’t run, it will be because she believes she can’t win. In other words, Ziegler wanted me to bet on what Governor Palin may or may not be thinking. Even I am not that stupid, but apparently Ziegler is.
In fact it was Ziegler who altered the conditions, if there were any. He was the one who wanted to add a provision that the bet is only valid if President Obama is the nominee. I am so confident that Governor Palin will win if she runs that I was ready to accept the bet no matter who was the Democrat Party’s nominee, and I articulated that to Ziegler.
Ziegler goes on to say that we had a debate over “what running means.” Actually we had no debate. He wanted the bet to come into effect if Governor Palin announces an exploratory committee or goes off Fox. I made it clear that those actions are not the same thing as a run. She may leave Fox News for multiple reasons and we’ve seen potential candidates set up exploratory committees in the past but opt out of the race prior to announcing. A run is a run. You announce that you’re running and then run. This shouldn’t be rocket science.
Ziegler claims he went to extreme lengths to contact us. Sending a third party to email us doesn’t count as going to extreme lengths. Ziegler has our email address, he has emailed us often enough, he knows where to find us. Eventually he did contact us and I responded telling him that we had a deal. I made it clear to him from the start that Ian Lazaran and I had accepted the bet and that we were responsible for paying up. It was not at all difficult, but apparently Ziegler just didn’t want to accept the words “I’m responsible.”
No column by Ziegler goes without taking a cheap shot at someone. And here again, Ziegler didn’t disappoint. I gave Ziegler my full information and I made it clear to him why I didn’t want all my personal information published. He understood. Ziegler, like anyone else, knows that I’m an editor for Conservatives4Palin. While I’m not the senior editor for the site, anyone who contacts us usually receives a reply from me. I made it clear to him that if he publishes my personal information or even points out that I didn’t want him to publish it, that I would publish the entire email correspondence I had with him. Luckily for Ziegler and unlike him, I don’t believe in publishing private emails or private off-the-record conversations.
He argues that I mistakenly claimed that he may not be able to pay the bet when he loses. Well, he’s lying. Ziegler is on record claiming that he is unemployed and practically broke. Since he was betting $100,000, I simply asked him how he would pay up. I offered to put my money in escrow and asked him if he would as well.
According to Ziegler, saying that he has multiple accounts where the money would come from is considered going to the “extraordinary length of offering information on the account where the $100,000 is.” Simply put, he didn’t. He actually took offense to me asking him a reasonable question.
Ziegler complains that he wasn’t bombarded with responses. I hate to break it to you, John, but most people consider you a nut and don’t take you seriously. The only reason I accepted your offer is because someone had to prove you wrong. John can call Conservatives4Palin fanatical if he likes; I guess in the current political climate if you publish the truth and the actual facts about Governor Palin you’re considered fanatical, in which case that’s a title the site will carry with honor. Of course Ziegler couldn’t resist using me to take a couple of cheap shots at Governor Palin too.
What I have learned in the past week is that Ziegler is obsessed with attention. My dealings with him have shown to me why Governor Palin had little patience for this loser. Ziegler had no problem publishing private emails and conversations, as was evidenced by his reporting of a private conversation he had with Rebecca Mansour (something he probably took out of context or made up completely) and where he claimed that Todd Palin offered him a job on a campaign. I don’t know whether that is true, but one thing I’m quite confident of is that Todd Palin did not authorize him to go public with that information.
I’m writing this post against the advice of all my colleagues at C4P. Ziegler is going to try to milk this as much as possible. He’ll probably respond to this post. But this is my last word to and about him. As far as I see it, he put out a challenge and we accepted it. It’s that simple. My next communication with Ziegler will take place only if Governor Palin runs for president. It will be on Election Day 2012 when I call him to tell him where he can transfer the funds.
Here is why I believe that Governor Palin can and will beat Barack Obama if she chooses to run:
She has a record of bipartisanship, she has a record of accomplishments, and despite what the media likes to tell you, Governor Palin is not polarizing. Most Americans agree with her on the issues. The problem is that all those commentators who question her qualifications don’t ever bother reading or really listening to what she has to say.
Contrary to popular belief, her resignation not only won’t hurt her, it will help her. As John Nolte points out, Governor Palin cut her own throat to save her state.
Prior to the 2008 presidential campaign, Governor Palin had an 88% approval rating, she worked across the aisle, and accomplished more in 18 months than most governors accomplish in two full terms. When she came back from the campaign, it all changed. The reasons for this change are irrelevant. The fact is it that it changed.
Democrats no longer wanted to work with her, and Republicans never wanted to work with her in the first place because she challenged the Republican establishment status quo in Alaska. An onslaught of frivolous ethics complaints were filed against her. These bogus ethics complaints hurt her and the state financially and responding to the false charges consumed more than 70% of her administration’s time. As a result, her administration was compromised and she could no longer do her job or govern effectively.
She did not want to waste state resources and money any longer. She had to make a choice.
A) Stick around to simply save her political future, let the charade continue, waste the state’s time, resources, and money and allow the people filing these false ethics complaints to take the state down in their attempt to destroy her. She could have hoped that eventually those things would go away, but they wouldn’t. In Alaska, anyone can file an ethics complaint at no cost to themselves and even if it gets thrown out, they lose nothing. The state and the governor pick up the tab no matter what.
B) She could get out of the way and let her lieutenant governor take over and continue with her agenda without the distractions. It’s a safe bet that the majority of Americans cannot name the current governor of Alaska, and Alaska is better off for it.
Given those two choices, she opted to get out of the way and allow her state to progress.
Governor Palin took an oath to protect and defend her state. By stepping down, she kept that oath. Americans are sick and tired of politicians who base every decision and vote on how it will advance their personal political career.
Americans would embrace someone who will truly put the best interests of the nation ahead of their political future and has a record of doing so.
Governor Palin has weighed in on every issue facing the nation. Beltway pundits keep saying that she needs to study up. I have been following Governor Palin for the past two years and from what I’m seeing, she knows her stuff. She was ahead of the curve on healthcare, on energy, on QE2, on inflation, and on Libya to name a few. No other potential GOP candidate has weighed in on the issues as Governor Palin has, and NONE have been ahead of the curve on anything.
Here is my challenge to the likes of Charles Krauthammer and Karl Rove: name one issue that you wanted Palin to weigh in on that she hasn’t. You simply can’t.
So to all those establishment pundits and commemorators: If you really want what’s best for America, if you really want to reduce the deficit, if you really want energy independence, if you really want to rid Washington of corruption, take a page out of Governor Palin’s book; put your personal ambitions aside and go study up on her record. If you do so with an open mind and with no personal agendas, you too will realize that Governor Palin is the only one who can restore America. Otherwise, bring me a candidate that you think will, and put your money where your mouth is.
Sheya is an editor for the website Conservatives4Palin.com, founder of PalinTV.com, and blogs on his website Sheya.com. You can follow sheya on twitter @Sheya.