Jonah Goldberg Loses His Bet

I’d nearly forgotten about it, but thanks to the link list over at the blog Making Light, I remember this little bet placed two years ago by National Review screed-ist Jonah Goldberg during a nasty blog debate with Juan Cole:

Anyway, I do think my judgment is superior to his when it comes to the big picture. So, I have an idea: Since he doesn’t want to debate anything except his own brilliance, let’s make a bet. I predict that Iraq won’t have a civil war, that it will have a viable constitution, and that a majority of Iraqis and Americans will, in two years time, agree that the war was worth it. I’ll bet $1,000 (which I can hardly spare right now). This way neither of us can hide behind clever word play or CV reading. If there’s another reasonable wager Cole wants to offer which would measure our judgment, I’m all ears. Money where your mouth is, doc.

One caveat: Because I don’t think it’s right to bet on such serious matters for personal gain, if I win, I’ll donate the money to the USO. He can give it to the al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade or whatever his favorite charity is.

What a jackass.

Well, two years to the day have passed, and Mr. Goldberg will be hard-pressed to weasel word his way into convincing anyone that he won the bet, what with stories like Gallup: Bush Approval Rating at 32%, Hits New Low on Iraq and Bush Approval Rating Hits Low of 30% in Newsweek Poll (Update1).

He won’t be able to donate any winnings to the “Pointless Sock-Puppets of George W. Bush” fund, or whatever his favourite charity is.

The question remains: will he pay up?


9 replies on “Jonah Goldberg Loses His Bet”

Ah yes, us foolish right wingers, weirdly believing that far-off countries aren’t better off being ruled by someone with a firm hand on the whip. I guess that showed us!

Misdirection, while a good technique for magic tricks, isn’t quite as effective as a debtaing technique, David. The bet wasn’t over whether it was a good thing that Saddam Hussein was in charge, but whether all three of these conditions would be met:

  • Iraq won’t have a civil war. It’s possible that Goldberg could weasel out of this by stating that given the current situation, a civil war might be an “upgrade”.
  • Iraq would have a viable constitution. Well, it’s got a constitution…
  • A majority of Iraqis and Americans will, in two years time, agree that the war was worth it. I’ve got relatives in the US who are registered Republicans who don;t think it was worth it.

Oh this is excellent news, I was just looking for a right-winger to thank for the war. I wanted to thank you guys for convincing my parents to vote democrat for the first time in my life.

Also, I’m assuming that your buddies will be paying back the 3 trillion. Bueller? Bueller?

No, you called Golberg a jackass for thinking that Iraq could work out, i.e. those three conditions above, did you not?

I did not. I called him a jackass for the “al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade” crack — the now-getting-tired “If you disagree with the administration strategy on Iraq, you must be for the terrorists” trope.

I’d probably call him overly optimistic or fool for making that sucker’s bet.

As for the actual outcome — I’d be quite happy if he won his bet.

Ah, but when you’re getting to poll #s like 30% of Americans hope that the US lose … well, what do you call that? Supporting the troops?

I call that a reference pulled out of your ass. Where did I point to polls that 30% of Americans hope that the US loses?

Perhaps you’re referring to the two approval ratings stories I cited in the article (this one and this one). However those are about job approval ratings for the President being in the low 30% range.

Leave a Reply