After a night of primaries and special elections, scientists warn that the nation’s supply of midterm clichés has reached dangerously low levels.
“The news media and the candidates themselves are consuming these well-worn phrases at an alarming rate,” said Dr. Leonard Mackton of the JFK School of Government at Harvard University. “If the current rate of cliché usage continues unabated, there’s no way we’ll have enough old saws to go around come Election Day.”
The most striking example of this came at around midnight Eastern time, when NBC’s Andrea Mitchell said “enthusiasm gap” for the 8,478th time in two days, and the phrase had to be rushed to a local intensive care unit to be treated for exhaustion.
By three a.m., levels of “sending a message to Washington” had dropped so low that many thought the president would authorize use of the emergency cliché reserves, a move he has been reluctant to make during his administration. “The American people understand…” began President Obama by way of explanation, before that phrase collapsed in a heap from overuse.
“I want to warn the media and politicians that it’s a long way until November,” Dr. Mackton said, “but that cliché is now being carefully rationed.”