Bob Murphy’s confident that Ron Paul will have a lasting political legacy.  I’m not.  He proposed a bet, I counter-offered, and we haggled.  Bob reproduces our haggling with permission.  My offer #1:

Right now there are roughly zero members of Congress that openly call
themselves followers of Perot. Maybe a few, but none that I’ve ever
heard of. I’ll take your 4:1 odds that in twenty years there are no
more than 4 members of Congress (1% of the body) that openly call
themselves followers of Paul.

Bob demurs:

This is a hard thing to measure objectively. E.g. suppose we were trying
to assess whether Paul Ryan is a “follower of Rand.” We could both make
a decent case, since there are obvious things saying he is (like
handing out her book) but then recently I think he threw her under the
bus when trying to appeal to Christians. Politicians aren’t going to
want to sound like dupes so nobody is going to actually say, “I am a
follower of Ron Paul.” What if someone says, “I think Ron Paul did the
country a great service by raising the issue of Fed secrecy.” Do I win
or you on that politician?

My suggestion:

The simplest route is just to agree on an arbitrator likely to be alive in 20 years. Brian Doherty is the obvious choice.

Bob’s not satisfied with the subjectivity:

[I]f we make it something that is a judgment call, the wager isn’t
definitive. I mean, suppose Doherty agrees that you won. That won’t make
a lick of difference to Ron Paul fans; they will say Doherty is an

My alternative:

How about something like “Within 20 (or even 10) years, the NYT, WSJ, or
Washington Post will run two news articles explicitly about ‘elected
politicians influenced by Ron Paul'”? It’s got to be plural – someone
newsworthy in addition to Rand Paul.

Bob still finds this too subjective:

I’m just thinking that if I lose, the true fans will say, “It’s a conspiracy from the mainstream media.”

Bob crowdsourced to his commenters for bet ideas, but isn’t too thrilled with their suggestions either:

Well, Bryan was right about one thing. In a part of our email
exchange I didn’t reproduce, I had asked him to post this stuff on
EconLog and he said he wasn’t opposed to it, but thought crowd-sourcing
wouldn’t help. He was right.

(BTW I appreciate the 2 or 3 legitimate suggestions some of you made,
it’s just that Bryan says he doesn’t want to measure mere fandom.)

Can EconLog readers do better?  We’re still open to suggestions.