Quote: “Washington today is a place where good ideas go to die.” Barack Obama.
Figure of Speech: snowclone (SNOW-clone), the retrofitted cliché. From the old saw about Eskimos knowing 200 words for snow. First proposed on the blog agoraphilia and promoted on the highly influential Language Log.
Hillary says she offers solutions, not speeches. Barack fires back a neatly packed snowclone, a figure that takes an overused expression and applies it to something new. A Google search produces a whole pile of snowclones: “where cathedrals go to die,” “where computers go to die,” even “where continents go to die. (The original expression, “where elephants go to die,” refers to the myth that the beasts had a secret place to rest in peace.)
Obama’s snowclone works for him politically, though. While Hillary tries to label Barack as a mere windbag, he makes her look like a Washington insider and a thrill-killing pessimist.
Snappy Answer: “They must be pretty sick, huh?”