The political junkie in me can only admire the clever use of language in a Rep. Rob Bishop campaign ad that I heard on the radio today.
I was partially tuning out most of the boilerplate rhetoric (cut taxes, keep America strong, hide the women and children, etc.), but then Bishop, R-Utah, started railing against the Obama “regime.”
Pol Pot? Josef Stalin? Idi Amin? The crazy leader of Iran? The Obama regime? Did I just hear Bishop insinuate Obama’s running some kind of outfit akin to those bloody psychos?
Webster’s dictionary defines regime as “a form of government or rule, a social system or order, or the period of time that a person or system is in power.” Clearly it is technically not inaccurate to refer to the Obama administration as a regime. However, in modern parlance, calling a government a regime is a slur. The most popular Google searches associated with the word include Hitler, the Nazi regime, Fidel Castro and Saddam Hussein. In its entry about the word, Wikipedia softly points out that the “modern usage often gives the term a negative connotation, like an authoritarian one.”
By calling Obama’s administration a regime, Bishop sends a semantic signal lumping in the duly elected president of the United States with all the banana republic thugs, usurpers and mass murderers that have filled the news columns over the decades. It’s a reprehensible device to use, but Bishop can claim cover that he’s just employed a perfectly good word listed in the English dictionary.
OK, I have an idea. Fair’s fair. When Bishop and his fellow Republicans take over the House in the November election, I’m going to thereafter refer to them as the “GOP junta.” It’s another word right there in Webster’s. A junta is a “a small group of men; cabal, faction, or clique.”