The Truth About the "Teabaggers"
Rachel Maddow and her liberal cohorts are right that "teabagging" had a preexisting, crude, sexual meaning before the term was ever applied to political protesters angered by excessive government. It is extremely annoying however, for liberal television hosts to continue pretending that the conservative protestors chose this moniker. At the original protests, there were many bags of tea, but very few--if any at all--references to "teabagging." It wasn't "funny when these members of this emerging far-right protest movement started calling them teabaggers and threatening to teabag anyone who disagrees with them" because that's not what actually happened. As Alex Koppelman wrote for Salon.com in April 2009:
Truth be told, though, for the most part conservatives haven't actually been using the words in such a way as to lend themselves to double entendre. With one or two exceptions, almost all of it has actually been coming from the left, which seems to have adopted the joke en masse during an earlier round of these protests back in February.
When the protests first began, the liberal media was shocked that anyone could oppose their messiah. Who could disapprove of a person intent on making government bigger, taking more control over our personal lives, and "cutting America down to size?" At first they tried to ignore the protests, but nobody cared that the left-wing media was ignoring a conservative movement. It simply reinforced what most Americans already knew. As the Tea Party movement--a true grassroots protest unlike anything the left has ever produced--continued to grow, our "journalists" knew they had to take more direct action.
Rather than investigate the movement and the concerns of those attending the tea parties, they resorted to quoting people like Garofalo of FOX's 24 who called the participants "a bunch of teabagging rednecks," adding "this is about hating a black man in the White House. This is racism straight up." They followed the Pelosi line which asserted that citizens exercising their rights were "un-American." They insisted the protests were "astroturf" because they lacked paid attendees and weren't centrally organized by a group like ACORN. And they perverted the original Tea Party reference, a sign that read "Tea Bag the Liberal Dems before they Tea Bag You" as proof that the conservatives both called themselves "teabaggers" and had no idea what the reference meant. The sign wouldn't have made any sense if the person who made it didn't get the reference.
Maddow and Co. continue to use the "teabagger" line because slandering the opposition is the only hymn they know. Their messiah hasn't produced any results, and his approval ratings continue to plummet making it difficult for all but the most left-wing pollsters to keep him at 50%. Even Jimmy Carter had a better approval rating at this point in his career. Perhaps if Maddow spent half as much time actually investigating "the news" as she apparently spends researching "teabagging" and mocking the Tea Parties, her ratings might pull out of their current nosedive. Although, in the words of Rep. Alan Grayson, it's probably a good thing 99.64% of Americans have the good sense not to watch MSNBC.