NRO admits conservatives coined ‘Teabagger’

By David Edwards
Friday, May 7, 2010 9:47 EDT
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Conservatives are up in arms because a new book revealed that President Barack Obama once referred to Tea Party protesters as “teabaggers.” But one publication on the far right has revealed that conservatives actually coined the term.

ABC News’ Jake Tapper reported:

In Jonathan Alter’s “The Promise: President Obama, Year One,” President Obama is quoted in an November 30, 2009, interview saying that the unanimous vote of House Republicans vote against the stimulus bills “set the tenor for the whole year … That helped to create the tea-baggers and empowered that whole wing of the Republican Party to where it now controls the agenda for the Republicans.”

Tea Party activists loathe the term “tea baggers,” which has emerged in liberal media outlets and elsewhere as a method of mocking the activists and their concerns.

Writing for the Hot Air blog, Allahpundit questioned why Obama has yet to use the term publicly if he is truly unaware of its sexual connotation.

Doubtless the defense here will be that The One wasn’t aware of the sexual connotation and therefore had no idea that the term offends tea partiers. Funny thing, though: Offhand, I can’t recall a single instance of him saying “teabaggers” publicly. Not in speeches, not in interviews, not at town halls, not even at that fundraiser a few weeks ago when he goofed on protesters by saying they should be thanking him for cutting their taxes, i.e. for running up gigantic deficits. If he doesn’t know the term’s impolitic, how come he hasn’t innocently used it on camera yet?

It’s true that liberals like Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow have adopted the term as an epithet but National Review Online finds that the word was actually coined by conservatives.

The first big day for this movement was Tax Day, April 15. And organizers had a gimmick. They asked people to send a tea bag to the Oval Office. One of the exhortations was “Tea Bag the Fools in D.C.” A protester was spotted with a sign saying, “Tea Bag the Liberal Dems Before They Tea Bag You.” So, conservatives started it: started with this terminology. But others ran with it and ran with it.

MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann notes that this fact hasn’t stopped right wingers from blasting Obama for using the term. “But this reference has not led the group to, you know, swallow their tongues about their incessantly phony outrage over the term. It`s led a T.P. supporter Melissa Couthier to describe the president as a flaming hypocrite. And just in case anybody missed the point, to illustrate her web post with an animated version of the act from which the tea baggers drew their nickname. Way to show the president what decorum looks like,” said Olbermann.

This video is from MSNBC’s Countdown, broadcast May 6, 2010.

David Edwards
David Edwards
David Edwards has served as an editor at Raw Story since 2006. His work can also be found at Crooks & Liars, and he's also been published at The BRAD BLOG. He came to Raw Story after working as a network manager for the state of North Carolina and as as engineer developing enterprise resource planning software. Follow him on Twitter at @DavidEdwards.
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