Now we’re up against the cliff

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer was discussing the coronavirus relief package legislation and noting the Republicans’ non-response.  He then uttered this nice mashup of “against the clock” (a shortage of time being the main problem) and “fall off a cliff” (suddently become less successful).  “Up against the wall” (in great difficulty) might also be in the mix, but given the context of time running out, “against the clock” is probably what the speaker had in mind.  Also, “clock” and “cliff” sound similar.  I think “cliffhanger” (situation where the outcome is suspenseful or uncertain) must have been on Schumer’s mind as well.  Here is the context:

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said, noting that he and Speaker Nancy Pelosi urged Republicans to come to the table three weeks ago but neverreceived a response.“Nothing, now we’re up against the cliff.”

Kudos to Mike Kovacs for hearing this one and immediately reporting it to Malaphor Central.


They are kicking the can down the table

Similar to the last post, this is another “kick the can down the road” malaphor.  Chuck Schumer, Senate Minority Leader, said this one on CNN.  He was explaining why he did not want to pass a CR.  This is a mashup of “kick the can down the road” (to postpone or defer an action) and I think “come to the table”(to meet to negotiate a particular issue or situation).  My guess is that Schumer combined these two thoughts as he is currently negotiating a deal to stop the government shutdown.  New Yorkers talk faster than their thoughts.  A big thanks to Beatrice Zablocki for hearing this one.

It’s like putting the wolf in charge of the hen house

This was uttered by Chuck Schumer when discussing Trump’s nominee, Tom Marino, as Drug Czar.  Schumer said Marino’s confirmation would be “like putting the wolf in charge of the hen house”.

This is a mashup of “the fox guarding the hen house” (assigning the duty of guarding valuable information or resources to someone who is likely to exploit that opportunity) and “a wolf in sheep’s clothing” (a person or thing that appears harmless but is actually dangerous).  Now certainly you wouldn’t want a wolf in charge of the hen house either, but the correct idiom only indicts the fox.  A big thanks to Steve Grieme for catching this one and sending it on.