During most of the recent “debates” about (you name it) health care, Russia, size of crowds, vote counts – one side says one thing and the other side denies or refutes or obfuscates. Then it just boils down to a pissing contest whose takeaway is, for most people, “a pox on both your houses.” And it gets filed away in most minds as the same-old same-old political infighting, forgotten after an hour or so.
But what if one side says to the other, “You just said X; I said Y. not only do I believe that Y is correct and X is wrong, but I’m willing to back up my belief with money. I will pledge $Z to your favorite charity if I’m proved wrong; are you willing to pledge the same amount to my favorite charity if I’m right?”
Not only does this call the liar’s bluff and bluster, it also increases the length of time that the supposed controversy is in front of the public. “Why isn’t Congressperson PR (for example) willing to put his money where his mouth is?”