Quote: “Casey’s campaign style was sleep apnea — periods of breathless gasping interrupted by occasional incoherent snorts.” Time’s Joe Klein on Bob Casey beating Rick Santorum for the U.S. Senate.
Figure of Speech: metaphor (MET-a-phor), the image swap. From the Greek, meaning “carry beyond.”
Congratulations, Democrats, but don’t let it go to your heads. You didn’t win it; the Republicans lost it. Columnist Joe Klein imposes a hilarious metaphor on one such lucky candidate, creating a vivid picture of a snoring politician — a rhetorical special effect that rhetoric calls enargeia. (The “snort” is another figure, the onomatopoeia. )
Metaphor is king of tropes — figures that swap one thing for another. (The other three major tropes, according to the great rhetorician Kenneth Burke, are metonymy, synecdoche, and irony.) Aristotle said that the metaphor combines two perspectives to “take hold of something fresh.” Even apes seem to coin it; an orangutan named Chantek uses American Sign Language to call ketchup “tomato toothpaste.”
Snappy Answer: “Then again, political reality seems like a nightmare.”