It started with a Friday morning interview of President Obama. Harry Smith asked the POTUS about his low approval ratings. Smith told the president that he has been called a socialist and a Nazi on talk radio.
Mr. Obama replied, "Well -- I mean, I think that -- when you've listened to Rush Limbaugh or Glen Beck it's …"
"It's beyond that," Smith interjected.
"It's pretty - apparent," the president continued, "and -- it's troublesome. But -- you know, keep in mind that there have been periods in American history where this kind of -- this kind of vitriol comes out. It happens often when -- you've got an economy that is making people more anxious and people are feeling that there's a lot of change that needs to take place. But that's not the vast majority of Americans."
This is to me -- I`ll just give you a little editorial (INAUDIBLE) 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. And this guy, this walrus underwater, makes fun of this administration, calling it a "regime." We know that word, "regime." It was used by recent presidents (INAUDIBLE) 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.As usual Matthews was simply trying to paint the right as beyond-the-pale extremists. So Byron York of the Washington Examiner cut that argument to pieces with a bit of research:
....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.'"Read more at the Washington Examiner
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]."
"Bush regime" was used 24 times in the Washington Post, beginning with a January 22, 2001 profile of Marshall Wittmann by Howard Kurtz -- who noted that Wittmann served as "a Health and Human Services deputy assistant secretary in the first Bush regime" -- and ending with an October 6, 2009 column by Dana Milbank which quoted far-left antiwar protester Medea Benjamin questioning whether the Obama administration "looks very different from the Bush regime."
Perhaps Matthews missed all of those references. If he did, he still might have heard the phrase the many times it was uttered on his own network, MSNBC. For example, on January 8 of this year, Democratic Rep. Joe Sestak said that, "In George Bush's regime, only one million jobs had been created…" On August 21, 2009, MSNBC's Ed Schultz referred to something that happened in 2006, when "the Bush regime was still in power." On October 8, 2007, Democratic strategist Steve McMahon said that "the middle class has not fared quite as well under Bush regime as…" On August 10, 2007, MSNBC played a clip of anti-war protester Cindy Sheehan referring to "the people of Iraq and Afghanistan that have been tragically harmed by the Bush regime." On September 21, 2006, a guest referred to liberals "expressing their dissatisfaction with the Bush regime." On July 7, 2004, Ralph Nader -- appearing with Matthews on "Hardball" -- discussed how he would "take apart the Bush regime." On May 26, 2003, Joe Scarborough noted a left-wing website that "has published a deck of Bush regime playing cards." A September 26, 2002 program featured a viewer email that said, "The Bush regime rhetoric gets goofier and more desperate every day."
Finally -- you knew this was coming -- on June 14, 2002, Chris Matthews himself introduced a panel discussion about a letter signed by many prominent leftists condemning the Bush administration's conduct of the war on terror. "Let's go to the Reverend Al Sharpton," Matthews said. "Reverend Sharpton, what do you make of this letter and this panoply of the left condemning the Bush regime?"
Oops. Perhaps Joe McCarthy never called the U.S. government a regime, but Chris Matthews did. And a lot of other people did, too. So now we are supposed to believe him when he expresses disgust at Rush Limbaugh doing the same?