Scott Adams, best known as the (now-canceled) creator of the comic strip DILBERT and also a bestselling author, is also a trained hypnotist and an expert in persuasion. Although the Democrats in Congress were lying their heads off during the first day of the impeachment inquiry --- and no doubt will continue to do so --- he warns that at least some of them were using some very effective persuasion techniques that, unfortunately, work like a charm on uninformed people. That’s what we’re up against. This is excerpted from his Friday podcast:
“Are you watching the impeachment inquiry? [It’s] a little laboratory where you can learn about persuasion and what’s wrong with the government, and you can see every example of everything. Now, AOC had her ‘moment’ where she argued passionately against the impeachment inquiry and the thought that Joe Biden had done anything wrong. (under his breath: ‘Oh my God…’) [Her performance] is a master class in persuasion. So her persuasion game is super-strong…
“...First of all, the whole situation around the Bidens is too complicated for 95 percent of voters. So [they’ll] never know what is actually happening. So in that situation, who is the best persuader wins. They can be completely divorced from reality; they just have to persuade.
“So given that the public has no idea what really happened with the Biden situation, she, first of all, acts very confident. The confidence itself is part of the persuasion. And I watched her ask a witness questions, and then act as though the answer to the question proved her point, when it didn’t even come close. But because the people watching it can’t tell the difference, she made it look like they proved her point…
“...When you watch her asking questions, the assumption that you have is that those questions ever made sense, or that the answer is in the right context. It was actually just complete blah-blah-blah that her mannerisms sold as proving her point. It was kind of a genius move; it was really good. There was no connection to facts or process. She just got somebody to say ‘yes’ and ‘no,’ and then sold it to the public as though she had just won a case. And none of it was even connected, like, to a case, just the most random bunch of (bleep). It was brilliant, really brilliant.”
Have to say, this is probably the first time we’ve ever seen the words “genius” and “brilliant” applied to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. She obviously had the words in front of her at the table while saying this, and she’s been coached in the art of selling something that’s (bleep) but that she doesn’t even know is (bleep). But, yes, what she did will play well with the uninformed and/or already brainwashed.
We’d also add that to better assess her natural skill at this, it helps to watch those Democrats who were trying the same technique but much less successfully. New York Rep. Dan Goldman’s attempt to feign righteous indignation while trying to rough-up calm-and-cool legal professor Jonathan Turley landed like an anvil and only succeeded in making him look even more ridiculous than he already did. Surely by now his party has trotted him out enough times to know that he NEVER makes his side look better.
Illinois Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi went the furthest of all, misstating and (surely) deliberately lying about Turley’s previous statements in other cases. Trying to discredit one of the most even-handed legal analysts you’ll ever see, he waved around papers like Sen. Joe McCarthy in the 1950s, suggesting that Turley had defended polygamy and had defended Tom Green, a polygamist who was convicted of child rape. (By the way, isn’t it interesting that the party that still talks about the blacklist of the 1950s is making blacklists of its own in the 2020s? They say that those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it, but in this case, the Democrats are remembering the past and STILL repeating it.)
Anyway, when Turley tried to correct this smear and explain why it was untrue, the congressman wouldn’t let him speak. Krishnamoorthi quickly left the floor once his time had ended, leaving Turley to continue as a witness. It took 30 minutes for Turley to be given the chance to correct the record. Later that day, Turley wrote a column about the toxic environment currently dominating our halls of power for the DAILY BEAST (where he most definitely was not preaching to the choir). This was “one more sorry sordid moment in our politics of personal destruction,” he wrote. It’s a definite must-read...
So, AOC exhibits “genius” simply because she’s better at lying than the others because she senses or has been advised when she’s approaching a line she’s better off not crossing? They’re ALL lying, and we all better wake up to the tactics, especially when they’re being used more skillfully.
Another tactic pointed out by Adams (also by us, last Friday) was the constant criticism of the hearing over not presenting “fact witnesses.”
“But did that matter?” Adams asked. “No. The right question was, ‘Does it matter…’ And the answer would’ve been, ‘No, not for the inquiry. For the inquiry...we can show you the documents, and the documents serve as the evidence. That’s why we’re here...None of it matters; it’s not relevant to the inquiry.’” [Aside: that’s what we’ve been saying nonstop, both before the hearing and after.]
“It’s just something that sounds good, if you didn’t know anything about how anything works. But it sounded really good...really persuasive.”
And with that, Adams was done with the topic. It would’ve been nice for him to go on to talk about how else Republicans can counter this constant gaslighting. Are we going to let a partisan idiot like AOC (and the media) run over us when we have mounting evidence on our side?
Later in his podcast, Adams addressed the use by Democrats of the term “MAGA extremist.” He thinks this was coined by someone who, if not a hypnotist, is particularly well-versed in persuasion skills. He sees this as “weaponizing the government against ordinary voters.” MAGA is simply make-America-great-again, ordinary conservative thinking, while extremist is...extremist. They are two different things. But by constantly putting them together, he makes them synonymous.
“What would be an appropriate thing that you could do with an extremist?” he asked, given that an extremist is “probably dangerous.” So “the legal system has to deal with extremists.” Now, they’ve found a way to “slime the word MAGA.” Anyone who’s MAGA “is part of the extremist framing,” so that “pretty soon, MAGA and extremist will sound like the same thing.”
“That’s called...hypnosis.” He thinks a professional came up with this, not just a politician. “It’s too good,” he said. He called this weaponized persuasion because “it can get somebody killed.”
“So, basically,” he said, “it’s giving permission for violence against, and legal action against, ordinary Republicans.” Adams is not one to easily invoke Hitler’s name, but he likened this to what Hitler was doing with the Jews, “where you [gradually] move the country toward that hatred.”
He suggested the MAGA brand be changed to something specific such as “Anti-Corruption.” The reason? “They’re going against a man who’s corrupt.”
We thought of something a little catchier: “MAGA ‘Trumps’ Corruption.” It ties the familiar slogan, as well as Trump’s name, to fighting corruption. And running the rats out of the government has got to be THE key issue in ‘24.
On Sunday, Adams did point out something Trump posted on Truth Social that he thought was really effective: “Crooked Joe Biden has three major problems, and all of them start with the letter ‘I’ --- inflation, immigration and incompetence.”
“Oh, that’s...good,” he said with respect. “Good stuff, persuasion-wise.” It also happens to be true.
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