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How to Backpedal, Spin & Dodge

When circumstances force you to do a complete about-face, find a way to disguise your duplicity.


  • Step 1: Brazen it out No matter how blatant your flip-flop, flatly deny that there’s any conflict between what you said or did then and your position now.
  • TIP: Never, ever admit wrongdoing or, worse, lying.
  • Step 2: Use the "taken out of context" excuse If pressed, explain indignantly that your words or actions were 'taken out of context.'
  • Step 3: Be audacious! Be audacious! Explain your flip-flopping with an authoritative, 'I was for it before I was against it'—as if changing your mind was the result of measured thinking, not political expediency or plain indecisiveness.
  • Step 4: Use double-talk Use nonsensical double-talk to explain that you didn’t contradict yourself. 'Surely everyone can consider that that might something that we haven’t, which is to say misunderstanding that of course might never have occurred.' See?
  • Step 5: Argue that times have changed Argue that you have remained steadfast—sadly, it’s the times that have changed.
  • Step 6: Fight fire with fire Someone has dared to point out your inconsistencies? Don’t waste your time defending yourself – spend it on the offense instead, attacking your accuser’s integrity.
  • Step 7: Cite extenuating circumstances Cite an extenuating circumstance. You were distracted, tired, tricked, sick, upset, low on blood sugar, high on cold medicine.
  • Step 8: Split hairs Further muddy the waters by splitting semantic hairs—like mulling over what the meaning of 'is' is.
  • TIP: Distance yourself from responsibility by using the passive voice, like 'mistakes were made,' instead of 'I made a mistake.'
  • Step 9: Blame your gaffe on not having the facts Put some of the blame for your gaffe on not having all the facts. Blame someone for not providing you with those facts—or blame the fact themselves.
  • Step 10: Keep backpedaling Continue to backpedal, spin, and dodge until a new scandal takes center stage.
  • FACT: In Abraham Lincoln’s 1860 run for the presidency, he promised to allow slavery in states where it already existed.

You Will Need

  • Brazenness
  • Some double-talk
  • Extenuating circumstances
  • Hairs to split
  • The passive voice
  • A scapegoat

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