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Thursday, April 21, 2016

Mouth Yes, Money No

A few months ago, I overheard two guys at work discussing why Hillary Clinton will not be president. Their entire argument came down to the fact that she would be indicted for charges related to using her private e-mail server.

I couldn't help myself. I jumped in and asked, "Who is going to indict her?" The more certain of the two said, "The FBI." I pointed out that the FBI doesn't indict people; at the federal level, that would be the Justice Department, which is part of the Obama administration, which isn't going to indict its party's leading candidate for the presidency.

He was completely convinced I was wrong, probably because he is exposed to the right-wing media machine that has been pounding this fact since last fall. I asked him when this was likely to happen, and he said, "By April fifteenth." That's when I offered to bet him $500 that it wouldn't. He replied, "Well, I don't make that much money. How about $20?"

In other words, he's 100% sure that something's going to happen, but not willing to back it up.

I played along and agreed to the $20 bet. Six weeks later, he approached me and asked, "Want to double it?" I don't listen to right-wing radio or read their websites, but somebody must have re-launched this line of attack and convinced him the indictment was pending. I agreed to the $40 bet.

Well, as you know, it's several days past the deadline, and Clinton remains unindicted. I haven't seen this guy yet, nor has he contacted me to say, "I was wrong and I have your money." But I'm sure I'll get it eventually.

Meanwhile, I went through virtually the exact same conversation with someone else this week -- another guy absolutely sure Clinton was on the cusp of being indicted before the Democrats have their convention this summer. The difference is that I know that this guy has plenty of money, so surely he wouldn't flinch from betting $500 on it. He paused for a couple of seconds before declining the bet. So, he's positive, but not really.

This reminds me of a similar conversation I had with yet another right-winger a month before the 2012 election. He was checking out something on his phone and blurted, "Wow, Romney is going to crush Obama. I'd bet any amount that he gets over 315 electoral votes." I wanted to make sure I'd heard him correctly, so I asked him to repeat it, which he did. Then I replied, "Well, if you're so sure that you would bet any amount, I'll take that wager for $10,000."

He looked at me like I was crazy, but I could see a tiny flicker of doubt in his eyes. He obviously hadn't considered that whatever "information" he was absorbing might not be connected to reality. He hemmed and hawed for a minute or so, then agreed to take the bet, but for only $100. On election day, it wasn't close -- Obama got 332 electoral votes while Romney got 206.

I got paid a few days later.

Don't you wish some of the genius pundits on TV and radio -- who are feeding this garbage to their viewers and listeners -- were forced to put their money where their loud mouths are?