I saw the following sentence in today's Washington Post:

House Republicans cleared a hurdle Friday in their first attempt to scrap President Barack Obama's landmark health care overhaul, yet it was little more than a 'symbolic swipe at' the law.

What's the meaning of 'symbolic swipe (at)'? Does it mean a strong strike, but not strong enough to kill (abolish) the bill, which might end up with a resistance just for the purpose of resistance, because it is headed by the phrase 'yet it was little more than'?


1 Answer 1


It means it was a gesture, not designed to do anything but to make a statement about what their intentions were. So much of politics is posturing, playing to the political base, without actually intending to accomplish anything. The Republicans know President Obama can simply veto anything they come up with, and the Democrats still hold a majority in the Senate, so whatever their plans are they must know they are destined to fail in the end. But they want it to look to their constituents as if they really mean to accomplish something.

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