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Extending an olive branch

A while ago a particularly persistent idiot challenged me to a wager on the presidential race. He backed Kerry, and offered a chance to crow on his web site if Bush won if I offered him the same opportunity here at Wizbang. I declined it for two reasons. First, the stakes were grossly disproportionate -- his site is pretty pathetic; it would have been like wagering my brand-new Bentley against his clapped-out '73 Plymouth. Second, the right to post on Wizbang is not mine to grant, so I couldn't have taken the wager had I even been so inclined.

But, as the old joke goes, even a broken clock is right twice a day, and that idiot's challenge gave me an idea for doing my small part to heal the rift this campaign has cloven between us Americans.

The election is over, and Bush has won. It is time for all of us to Move On, to show the world that we are, indeed, Americans Coming Together behind our duly elected leader. And in that spirit, I'm extending my hand to those who supported Senator Kerry and opposed President Bush. And I'm doing it in my own style.

I've browsed the weblogs of some some of the more partisan (but, hopefully, still reasonable) liberals, and culled three of their biggest concerns about a Bush second term -- the return of the draft, the tanking of the economy, and the security of the American people. With that in mind, I'm proposing the following wager. I will wager with you on the likelihood of each of those happening by the end of the year 2005.

But like I said, I'm looking to extend the olive branch, to help Bush's critics support the President. I am willing to bet that at least two of the above will occur. (Details in the extended section). I'm challenging liberals to bet that their worst fears will not occur.

I'm willing to discuss stakes, as well. Cash contributions to favorite charities? Sure. (Within limits -- I'm on a budget here.) Bragging rights on each other's blogs? Fine. (With Kevin's permission, of course.) Posting of humiliating photos or degrading confessions? You got it. Something else? Toss it out there. I'm eager to talk it out.

I want to make it abundantly clear that I desperately want to lose these bets. I don't want there to be a draft, the economy to tank, or there to be a major terrorist attack. But I want to give Bush opponents a reason to support his success.

If you're interested in taking me up on this bet, say so in the comments section. (And yes, I'm calling out you and you folks. I figure you guys owe me, and I'm calling in the marker.) We can work out the details in e-mail or IMs. But act quickly -- this offer closes Sunday night, and I'll post the details of any and all wagers shortly thereafter. And this challenge is only intended to American bloggers who have consistently been critical of President Bush. I intend no disprespect to bloggers from outside the United States, but this is about healing our own wounds.

J.

For the terms of this bet, "the economy tanking" shall be defined as three months or more of unemployment being over 6%, "the draft coming back" shall be defined as a bill to reinstate the Selective Service System introduced and backed by Republicans and supported by a White House official, and "a major terrorist attack" shall be defined as a single incident or roughly coinciding incidents that kill at least 200 Americans within the borders of the United States, or a series of two or more related incidents that kill at least 200 Americans within one week. These are my opening positions; they are open for negotiations.


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Comments (22)

I will not speak for the PB... (Below threshold)

I will not speak for the PBA, but I am going to respectfully decline Jay. I need a break from the partisan stuff and I am more interested in looking at ways we can work together. If you have seen ISOU today, that has been my entire focus, and I am sincere in saying that my interest is in looking to ways that we can have a meaningful discourse. To that end I am honored to have the opportunity to work on The Left Right Debate and Joined with the Commissar in trying to return the discourse to a civilized tone. as well as worked today to post on unity and ending the devisiveness and bitterness.
I am challenging my conservative friends to join with me in this effort, and to stand united as Americans regardless of our positions on individual issues...
To that end, I see any competitive issues, especially when it comes to issues this serious as being counter to my own goals.
I am returning ISOU to a Blog where all are welcome and the debate is civil and issues rather than personality based. I invite you and Kevin and even Paul to visit, discuss and help move America forward.

DA

Damn... I can't blame you f... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

Damn... I can't blame you for declining, David, but I do feel a smidgen let down.

Go in peace. You've more than fulfilled your duty for this election cycle as a concerned citizen.

J.

Jay Tea, likewise I can't s... (Below threshold)

Jay Tea, likewise I can't speak for everyone in the progressive blog alliance at the moment. However, I'm quite interested; especially if we donated our money to a good cause.

Again, I can't speak for everyone, but I think given the deep divide that everyone is feeling on the streets, in their schools, at even the supermarket, two opposing ideologies coming together to bet on the validity of their views; and then donating the pot would send a wonderful message: "regardless of violent differences of opinion, both sides mean well in the end."

