When a Nation Forgets Its Own Clichés (‘Drudge Up’ Edition)

From our That’s Just Sad desk

Every now and again the headscratching staff chronicles the mangled phrases of the differently clichéd among us and, man, they are legion.

So here’s another roll call, dating back 12 months.

• Last August, WBZ reported that a local soldier had “paid the ultimate sacrifice” in Iraq. Sadly, he either made the ultimate sacrifice or paid the ultimate price. Sadly.

• On a PBS Newshour segment last September about Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s exit from the GOP presidential primary, anchor Gwen Ifill asked a chin-stroker, “Was it politics, was it money, or was it . . . the tail . . . chasing the elephant?”

Roll your own here: Was it the tail wagging the elephant or the elephant chasing its tail? Either way, it feels kind of awkward.

• On NPR’s All Things Considered last September, New York Times op-ed columnist David Brooks said of eventual GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump “the bubble has come out of his balloon.”

Memo to David Brooks: Neither has Trump’s bubble burst, nor has the air come out of his balloon.  At least not yet.

•  In Politico last September, a “prominent swing-state DNC [Democratic National Committee] member” downplayed any prospect of a surge in presidential primary debates for former Maryland governor and short-lived Democratic presidential hopeful Martin O’Malley.

“There’s not a hue and cry for more debates . . . I have not heard neither hide nor hair since [O’Malley’s speech in] Minneapolis.”

Actually, he would have seen neither hide nor hair, but why get technical about it.

• Also on the PBS Newshour – this time in December – a story about floods in the Midwest had an observer saying “hands off to the community for dealing with a tough situation.” Hats, also, off to the community, yes? Give them a hand.

• From Politico’s 2016 Blast in January: “Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon, asked on CNN’s ‘New Day’ whether the email reports were taking a toll on Clinton, remarked, ‘No, I think that Republicans are continuing to try to trumpet up and resurface these allegations for the purposes of hurting her campaign.'”

Take your pick, Mr. Fallon: The Republicans were continuing to either trumpet the allegations or trump them up.  Then again, in politics you can often have it both ways.

• From an NPR piece last March about a tax-dodger who declared himself a “sovereign citizen” of California and set up a “sovereign trust” to avoid paying taxes (to no avail in the end): “As he conceded, eventually ‘you have buckle up to the bar and pay your taxes.'”

Sorry, sir – you either belly up to the bar, or you buckle down and pay your taxes, sovereign citizen or no.

• Talking about Jon Stewart commenting on Election 2016, HBO chief Richard Plepler told the Boston Globe’s Matthew Gilbert this past May, “I think he’s clamoring at the bit to do something that he knows is going to stand out.”

Now, we don’t personally know Jon Stewart, but we’re guessing that he’s either clamoring to do something, or champing/chomping at the bit to do it. Just guessing.

• Also in May, MediaPost featured this headline: Clinton Edges Out Win In Kentucky, Sanders Picks Up Oregon.

Not to get technical about it, but Hillary Clinton either eked out a win or edged Bernie Sanders. Whichever, she beat him.

• From a Politico piece in June about former Secretary of State James Baker’s reaction to the possibility of a Donald Trump presidency:

“I won’t get my panties in a wedge because of what I am hearing from the political candidates,” said Baker, who met with Trump in Washington last month.

As far as the hardsearching staff can tell, various and sundry people get their panties in a wad, or get their panties in a bunch, but only James Baker gets them in a wedge.

• Brad Reed’s Raw Story piece earlier this month, headlined “Here are the top 7 times Katrina Pierson mutilated logic and melted fact checkers’ brains,” included this doozie from Donald Trump’s psychedelic spokeswoman:

1.) Pierson says that America wasn’t even in Afghanistan until Obama’s presidency.

Pierson drew hackles from the entire internet last week when she declared that, “We weren’t even in Afghanistan by this time, Barack Obama went into Afghanistan, creating another problem.”

In the real world, of course, you either raise hackles or draw heckles. Then again, Katrina Pierson doesn’t live in the real world.

• At Mediaite last week, there was a post about comedian Eric Andre that ended this way: “Stick around until the end to hear him drudge up some old Bill O’Reilly drama too . . . ”

We think that should actually be dredge up, but maybe not.

• In a Boston Globe piece last week about racial tensions at a Malden senior center over – of all things – ping pong, local city councilor Debbie DeMaria said, “I think for the old guard, some of them have their noses a little broken: ‘What are you doing, this is my community.’”

That used to be noses out of joint, but maybe things have changed in Malden.

• During the August 25 edition of ABC’s Powerhouse Politics podcast, uber-Trumpkin Ann Coulter (author of In Trump We Trust) said this after Trump dumped his hardline stance on illegal immigration: “Donald Trump is hands and shoulders better than any other Republican on immigration.”

Surely Ms. Coulter meant either hands-down better or head and shoulders above, but the hands thing is pretty funny.

And yet – as Trump himself would say – SAD!

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