April 15 Tax Protesters: Don’t Call Us ’Tea Baggers’!

by Steve Weinstein
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Wednesday Apr 15, 2009

It all began on CNBC, where a newsman in Chicago proposed an updated version of the Boston Tea Party to protest the Obama Adminstration's bailouts and stimulus plan. "No taxation without representation" was the rallying cry of the original protesters, who dressed as Native Americans and threw British tea overboard in Boston Harbor.

The "tea party" concept spread through the Internet and right-wing talk shows such as Sean Hannity and Fox News, which has become a sort-of sponsor of these rallies. On April 15, thousands are expected to protest in cities across the country.

Only now, the protesters and their organizers are fighting a battle on two fronts: not only against what they see as a government gone wild with giveaways; but ridicule for the double meaning of "tea bagging."

The cheeky Urban Dictionary has expanded its definition of "tea bagger" from "a man that dips his scrotum and testicles into the mouth of another person" to include "a conservative activist who is so ignorant that they protest against tax cuts (that benefit them) by throwing tea into a river."

As any gay man who has ventured into some of our more louche nightspots can testify, the practice is venerated among go-go boys dancing on top of bars and boxes who will dip their family jewels into the welcoming mouth of a generous tipper. (It should be noted that the Urban Dictionary started its definition originally with a male-female scenario, so, as in so many cases of late, there is sexual parity here.)

Proving that she's as hip to the gay underworld as she is to politics (or lesbian life), Rachel Maddow covered this burning topic on her MSNBC program. As seen here, she's using all of her journalistic skills to keep from cracking up.

It's no laughing matter to the protesters or their supporters, however. In their eyes, equating what they're doing with a sleazy gay sexual practice is akin to a swastika-bedecked bar mitzvah celebration.

The Business & Media Institute, which bills itself as "advancing the culture of free enterprise in America," decries the association. Jeff Poor cites another MSNBC commenter, David Shuster, filling in for Keith Olbermann on April 13.

"For most Americans, Wednesday, April 15th will be Tax Day," Shuster said. "It's going to be teabagging day for the right-wing and they're going nuts for it. Thousands of them whipped out the festivities early this past weekend, and while the parties are officially toothless, the teabaggers are full-throated about their goals."

Ouch! Shuster continued the string of puns: "They want to give President Obama a strong tongue-lashing and lick government spending."

Over on Free Republic, the comments were predictable over Shuster's monologue: outrage and disgust.

"I bet his scuzzy queer audience just about jizzed themselves over it," one commenter said.

"Typical of their type, they take a normal everyday term, assign some disgusting meaning to it and then try to infer that we are the ones that are somehow degenerates and piss themselves laughing about it," wrote another. "Childish potty humor, at best."

Over at the Democratic Underground, the response was equally predictable. Several threads involved the John Waters film "Pecker," which first brought the term "tea bagger" to the general public. One commenter proposed a drinking game: Every time a Fox news reader mentioned "tea bagger" or "tea bagging." Guaranteed to help ease the stress of April 15, since the players would be drunk in no time.

Meanwhile, on our side, there are protests planned to call attention to the way LGBT Americans are denied tax advantages because we can't formalize our relationships. Go here to find out where you can particpate.

And just for the record, Anderson Cooper has jumped into the fray. On his "Anderson Cooper 360 program" on Tuesday, in response to a comment that Republicans were "searching for their voice" after two electoral losses, Cooper quipped, "It's hard to talk when you're tea-bagging."

Steve Weinstein has been a regular correspondent for the International Herald Tribune, the Advocate, the Village Voice and Out. He has been covering the AIDS crisis since the early '80s, when he began his career. He is the author of "The Q Guide to Fire Island" (Alyson, 2007).


  • , 2009-04-15 23:40:38

    The report on "Teabagging" made my day;i was soo anoyed by these iresponsible so cal protesters, but after i got the whole Teabagging process, i had the best laft of my life. Thanks MSNBC.

  • , 2009-04-16 07:04:47

    Obviously the lefties know all about teabaggin. They’ve been doing it for Obama since he showed up. Typical hate-speech from those who hate freedom and America.

  • , 2009-04-16 09:23:05

    I heard the word rachelmaddow is a lewd word that makes people "in the know" laugh their heads off when someone with that name appears on tv.

  • , 2009-07-15 23:27:53

    Republicans teabag better than anyone since they are all in the closet. That’s why they are so homophobic

  • , 2009-08-10 21:49:01

    Americans who voice there opinion should be celebrated and encouraged. Instead anyone with a different opinion, instead of giving an argument simply resort to name calling because they have no argument or simplly can’t put two thoughts together.

  • , 2009-11-20 13:23:51

    Madcow, you are a filthy-mouthed lesbian with a reprobate mind.

