Quote: “The danger for Bush is if McCain and Graham say we don’t like it, that is pretty much a get-out-of-jail-free card for the Democrats.” Cliff May, president of the conservative Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, in the L.A. Times.
Figure of Speech: antonomasia (an-to-no-MAY-sia), the name swap. From the Greek, meaning “to name instead.”
The president wants Congress to let the administration try suspected terrorists in restricted military tribunals. The trials would allow evidence extracted by “coercion,” a.k.a. Torture Lite. And classified material could be used without the knowledge of the accused. The White House had tried this before without asking Congress, but the Supremes shot them down; something to do with the Constitution or whatever.
This time, three Republican senators — war hero John McCain, former military lawyer Lindsay Graham, and former secretary of the Navy John Warner — want the tribunals to skip the torture stuff and allow the accused to see evidence.
These heavies give the doves a license to peck — or, as Cliff May puts it, a get-out-of-jail-free card. That’s an antonomasia, a figure that substitutes a proper name for a description or vice versa: You’re no Jack Kennedy for “You’re no great statesman.” Our Lord and Savior for Jesus. So how does a Monopoly card make an antonomasia? Figaro figures it’s close enough to a proper name, being unique to a game that, if played in Guantanamo, would constitute a form of torture.
Snappy Answer: “The Dems will still never pass Go.”