Apparently some people didn’t get it. On MSNBC, Chris Matthews appeared deeply troubled by the word. “I’ve never seen language like this in the American press,” he said, “referring to an elected representative government, elected in a totally fair, democratic, American election—we will have another one in November, we’ll have another one for president in a couple years—fair, free, and wonderful democracy we have in this country…. We know that word, ‘regime.’ It was used by George Bush, ‘regime change.’ You go to war with regimes. Regimes are tyrannies. They’re juntas. They’re military coups. The use of the word ‘regime’ in American political parlance is unacceptable, and someone should tell the walrus [Limbaugh] to stop using it.”
Matthews didn’t stop there. “I never heard the word ‘regime,’ before, have you?” he said to NBC’s Chuck Todd. “I don’t even think Joe McCarthy ever called this government a ‘regime.’”
It appears that Matthews has suffered a major memory loss. I don’t have the facilities to search for every utterance of Joe McCarthy, but a look at more recent times reveals many, many, many examples of the phrase “Bush regime.” In fact, a search of the Nexis database for “Bush regime” yields 6,769 examples from January 20, 2001 to the present.
It was used 16 times in the New York Times, beginning with an April 4, 2001 column by Maureen Dowd—who wrote, “Seventy-five days into the Bush regime and I’m a wreck”—and ending with a March 6, 2009 editorial denouncing the “frightening legal claim advanced by the Bush regime to justify holding [accused terrorist Ali al-Marri].”