  • , 2009-11-27 08:48:23

    Voicing an INFORMED opinion is a good thing. Unfortunately some of these people don’t even understand the simple math used to calculate a progressive tax. And, to quote Warren Buffet: "It’s class warfare, my class is winning, but they shouldn’t be." , "The 400 of us [here] pay a lower part of our income in taxes than our receptionists do, or our cleaning ladies, for that matter. If you’re in the luckiest 1 per cent of humanity, you owe it to the rest of humanity to think about the other 99 per cent.". from

  • , 2010-01-22 19:15:08

    Again leave it to the liberals to slander what most Americans feel. We work hard, pay our bills raise our kids and try to save for a rainy day.That is moderate conservatism defined. We "teabaggers" as you call us are passionet people who truly love our country and want to join together to protect our rights. Laugh all you want make fun of us all you want Massachusetts was just the beginning!

  • , 2010-02-01 21:10:09

    Hey Mr. Tea Party Patriot, Why You Are So Mad! Hey you. You there in the Glenn Beck T-shirt headed off to the Tea Party Patriot rally. Stop shouting for a moment, please, I want to explain to you why you’re so very angry. You should be angry. You’re getting screwed. I think you know that. But you don’t seem to know that it doesn’t have to be that way. You can stop it. You can stop it easily because the system that’s screwing you over can only keep screwing you over if you keep demanding that it do so. So stop demanding that. Stop helping the system screw you over. Look, you can go back to yelling at me in a minute, but just read this first. 1. Get out your pay stub. Or, if you have direct deposit -- you really should get direct deposit, it saves a lot of time and money (I point this out because, honestly, I’m trying to help you here, even though you don’t make that easy Mr. Angry Screamy Guy) -- then take out that little paper receipt they give you when your pay gets directly deposited. 2. Notice that your net pay is lower than your gross pay. This is because some of your wages are withheld every pay period. 3. Notice that only some of this money that was withheld went to pay taxes. (I know, I know -- yeearrrgh! me hates taxes! -- but just try to stick with me for just a second here.) 4. Notice that some of the money that was withheld didn’t go to taxes, but to your health insurance company. 5. Now go get a pay stub from last year around this time, from January of 2009. 6. Notice that the amount of your pay withheld for taxes in your current paycheck is less than the amount that was withheld a year ago. That’s because of President Barack Obama’s economic stimulus plan, which included more than $200 billion in tax cuts, including the one you’re holding right there in your hand, the tax cut that’s now staring you in the face. Republicans all voted against that tax cut. And then they told you to get angry about the stimulus plan. They didn’t explain, however, why you were supposed to get angry about getting a tax cut. Why would you be? Wouldn’t it make more sense to get angry at the people who voted against that Obama tax cut? But taxes aren’t the really important thing here. The really important thing starts with the next point. 7. Notice that the amount of your pay withheld to pay for your health insurance is more than it was last year. 8. Notice that the amount of your pay withheld to pay for your health insurance is a lot more than it was last year. I won’t ask you to dig up old paychecks from 2008 and 2007, but this has been going on for a long time. Every year, the amount of your paycheck withheld to pay for your health insurance goes up. A lot. 9. Notice the one figure there on your two pay stubs that hasn’t changed: Your wage. The raise you didn’t get this year went to pay for that big increase in the cost of your health insurance. 10. Here’s where I need you to start doing a better job of putting two and two together. If you didn’t get a raise last year because the cost of your health insurance went up by a lot, and the cost of your health insurance is going to go up by a lot again this year, what do you think that means for any chance you might have of getting a raise this year? 11. Did you figure it out? That’s right. The increasing cost of health insurance means you won’t get a raise this year. Or next year. Or the year after that. The increasing cost of health insurance means you will never get a raise again. That’s what I meant when I said you really should be angry. That’s what I meant when I said you’re getting screwed. OK, we’re almost done. Just a few more points, I promise. 12. The only hope you have of ever seeing another pay raise is if Congress passes health care reform. Without health care reform, the increasing cost of your health insurance will swallow this year’s raise. And next year’s raise. And pretty soon it won’t stop with just your raise. Without health care reform, the increasing cost of your health insurance will start making your pay go down. 13. I wish I could tell you that this was just a worst-case scenario, that this was only something that might, maybe happen, but that wouldn’t be true. Without health care reform, this is what will happen. We know this because this is what is happening now. It has been happening for the past 10 years. In 2008, employers spent on average 25 percent more per employee than they did in 2001, but wages on average did not increase during those years. The price of milk went up. The price of gas went up. But wages did not. All of the money that would have gone to higher wages went to pay the higher and higher and higher cost of health insurance. And unless Congress passes health care reform, that will not change. Well, it will change in the sense that it will keep getting worse, but it won’t get better. Unless the problem gets fixed, the problem won’t be fixed. That’s kind of what "problem" and "fixed" mean. 14. Sadly for any chance you have of ever seeing a raise again, it looks like Congress may not pass health care reform. It looks like they won’t do that because they’re scared of angry voters who are demanding that they oppose health care reform, angry voters who demand that Congress not do anything that would keep the cost of health insurance from going up and up and up. Angry voters like you. 15. Do you see the point here? You are angrily, loudly demanding that Congress make sure that you never, ever get another pay raise as long as you live. Because of you and because of your angry demands, you and your family and your kids are going to have to get by with less this year than last year. And next year you’re going to have to get by with even less. And if you keep angrily demanding that no one must ever fix this problem, then you’re going to have to figure out how to get by on less and less every year for the rest of your life. 16. So please, for your own sake, for your family’s sake and the sake of your children, stop. Stop demanding that problems not get fixed. Stop demanding that you keep getting screwed. Stay angry -- you should be angry -- but start directing that anger toward the system that’s screwing you over and taking money out of your pocket. Start directing that anger toward fixing problems instead of toward making sure they never get fixed. Instead of demanding that Congress oppose health care reform so that you never, ever, get another pay raise, start demanding that they pass health care reform, as soon as possible. Because until they do, you’re just going to keep on getting screwed. And it’s going to be that much worse knowing that you brought this on yourself -- that you demanded it. Thanks for your time. P.S. -- I didn’t mention this because I’m trying here to be as patient with you as I can, but you might also want to keep in mind that in addition to screwing over yourself and screwing over your family and screwing over your own children by demanding that Congress oppose health care reform so that you will never, ever see another pay raise, by doing that you’re also demanding that I never, ever see another pay raise, which means that you’re also screwing over me, and my family, and my children. Not to mention the millions of poor and uninsured and uninsureable people I didn’t even mention above because they don’t seem to matter at all to you. And for that, let me just say the only appropriate thing that can be said to someone so determined to do direct, tangible harm to the welfare of my family: Why do you hate Americans?