I appreciate the spirit of your offer, and have brought it forth in our forums to "discuss". I'll also contact a few people who might be able to help us find "givers" from both sides. E-mail me your address and I'll get back to you within 24 hours with more details.

As much as I hate to say it (and as much flack as I will take for admitting it), I'm starting to like you Jay Tea.

Look Jay, I'm gonna be stra... (Below threshold)

Look Jay, I'm gonna be straight up with you... THEY'LL PULL OUTTA THE WAGER as soon as it is obvious they'll lose? Want proof?

September 28, 2004

Nick, here you go. Just hov... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

Nick, here you go. Just hover your cursor over my signature in this posting, and you'll see I answer at "TempoMan49 (at) yahoo.com." I never got around to troubling Kevin for a Wizbang addy.

It's a rather insidious ploy, I must admit -- "bet against your worst fears." I'm trying to sucker you into hoping for the best and rooting for our President to succeed -- not necessarily succeed in his agenda, but succeed for America. And if I can get a couple of his critics to be hopeful and start rooting for things to go well for us all despite your guy losing the election, then I think it's worth a bit of effort, money, and/or personal dignity.

The founding fathers pledged "their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor" for the good of the country. On that scale, I'm a real piker.

And Editor, I appreciate the warning. But that was one particular person. I'm willing to take my chances -- I feel it's my duty as a citizen.

J.

Jay, this is meant in the b... (Below threshold)
msl:

Jay, this is meant in the best of ways, but really.
Wagering on the possible deaths of Americans?

I get it, I mean, I understand the idea, it just impresses me as in poor taste.

Sorry, my two cents.
msl

3 months or more of unemplo... (Below threshold)
Paul:

3 months or more of unemployment being over 6%???

Geeze Jay, that is not all that rare. I might bet you on that one.

msl, I'm not too thrilled a... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

msl, I'm not too thrilled about it, either. But I think ugly thoughts in the hopes of forestalling ugly realities.

I assuage my conscience by telling myself I'm merely playing the "house," giving other people a chance to bet AGAINST Americans getting killed.

And Paul, it's not any of the three -- it's two of three. But you wanna bet, be my guest -- I'll waive the rules for you as a professional courtesy. But I think the "posting on Wizbang" stakes might have to come off the table.

J.

Shouldn't they have to be r... (Below threshold)
Val:

Shouldn't they have to be reasonably intelligent, or at least clear headed, to compete in this contest? The draft... A concoction dreamed up by THE DEMOCRATS to try and dirve opinion against the President. The economy was never in trouble because of Bush, and if they think so, they need to take a basic economics course before entering. And national security??? Wasn't it eight years of a Democratic CINC that lined us up for 911 to begin with? These guys are in denial, plain and simple. They are in thrall to talking points out of F911 and no amount of outreach is going to work.

Val, I for one wouldn't put... (Below threshold)

Val, I for one wouldn't put a dime on the draft. I believe economics is too complex to blame a president for (though I will blame a president when I write a political polemic against bush). Moreover, I'm very worried about Bush's liberal spending habits, as they are redistributing wealth to older generations (my views on spending tend to be neo-classical).

Furthermore, our war on Terror is simply not cost effective -- for every terrorist we spend millions of dollars trying to catch, four more pop up. Think that is a F9-11 talking point? Rumsfeld said the same thing that I just said.

And no, Clinton did not line us up for 9-11 anymore than Bush I, Reagan, Carter, and the British empire for that matter. And I don't blame Bush for cutting the counter terrorism budget, or as Cheney said of Richard Clark, their counter-terrorism czar "He wasn't in the loop". So please, try to understand I might be a clear thinking individual who is scared shitless by your president.

I don't call him "my" president because he does represent my values, and indeed inacts policys that are directly opposed to my values. To tell you the truth, I felt like I no longer had a country last night. Republicans need to understand that while they indeed "won"; nearly half of America is completely unrepresented in all branchs of government. We have a right to be scared, and our fear is grounded in reality.

Nick: that "nearly half of... (Below threshold)
-S-:

Nick: that "nearly half of Americans" had the same right to vote as the other Americans who did and how.

You exaggerate, no less, about the "nearly half of Americans," as to "having no country" to include yourself. If you were born here, or otherwise applied for citizenship here and were granted it, you're a citizen. You have the same basic rights and abilities as everyone else to do anything you want to do, within acceptable guidelines.

