Quote: "Butterfly Effect." Name given to chaos theory by MIT meteorologist Edward Lorenz in the 1960s.
Figure of Speech: metalepsis (met ah LEP sis), the figure of remote cause.
A butterfly flapping its wings in South America can change the weather in Central Park -- a phenomenon called "sensitive dependence on initial conditions," or the Butterfly Effect. It's also an Ashton Kusher movie and the idea behind "Jurassic Park."
But it's not an original idea. Ancient rhetoricians made it a figure of speech: metalepsis (Greek for "substitution," unhelpfully). Anything credited with a remote outcome counts as a metalepsis -- say, blaming Congressional Democrats for the war in Iraq.
Snappy Answer: "In politics, it's called the Neocon Effect."