While the summer is usually considered a sleepy time in official circles in Washington, DC, the political and journalistic passions inflamed by reports Karl Rove told Time’s Matthew Cooper that Joe Wilson’s wife worked at the CIA has certainly given us some wonderful examples of political hyperbole.

We came across one fine example in the New York Times yesterday, when at the end of piece exploring the president’s unwavering loyalty to friends in the face of adversity, a “former official who has worked for Mr. Bush” told the paper that “This president is Mr. Alamo. He sees the hordes coming over the hill and he heads for the barricades. And not to raise a white flag.”

Our first thought was, why did that former official need to go unnamed? After all, compliments to the president don’t seem to demand the cloak of anonymity. But then we remembered our Texas history: While the defenders of the Alamo held out bravely for 13 days against the vastly superior forces of Mexican General Santa Anna’s army, in the end, all the defenders died.

Perhaps the source wished to remain anonymous to avoid the attribution of embarrassing metaphors?

Paul McLeary

Paul McLeary is senior editor of Defense Technology International magazine, and is a former CJR staffer.