Joe Barton's "tragedy of the first proportion"

< Previous | Next >


Several weeks ago, Republican Joe Barton (Tx) gave a speech about the BP Oil Spill. He said:

I think it is a tragedy of the first proportion that a private corporation can be subjected to what I would characterize as a shakedown — in this case a $20 billion shakedown.

My question is, what do the highlighted words literally mean?
Last edited:
  • Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    My guess would be that he's mixed the metaphors "of epic proportions" and "of the first magnitude".
    < Previous | Next >