So, in case you missed the story, Sarah Palin auctioned off a dinner with herself for charity recently on eBay. The winner was one Ms. Cathy Maples, owner of a defense contracting company, Republican, and staunch Palin supporter. She's even met Sarah Palin twice before. And, it's interesting to note that the location of the auction was changed to "Alabama" before the bidding ended. Yes, Ms. Maples does happen to live in Alabama. Amazing.
Another bidder was really looking forward to sitting down and having a frank discussion with the ex-governor, but realized quickly that his chances of being accepted, even if he was the highest bidder, were slim. Only winning bidders that Palin deemed "suitable" would be accepted.
So, after the auction was over, disgruntled bidder and former Wall Street Executive Ken Morris offered Palin a whopping $100,000 to have dinner with him and four progressives of his choosing. So far, just the sound of crickets coming from the Palin camp. The $100,000 challenge was ignored. But now Morris has upped the ante. How much longer will Palin be able to ignore this dinner invitation?
How much will she actually be willing to deny veterans' charities so she can avoid dining with people who have opposing views?
Morris released the following statement today:
What the flippin' flapjacks is going on here? The pounding in my head is like a bongo on steroids and unless I gain some understanding of what looks like an ocean of crazy stew, I'm liable to take up residence in a rubber room.
Here's what's got my head Linda Blairing: Sarah Palin--who must've said our President was "pallin' around with terrorists" a thousand times--gave a speech in a communist nation known for human rights abuses, forced late term abortions, child sweatshops (thereby making products so cheaply that U.S. manufacturing cannot compete), and poisoned dog food. She then criticized the president in this foreign land for implementing trade restrictions. Does anyone remember the Dixie Chicks?
Days ago, when I lost out on the eBay auction to have dinner with Ms. Palin, I rationalized that with the restrictions, I'd not have been approved anyway. So, as I wrote shortly thereafter, "In the great American tradition of never say die," I proposed a more substantial offer for an on the record discussion.
I will donate $100,000 to veterans' charities for a second dinner with Sarah Palin and four guests, this one on-the-record and taped so as to minimize misrepresentations. In the name of fair play, my list of invitees will include a subset of Rachel Maddow, Keith Olbermann, Thom Hartmann, Oprah Winfrey, James Carville, Randi Rhodes, Arianna Huffington, Frank Rich, Mudflats' Jeanne Devon, Jane Hamsher and Shannyn Moore. On her side, Sarah Palin may invite guests as well (how about Bill Kristol and Glenn Beck?). The only additional conditions are that the dinner/event last the entire four hours and questions asked are answered and discussed civilly. No filibustering, no third party prompts, just face-to-face honesty. Hostility by any invitee will be cause for removal. No discussion of children, Vogue, Katie Couric, The Enquirer, or Levi Johnston permitted.
My reasons for such an offer are honorable and important. With the Supreme Court positioned to overturn campaign finance laws in the Citizens United vs. Federal Elections Commission case now before it, corporate contributions to federal elections will be unfettered. In other words, Sarah Palin with the help of an unlimited dose of corporate funds might one day be president. Already she has what appears to be a heady stable of influential supporters: Fox News, Rupert Murdoch, Bill Kristol, Lawrence Kudlow, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. In other words, I take her prospects seriously. And, as she has chosen to be a spokesperson for, as she says, " American Main Street ," it is vital that she come out from behind her handlers and speak on the record in unscripted fashion. We deserve to be enlightened by honest insights not merely prepared comments and pre-screened questions.
Many readers didn't expect Ms. Palin to accept my offer and, so far, I've not heard a peep from her handlers (though I did get a few candid comments from some of her supporters and to them, yes, I do know who my parents are. Thanks for asking).
How to generate interest from Camp Palin? To that end, if it's a question of numbers, I'm prepared to up the ante. I originally wanted to post a challenge to the hundreds of readers who have expressed a willingness to contribute to veteran charities if this meeting of the minds came about. My thought was to match public contributions up to an additional $100,000. However, there are many logistical problems beyond my ability to address, so I'll simply double the offer to $200,000 and suggest to Ms. Palin that there are many people who will add to the total. The $200,000 minimum might well be something substantially larger.
The only change I'd like to make in the original proposal is to add one additional name to the list of potential attendees. As Ms. Palin claimed in her speech that de-regulation and lower taxes would end the financial crisis, it would be useful to invite Paul Krugman. From a recent interview with Rachel Maddow, I gather he isn't in full support of that economic analysis.
While I've not quite matched the reported $300,000 China fee, with public help we might yet reach that level and Ms. Palin won't have to travel across the world to attend. Best of all for her, the visibility and good will should be priceless. As I said before a win-win and tres cool.