Quote: “If the current Congress had been called on to intervene in the case of Mr. Allen, it would probably have tried to legalize shoplifting.” New York Times editorial
Figure of Speech: hyperbole (hy-PER-bo-lee), the figure of exaggeration.
Hyperbole (“toss over”) is an amazing, incredible figure. Aristotle endorsed it, Cicero abused it, Webster hit it out of the park. In these hyperbolic times, however, it’s usually less effective than more subtle figures; the litotes, for instance.
“Mr. Allen” is Claude Allen, the president’s former domestic policy advisor, who resigned after stores accused him of scamming them for refunds. Doin’ a heckuva job, Claudie! Just the sort of guy the president would nominate for the federal Appeals Court. Which Bush did (before the shoplifting, presumably). This rampant cronyism goes unchecked by Congress; hence the Times’s hyperbole.
At least, we like to think it’s a hyperbole.
Snappy Answer: “Well, he wouldn’t be one of those activist judges.”