Maddow mocks Republican 'tea bag Obama' parties
David Edwards and Rachel Oswald
Published: Friday April 10, 2009

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While conservatives may feel they've hit on a golden idea with their new "tea bag Obama" campaign, others are responding to the movement with approximately the amused disdain of a typical 13-year-old boy.

MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, during a Thursday broadcast, mocked the "tea parties" scheduled to take place across the nation on April 15, and tried her best to hold back laughter at the rather unfortunate name the conservative resistance has assumed.

"All across America on Tax Day, Republican members of Congress are lining up to speak at teabag tea party events. Even Governor Mark Sanford of South Carolina is getting in on the hot teabagging action," Maddow joked. "Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana, previously most famous for his self-admitted very serious sin with prostitution services - he wants to give teabagging the Senate seal of approval. He has asked the Senate to commemorate the day of anti-Obama protests in law.'

Fox News in particular has offered the protesters unusually enthusiastic coverage. "Specifically, Fox News has in dozens of instances provided attendance and organizing information for future protests, such as protest dates, locations and website URLs," noted Media Matters. "Fox News websites have also posted information and publicity material for protests. Fox News hosts have repeatedly encouraged viewers to join them at several April 15 protests that they are attending and covering; during the April 6 edition of Glenn Beck, on-screen text characterized these events as 'FNC Tax Day Tea Parties.'"

Maddow seemed to relish the liberal smattering of the term "tea bagging" on her show. Apparently overcome with amusement at the tea parties, and the term's otherwise crass, offensive iconography in Web culture, she at one point had to call for order on her set to keep from laughing on-camera.

"In terms of - now, no laughing offset or I will lose it. I'm only barely making it through this as it is," she said.

Air America's Ana Marie Cox joined in the mocking, saying, "But you know, it is true that tea baggers are grossly unrepresented in Congress. I'm trying to work on that personally. But one can only do so much. I think David Vitter really is the right spokesperson for the movement, though."

Liberal skepticism of the importance of the teabag movement abounds. The American Prospect's Adam Sewer writes, "I don't know anyone who actually cares about these things. Obama's approval rating is in the 60s...I could see being concerned about the tea parties if they legitimately comprised some sort of mass movement centered around widespread public discontent with the president, but it just seems to be a bunch of sour grapes from hardcore conservatives who would hate Obama no matter what."

This video is from MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show, broadcast Apr. 9, 2009.

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This story has been updated to replace a link and clarify several phrases.

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