The media our country has allowed to become so forefront as source of information and influence has really and literally planted seeds of disenfranchisement in many people's minds about the United States. But, it's still a country that is still and only still just people.

And, because we have a process that allows all us people to formulate a government upon a process of elections, that's how we have what we have. But, again, it is still an expression of what the most people who participated, wanted and endorsed. So, if it's not the country you recognize or want, you, like anyone else, can always renounce citizenship and apply for it elsewhere. I mean, if it's that bad to your perception, the United States, then look around for a country that you DO like and then go there and live a life more to your liking. I don't write that sarcastically, but quite seriously. I'd do that if the country ever became so offensive in context and method that I could no longer "recognize" a place to call home. Same reasons why people move from one area to another, when it's by choice based upon desired environments....they just move to somewhere more to their liking.

Not writing here that you should leave, but that, seriously, if you feel quite so strongly that the U.S. is so unrecognizable to you as a place of residency, you may want to consider moving elsewhere, somewhere you DO feel at home. That's all I'm saying.

My point was that the issue... (Below threshold)
Val:

My point was that the issues of concern mentioned were inane. There are certainly other talking points that one could choose that would make some sense. The homeland security issue is perhaps valid to some extent , but to imply that the retreat, placation, or isolationism (however you like it) advocated by the left will make us safer is an untenable and illogical position, precisely because those methods had been tried in the nineties and ultimately failed utterly. Currently, there is a war of attrition occurring that the radical islamists cannot hope to sustain, regardless of recruiting efforts. The vast majority of any population has a commonality with every other in that they just want to make a living and raise their kids. Occasionally radicals get in charge and dictate the course of things, but their numbers are, by definition, limited. The hearts and minds campaign that is running concurrently with combat ops, and the installation of democracy, are strengthening that majority immeasurably - efforts that will cut off the flow of prospects to the radicals in time, and eventually fix the situations that gave them birth and fertile ground. Very good plans, and working out in just the way I described if you access information beyond what the media in the US likes to push.

BTW, I apologize for the cheap shot on President Clinton's efforts in the nineties... In fact, I feel those things were the not only the proper things to do, but the just things as well. Clearly no large scale action such as we are taking now could be made morally without trying to give the islamists several opportunities to 'be the better man'. Truly, as Americans, we owed it to ourselves to take those steps before full scale military options were employed. In that regard I laud President Clinton's efforts. I truly cannot see how 911 could have been avoided without using the extremely unfair 20/20 hindsight that we have now.

Jay Tea:I'd rather... (Below threshold)

Jay Tea:

I'd rather not take your wager. First, I have no desire to see the economy tank or for there to be another terrorist attack, and I would rather not profit thereby.

Second, the only way I see a draft occurring is if there is a significant terror attack implicating one or more major nations ... and the United States has no choice but to dip into conscription just to meet the needs of occupation.

--|PW|--

There's totally not ever go... (Below threshold)

There's totally not ever going to be a draft- (because there would be riots), the economy isn't very much affected by the president, and terrorism kills fewer people than the flu. How about something that really matters, like the Total Tax Burden, including soaring health insurance and education costs?

-S- : I'm a journalist at h... (Below threshold)

-S- : I'm a journalist at heart, so I often spy on people via google. Regardless of the fact that we are on completely opposite ends of the political spectrum, PROPS ON DESIGNING THE STAR WARS LOGO! And that is episode four my friends, "A New Hope". George Lucas wanted it to evoke fascism? Now that my friend... is a story.

I marvel at the people I meet here sometimes.... Suzy and Val, I wanted to express my appreciation for your respectful and even gracious responses. Suzy, I think our system is broken: our population is too large for our government's framework. Its as though America is not so much divide, as it is our way of government has divided America.

Val, I don't bother with US media when it comes to foreign affairs; my opinions tend to be forged by establishment journals like Foreign Affairs, and reports that I read from thinktanks like RAND et. al My main contention... and please try to take it understanding we are not speaking partisan at the moment, is that most of the world is not ready for Democracy. Look at what happened last night... What if we'd been Iraq? Do you remember how high the tensions are? Democracy tends to be short in life, and violent in death, as that old parlour pinko James Madison once pointed out. Their will be plenty of time to work out our finer disagreements. For now, I'm just thankful to be finding people who treat me like a human being on the otherside.

And -S-, your response to the PBA's coming out party remains one of my favorite quotations of all time:

"Jay, now you've done it. Wizbang has been discovered by DU and 'progressive' propagandists worldwide, and they are all here. It's shocking to read just how determined some are to support misinformation. Shocking."

