Regime Change?

It is sometimes difficult to distinguish between genuine and manufactured outrage. On MSNBC recently, commentary Chris Matthews was upset about the use of the word “regime” with regard to the Obama Administration by Rush Limbaugh. Matthews is correct in that the use of the word “regime” in this regard is useless partisan hyperbole. However, in Matthew’s anger could only make sense context of political amnesia.

Matthews said:  “I’ve never seen language like this in the American press…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 to stop using it.”

During the 2004, elections there were many signs at political rallies calling for “regime change” with regard to the Bush Administration. While it is hard to draw too many conclusions from signs held by anger partisans at demonstrations, Democratic nominee, Senator John Kerry in a speech to a Democratic gathering in Peterborough, New Hampshire encourage supporters  by saying, “What we need now is not just a regime change in Saddam Hussein and Iraq, but we need a regime change in the United States.” Byron York reports that Maureen Dowd in the New York Times used “regime” in reference to the Bush Administration from 2001 to 2009.

Republicans were duly outraged at the time, but why is Matthews so upset now when the usage is marshaled against the politician that caused “thrills up” his leg ? There have a few signs (but by no means many) at Tea Party demonstrations conflating Obama with Hitler which have drawn the ire of the Left. However, during the Bush Administration such vitriol was a dominant theme from the Left. It was even common to hear such anger among temperamentally moderate Liberals who are now upset when harsh words are said about President Barack Obama.

It is not just a case of willful forgetfulness, rather is part of an internal narrative that Liberals, abetted by other Liberals in the press, have deluded themselves into believing that confuses Liberals like Matthews. There is no real conviction that different people can reasonably disagree and hold different political position. Conservative are Conservatives not because in the trade-off between freedom and equality of outcomes, they lean toward freedom, it is because they are mean-spirited bigots. There are Conservatives who have the same affliction with regard to their assessment of those on the Left, but the contagion is not nearly so virulent among Conservatives, because this narrative is not repeated in the mainstream media. As the media bifurcates into Left and Right, the affliction may become a more evenly distributed.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.