Quote: “Flying Lincoln bedroom.” Minority Whip Roy Blunt, in the Washington Times.
Figure of Speech: auxesis (aux-EE-sis), the exaggeration label. From the Greek, meaning “increase.”
Post-911 security rules require that government big shots such as Cabinet secretaries travel by military plane. Which was no big deal until Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi requested a jet that could fly coast to coast without refueling. The plane in question, a C-40, includes a “distinguished visitor compartment with sleep accommodations,” as the Pentagon puts it.
The Republicans smelled a juicy rhetorical rat, and they pounced. “Pelosi One,” eponymmed Patrick McHenry, a Republican Congressman from North Carolina. Roy Blunt’s rhetoric flew even higher with an auxesis that launched the Lincoln Bedroom — a dowdy White House guest room where, not coincidentally, President Clinton put up rich donors.
It’s a lovely auxesis, an irresistible figure of speech that gives something a name out of proportion to its nature. The figure’s cleverness provides the spoonful of sugar that makes the hyperbole go down.
But no auxesis can take the sting from the real issue: under new House rules, other members must use commercial airlines like the rest of us. And what’s the point of serving the People if you have to actually sit with them?
Snappy Answer: “Yeah, taxpayers shouldn’t foot the bill. Lobbyists should.”