Til tomorrow friends.

Screw reaching out and heal... (Below threshold)
Jim:

Screw reaching out and healing! I want to payback. All of a sudden these moonbats, Lefties, Liberals and miscellaneous wackjobs want to heal wounds. Now they -- through the MSM -- start their "teach the world to sing in perfect harmony" BS. After all the nasty, horrible meanspirited things they did and said they want to make nice? Baloney. I'm all for this forgive and forget stuff, but first I believe in getting even. Already Nancy Pelosi is starting her left-wing attacks. They want to work with us? Great. They don't? Then we continue the fight.

Screw the olive branch... ... (Below threshold)
LJD:

Screw the olive branch...

I was just thinking that Rush was a bit ungracious and gloating just a little too much yesterday. Then I was listening to WKBK this morning.

The jerk on the air was saying that 51% of America is stupid and easily swayed... A caller continued to talk about the what-if scenario: "If Bush had lost every one would be crying and...blah blah blah. " Unfortunately, I couldn't find this jackass' e-mail or contact him by phone, to tell him I turned off his program. (Which I recommend every one do until the afternoon, when Rush and Howie Carr are on the air).

I was talking to a "friend" of mine yesterday afternoon. He couldn't manage a civil, and very generic and topical conversation about voting and elections. He had to go on a Bush sucks and Fox News is bullshit rampage. Some "friend".

Olive branch? No way. Drive these loser sniveling weasels into the mud. They have divided this country. They have put our troops in danger and emboldened the enemy. They are the sore losers. The hell with them and their skewed view of reality.
The DNC has hung themselves for good. As Homer Simpson would say "Take THAT Flanders! Woo Hoo!"

Nick-Furthermor... (Below threshold)
Scott:

Nick-

Furthermore, our war on Terror is simply not cost effective ...

We've spent $6 trillion so far on LBJ's "War on Poverty"- with only negative effects.

We've spent another $2 trillion on Nixon's "War on Drugs"- which has been proven to be even less effective than the above.

Those of us who are Libertarians would say, "Well, like Duh!"


Meanwhile, we've only spent $250 billion on the "War on Terror" so far- and we have seen a clear victory in Afghanistan, an apparenty potential victory in Iraq, with further positive effects in countries like Libya, Egypt, and Pakistan- and have demonstrated the seriousness of our stance to countries like Iran, North Korea, etc.

Not too shabby...

nearly half of America is completely unrepresented in all branchs of government. We have a right to be scared, and our fear is grounded in reality.

Now you know how I feel about the entire first half of my lifetime(1964-1980)... Kinda sucks, doesn't it?

Hi Jay,We did some... (Below threshold)

Hi Jay,

We did some cross-isle talking before the election here and on BOP news. I see your friends across the isle are now idiots. In that spirit, you may want to read my (link to truly vile, threatening letter deleted by Jay Tea) open letter to the Republican Senators and Members of Congress.

Nick Lewis, and others: </... (Below threshold)
-S-:

Nick Lewis, and others:

I thought that Jay Tea deleted that comment of mine, from that thread (I disregarded his requirements/conditions requested to participate in that thread [wanted only "progressives" to comment on that one thread, to write about why they were voting for Kerry for Pres, and because I am/did neither, nor never considered either, and wrote on that thread what I wrote there -- I couldn't contain myself -- I thought my comments were later removed] and realized why he'd deleted those comments -- at least, I thought he had).

Anyway, I appreciate your compliments but I also think I've written far better content than that, elsewhere. It was just that the whole thread was filled with people waxing on about John Kerry, who only months earlier reviled him, at least as to what they were writing on the internet. Sometimes the liberal layering is just too much for me, and that was one of those times.

About the comment that "our government has divided America," (by Nick Lewis, earlier [^^]), I can't understand how anyone could blame a "government" for "divid(ing) America" when what we have is the only democratic process going. People can write comments like that when they're perceiving our American governmental process as enemy or the opposition, in suspicion...it's a liberal thing, I realize, it's a liberal mindset that requires that, inorder to be liberal, you have to believe, like really BELIEVE, that the United States "government" is malevolent, is out to get ya', is inherently bad.

MY point, to the contrary, is that the government is only people. It's people who congregate and if you believe that people are inherently bad, you'll then believe that the "government" -- people congregating -- is inherently bad because of it.

