Ask any politician a simple, straightforward question and you’ll mostly get non-answers or lies. Example:
Interviewer: Senator, how much is two plus two?
Senator #1: I’m glad you asked that, and speaking of two, there should be only two political parties in this country.
Senator #2: Well, it’s clear that hardworking, ordinary Americans want to know the same thing.
Senator#3: I can’t speak for my colleagues across the aisle but, as I’ve said in the past, we’ll have to wait and see.
We hear this answer avoidance so often that it even has a name:
When politicians are interviewed, and at press conferences, during campaign debates, in TV ads – in other words, nearly every time they opens their mouths…
Of course I’m not the only one who’s noticed – the Internet has lots of articles on this technique, including this succinct piece:
A first-grader will give you a simple answer to “How much is two plus two?” They’ll say, “Four.”
So how do those straightforward kids grow up to be adults who prevaricate, dissimulate, obfuscate, or just outright lie every time they’re in front of a microphone?
Here’s my simple, straightforward answer:
(The “P” is silent.)
A top-secret institution, PSOLNA teaches neophyte politicians to look straight at a questioner or TV camera and do a verbal tap dance that leaves the listeners/readers wondering, “Huh?”
And PSOLNA isn’t just a few meager weeks or months of training; this is a full-on, multi-year course that offers a number of degrees including:
- Bachelor’s of Perfect Prevarication
- Master’s of Truthfully Lying
- PhD in Spinning, Dodging and Evading
It’s easy to tell when a politician has graduated from PSOLNA:
Interviewer: Congresswoman, what’s your position on the opioid crises?
Non-Graduate of PSOLNA: This morning I’m introducing a bill that will provide the funding to address this national epidemic.
Interviewer: Congresswoman, you recently said that when it comes to affordable health care, you’re neither for nor against it. Can you clarify?
Graduate of PSOLNA: That comment was taken out of context. Next question?
And PSOLNA isn’t just for elected officials – appointees, nominees and employees are proud PSOLNA graduates, too:
Reporter: But you’re the Press Secretary, can’t you just answer “Yes” or “No”?
Press Secretary: It’s more than a matter of “can’t” or “can,” it’s a threat to our national security. If you ask that again, the guards will escort you out of here.
Reporter: Your Honor, you’re up for a position on the 9th District Court of Appeals – how can you be certain of not bringing your own biases into the courtroom?
Judge: “Certain” is such an uncertain word. Existentially, how can we be certain of anything, except the uncertainty of how the other party is addressing our immigration issues?
Reporter: Sir, you’re not the first nominee the president has considered for this Cabinet position. What are your thoughts on that?
Cabinet Nominee: I think my thoughts are my thoughts as are your thoughts, and it’s incumbent upon all of us to agree that the American people’s minds are a wonderful thing.
But wait! If you, an ordinary, unimportant American citizen have found yourself thinking, “That politician sure knows how to pivot. I wish I could do that!”
NOW you can!
For the first time ever, PSOLNA is no longer limiting this top-secret training to politicians. PSOLNA is opening its doors to the public so you, too, can learn to Pivot Like a Pro:
Restaurant Patron: Waiter, what kind of cheese is on the pizza?
You: That’s an interesting question, and could have important repercussions regarding the NAFTA dairy guidelines between the U.S. and Canada, especially the issue of ultrafiltered milk.
Co-Worker: Beth, do you have those reports printed for our two o’clock meeting?
You: The average person wouldn’t pick up on this, but I’m sensitive to what you’re asking, and are you aware that paper comes from trees, and deforestation is threatening both our ecosystems and our children’s futures?
Doctor: Sam, the last time we met I asked you to start exercising – why haven’t you done that?
You: With all due respect, the issue isn’t exercise but the larger issue of lifestyle, and whether or not we average Americans are going to see benefits from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.
Now it won’t just be politicians who are experts at prevaricating, dissimulating, and obfuscating – you can be, too!