Saturday, November 19, 2011

Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory?

Adam Green from Bold Progressives sends me a lot of email. I got this one yesterday, with the subject "Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory?":
We recently achieved a big victory for Wall Street accountability.

Over 100,000 of us took action with friends across the progressive community, and we killed a proposed 50-state deal that would give criminal and civil immunity to Wall Street banks.

But now, top Justice Department officials are trying to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. They have been pushing hard to bring the Wall Street immunity deal back from the dead.
Adam has missed the meaning of the figure of speech. DoJ is not trying to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Quite the opposite: they're trying to turn Bold Progressives' victory into a defeat, but that's not the same thing.

"Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory" is a play on the more straightforward "snatching victory from the jaws of defeat". But in both cases the one doing the snatching is the one that ends up with the thing snatched - as, if you thing about it, only makes sense. The "snatching defeat" line is generally, in my experience, used in sports, when a team with a seemingly secure lead manages to blow the game through its own bad execution of poorly chosen plays.

DoJ are trying to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.



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