Correcting Jay Nordlinger
Via Evan McMorris-Santoro, I see that National Review’s Jay Nordlinger has written a history of how “teabagger” came to be used as a catch-all pejorative term for Tea Party activists. I also see that Nordlinger got his facts wrong.
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.
Actually, the first Tea Party rallies occurred on Feb. 27. I was at the Washington, D.C., event, where I snapped the picture Nordlinger is talking about.
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That’s a member of the FreeRepublic cadre of protesters. Nordlinger’s failure to check this basic fact, or to say where it came from, doesn’t instill a lot of confidence in his piece. Generally, however, I agree that it’s good to call people what they want to be called, and for that reason I refer to them as “Tea Party protesters” and “Tea Party activists.”