circular firing squad

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circular firing squad (plural circular firing squads)

  1. (idiomatic) A political party or other group experiencing considerable disarray because the members are engaging in internal disputes and mutual recrimination.
    • 1992 March 26, Michael deCourcy Hinds, “Capitol Hill Memo: After Scandals, the Hush of Paranoia”, in New York Times, retrieved 22 May 2009:
      "What we're seeing here is a kind of circular firing squad, with everybody standing in a circle pointing fingers at the person beside them," said Representative Robert S. Walker of Pennsylvania, the chief deputy Republican whip.
    • 1997 October 9, Anthony Bevins, “The Tories: MPs get the blame for May election defeat”, in The Independent, UK, retrieved 22 May 2009:
      He said it was not the party that had lost the last election, but the "circular firing squad" of MPs.
    • 2002 January 28, Michael Duffy et al., “What Did They Know And...When Did They Know It?”, in Time:
      [J]ust about everyone who helped create this mess is busy pointing fingers, scapegoating the other guys, firing the lower-downs and diming out the higher-ups. Last week what was once envisioned as a new kind of company resembled little more than a circular firing squad of executives, accountants, consultants and lawyers.


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