[Ads-l] OOPS! here is corrected copy for circular firing squad

David K. Barnhart dbarnhart at HIGHLANDS.COM
Fri Jul 14 22:44:00 UTC 2017

circular firing squad, {w}  See the quotations for description.  Nonstandard
(used in slang contexts dealing especially with U.S. politics; common?)


[It is imperative that if we do not integrate we must-at the
least-synchronize our lives; otherwise we will form a circular firing squad
in which members of the squad will kill all that is worthwhile within the
circle as well as themselves in the cross fire.  "Letters to the Editor,"
Las Vegas Daily Optic [Nev.] (Newspaper.com), March 23, 1973, p 2


Their television ads, the usual arena for negative attacks, are awash with
images of candidates holding babies and shaking hands with senior citizens
while promising to work for improved education, health care and more jobs.

"We formed a circular firing squad in 1986 and we're not apt to get in
another one this time," said candidate Paul Hubbert in explaining why he
even made a television spot emphasizing his rejection of negative campaign
tactics. "The people of this state saw the Texas prima primary on CNN. They
are turned off to negative campaigns right now."  Laura Parker, "Clean
Campaign Proves Duller Than Dirt; Alabama Democrats, Mindful of 1986 Loss,
Keep Mud Out of Gubernatorial Primary," The Washington Post (Nexis), June
2,;p1990, p A6]


The usual factional war and chaos of the White House is said to be
intensifying as aides form a "circular firing squad" to blame each other for
the leaks that spawned the Times' remarkable reports. Paul McGeough
[Washington], "Emails are the 'smoking gun' on Russia," Sydney Morning
Herald [Australia] (Nexis), July 13, 2017, p 4


Even before the latest reports, Mr. Trump's head-spinning willingness on
creating a joint cybersecurity team with Russia fueled criticism. Now people
close to the president and to his legal effort are engaged in a circular
firing squad, anonymously blaming one another for the decisions of the last
few days.  Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman, "Russia Story Refuses to Let The
Page Turn," The New York Times, July 12, 2017, p 1, A14


His loss comes as a rebuke to those efforts and reopens the internal divides
within the Democratic party about whether candidates should adopt an
unapologetically progressive message or attempt to be more pragmatic in
their efforts to woo voters. The result is that this has rejuvenated the
circular firing squad within the Democratic party that was revived in the
aftermath of Hillary Clinton's shock defeat in 2016. Ben Jacobs, "Karen
Handel's narrow win puts Republicans one step closer to repealing Obamacare,
while its effects on the Democratic party's psyche could be profound," The
Guardian [London] (Nexis), June 21, 2017, p 1


1973 (Newspaper.com)?  Composite (compound): formed, with semantic shifting
of the second element from circular (BDE: 1370), as in circular file (HDAS:
1947), meaning "wastebasket," + firing squad (eOED: 1867), meaning "a group
of soldiers, etc., assigned to execute someone by shooting."


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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