To be the subject of an insipid attack of verbal vitriol
. To win such a battle without uttering a word. Attributed to Australian Former Prime Minister Paul Keating after enduring a timid parliamentary attack from John Hewson.
When, in 1991, the British PM John Major warned the world that Saddam Hussein was "a very nasty piece of nastiness", he was indeed striking out with the remnants of a sad salad.
Such failed bile can be met with confused sarcasm as in James Whistler's "I am awe-struck and tremble, for the rage of sheep is truly awful."