The inmates are going to be running this ship

Senator Jon Tester (D-Mont) was talking about McConnell’s demand that the Democrats promise to keep the filibuster intact. Tester noted that the Democrats are now in the majority and should not accede to McConnell’s demand. Here is the quote:

“Chuck Schumer is the majority leader and he should be treated like majority leader. We can get sh** done around here and we ought to be focused on getting stuff done,” said Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.). “If we don’t, the inmates are going to be running this ship.”

https://www.politico.com/news/2021/01/21/democrats-mcconnell-filibuster-460967

This is a mashup of “the inmates are running the asylum” (the people least capable of running an organization are now in charge) and I believe “rats leaving/deserting a sinking ship” (the least loyal people will be the first to abandon a project). My guess is that Tester thought of Republicans and then associated them with rats, activating this nice malaphor.


The Capitol was ground central

D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine was talking about the insurrection on Good Morning America. Here’s the quote:

“Clearly, the Capitol was ground central in the mob’s behavior. Donald Trump Jr, Rudy Giuliani, even the president were calling on supporters and hate groups to go to the Capitol, and in Rudy’s words, ‘exercise combat justice,'” said Racine. “We’re going to investigate not only the mob, but those who incited the violence.”

https://abc7chicago.com/trump-allies-helped-plan-promote-rally-that-led-to-capitol-attack/9477293/

This is a mashup of “ground zero” (the site of any disaster) and “grand central station” (a place that is very busy or chaotic). This conflation results in a phrase that describes a chaotic place of disaster, certainly an apt description of what happened in the U.S. Capitol. Also a nice coffee shop! A big thanks to Linda Bernstein who caught this one and sent it in!


Trump led us down the tubes

This beauty was seen on a Facebook comment, discussing Trump supporters storming the United States Capitol. It is a conflation of “going down the tubes” (to become much worse) and I think, given the context, “lead (someone) down the garden path” (to deceive or mislead someone). The mashup takes on a whole new meaning, and describes the situation perfectly. Interestingly, I posted a previous malaphor that Trump uttered and is a close one: “Clinton is selling them down the tubes”. See https://malaphors.com/2016/08/28/clinton-is-selling-them-down-the-tubes/

A big thank you to David Stephens for spotting this one and sending it in!


He’s thrown Mitch McConnell out of the bus

Douglas Brinkley, professor of history, Rice University, was being interviewed on CNN. He was asked what he thought Trump was doing to the Republican Party. Brinkley responded by saying Trump was dividing  the Republican Party and “ he’s thrown Mitch McConnell out of the bus”. This is a mashup of “throw (someone) under the bus” (avoid blame by allowing someone else to take responsibility) and “go out (of) the window” (discard or toss a plan or way of thinking). “Under” and “out of” are the culprits here. The phrase “throw (someone) under the bus” has been mashed up a lot. See, for example, other variants on the website such as “he can drink anybody under the bus” – https://malaphors.com/2018/08/29/he-can-drink-anybody-under-the-bus/ and “Trump is not going to throw Paul Ryan over the bus” https://malaphors.com/2017/04/05/trump-is-not-going-to-throw-paul-ryan-over-the-bus/. By the way, he did. A big thanks to Brenda Hubbard for hearing this one!


Press the envelope

Kurt Warner on NFL Network’s Saturday Night Football uttered this mashup. It is a congruent conflation of “press the issue” and “push the envelope”, both meaning to exceed the test the limits of something. “Press” and “push” are similar in sound and meaning, so I think that’s the culprit here. A big thanks to timmyk for hearing this one and sending it in.


Republicans didn’t blink twice

From Robert Reich: “Republicans didn’t blink twice when they handed out $6.3 billion in tax breaks to their wealthy corporate backers, but when it came to getting direct relief to struggling Americans $600 was the best they could do. Their priorities couldn’t be clearer.” https://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/12/25/how-richest-1-percent-came-out-big-winners-covid-relief-bill

This is a mashup of “did not blink” (to not show any shock or surprise) and “not think twice” (act or do something without hesitating). “Blink” and “think” rhyme, contributing to this mental hiccup. A tip of the hat to Barry Eigen for spotting this subtle one.


He’s paid his time

Ali Velshi on MSNBC was talking about pardons, and those who should be pardoned. He then uttered this nice congruent conflation of “done (one’s) time” and “paid (one’s) dues/debts”, both meaning to have served a sentence. A tip of the Santa hat to Frank King for hearing this one and sending it in.


You’re a one-horse pony

Fox News’ Peter Doocy asked President-elect a question : “Mr. President-elect, do you still think that stories about your son Hunter were Russian disinformation?” Biden responded, “Yes, yes and yes. God love you, man. You’re a one-horse pony, I tell ya.” Here’s the exchange:

https://www.rawstory.com/biden-fires-back-at-fox/?fbclid=IwAR1k3eNzyPxvRRifylrbY7UanCe9H4krhYI_Yb5xmCXlhz42sYRzg7CWd4A

This is a great mashup of “one-trick pony” (someone who is limited to one talent or repeats the same thing) and “one-horse town” (small, unimportant place). Both have the word “one” in them and of course are tied with the equestrian theme. Since this was uttered just a few days before Christmas, the song “Jingle Bells” and “a one-horse open sleigh” might have been on the President-elect’s mind. A tip of the Santa toque to Bruce Ryan who spotted this one first. Others who sent this one in include Ron MacDonald, nutshell_blogger, Robert McLaughlin (via Steve Grieme) and Fred Martin. They are all certainly not one-horse ponies!


They turned up the notch

Stephen Bardo, former NBA star and now basketball analyst for Fox Sports One, was commenting at the end of the Indiana/Butler basketball game how Indiana came back strong in the second half. This is a mashup of “turn up the heat” and “take it up a notch”, both meaning to do something with more determination or intensity. This is a classic congruent conflation, mixing two similar meaning idioms together. They tend to be subtle and therefore a little more difficult to spot. Kudos to Bruce Ryan for hearing this one and calling it in.


All that and a bowl of chips

Al Sharpton said this one on MSNBC’s Morning Joe. It is a nice mashup of “all that and a bag of chips” (something very special) and “bowl of cherries” (very pleasant, wonderful). This one is close to a congruent conflation as both idioms refer to something positive. Sharpton might have been thinking about that ubiquitous bowl of potato or tortilla chips parked on the cocktail table for Sunday football.

The phrase “all that and a bag of chips” appears to be new slang, with origins perhaps as recent as the 90s. The phrase is credited to Subway, where initially a bag of chips was included in the price, so you got “all that and a bag of chips.” A big shout out to Mike Kovacs who heard this one and texted it in.