Now You See It…Now You Don’t! Watching Out For Politician’s Tricks in 2012

The political season has begun and politicians have started their campaign of tactical tricks to seduce, scare, and mislead or confuse us into providing support and votes for them. The tricks they use result in us making choices with little factual information and determining those facts takes time that most of us do not have in our busy world. We hold politicians in low esteem because in our “gut” we know we are being conned by them. Understanding a few of the many tricks career politicians play can help us listen more carefully and make informed decisions.

There are many tricks used by politicians – some obvious such as “Blame game,” “Wedge game,” “Free money games,” “Kick the can games,” and “Isn’t it awful game.” Others are subtle such as the “Adversary truth game,” “Religious twists games,” “Risk aversion and outrage games” and “Inflation and progressive taxation (cash cow) game.”

But the top game that uses all other games is the “Tell them what they want to hear game.” Career politicians listen carefully to their constituents and financial supporters so they can formulate their “what they want to hear” speeches. This top game is very effective because optimistically telling us what we want to hear independent of the whole truth instills hope and attracts our votes. We later discover we were not provided key facts needed for making good a decision.

A typical politician’s “what they want to hear” speech uses “blame” and “wedges” to divert attention away from themselves, divide voters into opposing blocks, and justify these “blame and wedge” games with “it’s awful” examples. Ideally they wish to evoke fear and outrage in some voters. They also use the lawyer “adversary truth principle” wherein it is acceptable to present less than the whole truth or even lies, and let the opposition provide a counter response. All of these tricks divide to conquer us rather than unite us as a nation.

These speeches always promise “free money” for popular voter causes (i.e., education, health care, various entitlements, and local issues). The source of the free money, if mentioned at all, is to be provided by government (our money), businesses, or from whomever they have demonized as part of their wedges like the rich. The free money impact on jobs or our nation’s longer-term viability is not mentioned. Also not mentioned are “free money” sources such as “kicking the can” so someone else pays later, and how our religious beliefs about charity and guilt are exploited to justify coveting and stealing from some to give to others. In recent years, through our federal, state and local increasing debt accumulation, our career politicians have been using these tricks to steal from our young to provide the “free money” to garner votes from their elders — a gross violation of our young citizens’ civil rights.

Numbers and other facts in these speeches are intentionally manipulated to confuse and mislead us. The political dialogue topic of taxing the “rich” by eliminating the Bush tax break for those citizens making over $200,000 per year shows how facts are manipulated to confuse and mislead us. President Obama has stated in his speeches that eliminating the Bush tax breaks for the wealthy would reduce the deficit by $1.0 trillion dollars and implies these taxes would “fix” our deficit problem. The fact is his number is correct if added up over twelve years, but this is about $80 billion per year or only about 5.5 percent of the 2011 and future projected annual deficits. Where is the other 94.5 percent of the money to pay the deficit coming from?

This one simple manipulation example “blames” the deficit on Bush, drives a “wedge” between the rich and poor hoping to “outrage” the majority of us voters making less, allows demonization of a few “awful” super wealthy folks making millions each year, and sounds like a source of “free money” to those of us making less. History shows that the average income in the U.S. has increased 50 percent per decade since the 1940’s. Thus, over time this proposal allows stealing money earned by a large ever-increasing group of individuals and small business owners who have invested hard work in an education and/or are taking risks, and are at or near the $200,000 income threshold. Perhaps we should increase the taxes on the rich, but if so we should be mindful it will take money away from the job creating private sector to cover the mistakes of our career politicians.

What can and should we citizens do? In politics power and greed trumps ethics, and hope and optimism trumps telling the whole – often pessimistic – truth. But we can force changes by gaining knowledge of how career politicians’ con us into accepting many bad policies, listening for their tricks whenever a politician speaks or a political ad is presented, and spending a little time searching the web for facts. Then ask your politician tough questions and vote accordingly. Also, realize if we each educated two people per week and they continued the chain, we can reach every U.S. citizen in about 29 weeks. Let’s act before we lose our nation as envisioned by our founders as we have known it. We owe our young citizens and future voters an inheritance that offers them opportunities similar to what we have been given.

Be Sociable, Share!


Dr. Cleland’s Ph.D. is from Purdue University where he specialized in complex systems theory. His technical training and experiences includes analyses of many types of systems, involvement with numerous federal, state, and local agencies, and management of a broad set of set of professionals, services, and trades people. He has managed scientists, engineers, policemen, firefighters, environment, health, safety and emergency planning experts, building trades and maintenance crafts personnel, and others.

One Response to “Now You See It…Now You Don’t! Watching Out For Politician’s Tricks in 2012”

Leave a Reply

Connect with S.O.S.

Get Updates via Email

Enter your email address to receive updates whenever new content is added.


September 2011
« May   Nov »