But, if you believe that people are inherently good (there's that "the glass is half full" thing again), then you'll believe that the government is inherently good, at least as to our democracy.

It's a characteristic of every liberal to one degree or another I've ever interacted with, that there's a core of pessimism and suspicion there, that there's an assumptive premise that first people are bad, and that second, they are responsible for bad things happening to the liberals.

Which is about the opposite of how most conservatives reason. So, there is a polar opposite in the emotional perceptions of most liberals versus most conservatives, and that is one of pessimism as standard for the former and optimism as standard for the latter.

Not that one perspective is fixed or constant -- everyone has bad experiences at some point and does again at more points afterward -- but that the individuals are moreorless predictably pessimistic (gravitate toward "liberalism" and certain causes and groups) or they are predictably optimistic (gravitate toward "conservatism" and certain causes and groups).

So, if you're down, liberals blame government, conservatives blame themselves, look to their own individual for solutions, while liberals look toward and even demand the government, the greater society, make some changes to suit them. Liberals make changes personally. Those are the primary differences as I have experienced them among many human experiences, and from all that I've interacted with otherwise: liberals assume the glass is half empty, conservatives assume the glass is half full.

IF liberals were quite so stuck on being "progressive," if it was a sincere change within humans as individuals, they'd be optimistic and enthusiastic about how to participate in the next four years, about what could be constructed and built and shared and learned and exchanged...instead, it's been a nonstop attack by liberals upon conservatives (Palast, SLATE, etc.) upon Bush and conservatives, and nary a glance at themselves. Maybe they lost because they ARE losers, as Schwarzenegger suggested, I mean, maybe they just have a losing perspective about what it means to govern, to participate. Maybe it's the wrong perspective because they are failing again and again to enthuse people and garner "energy" to their wants and demands. Thus, their glasses continue to be less half filled, less half filled, less half filled...it'll eventually evaporate, unless the perspective changes.

About the SW logo and some design history of the logo and the original advertising, Lucasfilm, Ltd. is in the process of completing a book about that and it will be published about this time next year (probably Fall, 2005). So, look for that if you're interested -- they include some quotes from me.

But, let me be clear here, George Lucas DID NOT make a POLTICAL request of me in that design of that logo by using the request for "a fascist" logo. He gave me A DESIGN DIRECTIVE, he asked for THEATRICAL STATEMENT to a visual..."fascist" was an effective description about the visual language inherent in the design. The word wasn't used in a political text, but in a design context. It's important to understand the difference.

I just know that liberals will misunderstand what I just wrote. Unfortunately, words are never enough.

Those who founded our count... (Below threshold)
Armadillo:

Those who founded our country, knew of one plant that must always be uprooted and destroyed. Its nature was such that it could quickly take over and dominate whole ecosystems, to the detriment of all other diversity. They even made strong laws to make certain this plant could never prosper in our land. These laws prohibited any actions that encouraged the growth of this plant.

Yet, over the last 200+ years, living in a land that is free of this plant has weakened our ability to recognize it as the evil weed it is. In recent years it has begun to sprout and spread across most of the center of our land. Some have even begun to sing the praise of of this plant because of its unusual ability to bear, not one, but two unique and individually tasty fruits. They believe more wealth and prosperity can be derived by the wide cultivation of just such a plant all over our land. The wisdom and warnings of our founding fathers goes unheeded by them. The very future of our country will soon be in jeapordy if we cannot once again come back to the point where we all know that ---- when single plant bears both the fruit of Church and State on the same Bush, it cannot be tolerated in our land!

Consuming the mixed-fruit harvest of this Bush has mind altering effects. Elevated levels of poposity and moral absolutism are prime symptoms. Activity shifts toward the foisting on others of narrowly conceived world views founded on mythological concepts. Dismissing of all unplesant facts that do not fit the newly aquired, more viscerally appealing faith-based approach to life becomes the norm.

Over the next four years, the insidiously evil harvest produced by this increasingly popular Bush will soon make even its most ardent promoters realize, contrary to their earlier shortsighted thinking, that it must now be totally uprooted and burned, wherever it is seen to grow.

To preserve the very moral values on which our nation was founded, we must reinstate zero-tolerance for this Bush. True conservatives must unite to squelch the weak-thinking liberal promoters of this Bush. Those who preach the benefits of consuming this mixed-fruit harvest must loose their tax-exempt status!

I'll take you up on your ge... (Below threshold)

I'll take you up on your generous offer, Jay Tea.




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