On Tuesday night's The Daily Show With Jon Stewart, Stewart discussed a new book, A New American Tea Party: The Counterrevolution Against Bailouts, Handouts, Reckless Spending, and More Taxes, with its author, John O’Hara. O’Hara drops the O word—"Obamacare"—several minutes into the discussion about whether the tea-party movement is or is not antigovernment.
Stewart immediately jumps on O’Hara’s slip, calling him out on using the “derogatory” phrase and firing back by referring to O’Hara’s book as a “tea-bagger book.” O’Hara stammers for a few seconds and tries to defend his word choice, but concedes to calling it the health-reform bill instead. (It’s a law, by the way.)
Last month, I took on this same issue. Should the bill be called Obamacare, or is that phrase, as Stewart puts it, derogatory by nature?
Since its passing, so-called Obamacare has become a more mainstream term for the health bill, but it still hasn’t overcome its negative beginnings. The search results are still overwhelmingly negative, but it has made its way into several NEWSWEEK stories over the past couple of weeks.
Writers and journalists might find the term useful—it’s catchy and easier to write—but it isn’t likely to shed its unfavorable connotation, especially with partisan voices like O’Hara dropping it into conversation.