Is there a catchphrase to describe a subordinate whose knee-jerk reaction is to aggressively verbally defend their boss from any perceived slight sometimes without actually understanding the issue or even when it's not unambiguously an attack on their boss or their boss himself probably wouldn't care? (Something historical maybe or borrowing on a fictional character?)
“Brown-noser” and “suck-up” come to mind, but they are quite rude. And they require hyphens, which I don’t really appreciate. Can someone come up with a more neutral term, preferably non-hyphenated?
A phrase that is often used of such situations is blind loyalty.
Her blind loyalty to the Dean makes reasonable discussion of these issues nearly impossible.
It doesn't necessarily involve aggressive verbal defense, but could.
In the interest of using "something historical", let me exhort you to join the good fight to reclaim the original sense of Chauvinism:
Borrowed from French chauvinisme (“idealistic devotion to Napoleon”), named for Nicolas Chauvin, a legendary and excessively patriotic soldier of the French First Republic. The figure of Chauvin became especially famous as a character in the play La Cocarde Tricolore by the Cogniard brothers.
(Also, tangentially, I feel compelled to mention that I don't think "catchphrase" really applies here, but regardless.)
After some research I think the word I'm looking for is "goon", in the second definition here:
It implies both a faithful guard and someone foolish. Also implied in the first definition here:
Although the idea of "hired" seems prevalent here, I think that colloquially it can be used to portray the idea of being faithful even if not for hire, and generally non-calculating.