Rachel Maddow said this one when she was describing Don McGahn’s cooperation with the Special Counsel in an effort to avoid John Dean’s fate. Basically she was saying that McGahn was not the apparent hero he seems because of his apparently selfless cooperation, and that there were a few “lumps in the ointment.” This is a mashup of “lumps in the gravy” (problems or stumbling blocks) and “fly in the ointment” (flaw that detracts from something positive) l up of Lumps in the gravy, flies in the ointment. “Take (one’s) lumps” (to accept the punishment one deserves) might also be in the mix (or should I say gravy?). And then again, maybe Rachel was thinking of Frank Zappa…..
A big thanks to “my ol’ pal” Beatrice Zablocki for hearing this one and sending it in!
Representative Steve Cohen (D – TN) was talking on MSNBC about the New York Times report that White House counsel Don McGahn has been cooperating with the Mueller investigation team for the past year. Cohen was speculating that McGahn felt at risk of Trump using him as a fall guy in the obstruction of justice probe, and so uttered this beauty. It is a mashup of “thrown to the wolves” (to sacrifice someone in order to protect others) and “swimming (or sleeping) with the fishes” (a gangster cliche meaning to be murdered). Both idioms refer to a person who gets hurt; hence, the mix up. Cohen may also have been thinking about the mafia way of doing business and the White House way of doing business. A big thanks to chief malaphor hunter Mike Kovacs for hearing this one and sending it in.