  • , 2010-02-13 18:59:35

    The tea Party movement ? In my opinion, if a candidate, politician or ANYONE wants to be part of a tea party, get in the audience like the rest of us. If you have anything to say, stand in line to speak just like me. In order to maintain a STRONG movement we have NO leaders. We have no candidates running the show. WE ARE THE SHOW! Our goals are what we are about; Regaining the rights in the constitution. To re-enfore the laws by, of and for the people. No taxation without representation. No printing ’stimulus’ money AT INTEREST without the people knowing where it’s going...or NOT going. No programs behind closed doors. No more PORK. Make term limits. Close and protect borders. If the elected reps care more about their own political future and scratching each others’ back more than their constituants, VOTE THEM OUT. Tea Party Power - It will be on Election day. NOT BEFORE. Let the candidates tell us what their platform is, then we will let them know in November if they are worth our vote... NOT before!.... See More Anything these self proclaimed tea party ’leaders’ try to sell us is BULLSHIT! They are making money and trying to gain influence and power off the backs of the Americans who are finally educated enough to realize that ANY ONE indivual or small group will never again control us. We are like a swarm of bees. We will make our presense seen this year,and our sting in November. God bless the constitution. God bless the patriots who are now ready to rally to remind the elected to WE are the people in the constitution... They serve US!

  • , 2010-03-09 03:28:11

    Thank you anonymous 2/1, but let me add that the the only way we’ll get what we need is to pay for elections ourselves: as long as candidates solicit money from insurance companies, banks and large corporations we voters will always be second tier

  • , 2010-03-21 13:15:00

    Beware Tea Baggers and far right fanatics...the silent majority is watching you and we will turn out in November to make sure the the candidates of your choice are not elected. Keep up the freak show, it only excites our electorate.

  • Tea Party Believer, 2010-03-26 22:10:36

    To Mr. Explain my paycheck to me guy. Yes, my deduction for my health insurance went up, so did what my health care covers. My health care package got better which did make my premium go up. But my co-pay didn’t!!! And I did get a raise and a bonus!!!!!! And yes, I did get to keep a little more of my pay because of the stimulus package, but I also had to pay it all back when I did my taxes this year! So the stimulus did not do a thing for me. You can keep your stimulus and stay out of my health care. Your examples are full of holes. By the way, I didn’t yell once.

  • , 2010-03-31 22:03:07

    Check out Allan Keyes...True American.

  • Uncle Fritz, 2010-04-15 22:32:08

    HEY YOU TEA PARTY FOLKS! Let’s just go through some of the FACTS that just keep being IGNORED, shall we? We had eight years of Bush and Cheney, but it is only now you get mad! Duuuh!!?? (Check out this list of things we SHOULD ALL be ANGRY about... You didn’t get mad when the Supreme Court stopped a legal recount and APPOINTED a President. You didn’t get mad when Cheney allowed energy company officials to dictate energy policy. You didn’t get mad when a covert CIA operative got outed at Chaney’s ("plausibly deniable) instruction. You didn’t get mad when the Patriot Act got passed and our CIVIL RIGHTS were ABRIDGED. You didn’t get mad when we illegally invaded a country that posed no threat to us. You didn’t get mad when we spent over $600 BILLIONS (and still counting) on that illegal war. You didn’t get mad when over 10 BILLION dollars just DISAPPEARED in Iraq. You didn’t get mad when you found out we were torturing people. You didn’t get mad when it finally became public that our government is illegally wiretapping Americans. You didn’t get mad when we didn’t catch Bin Laden. You didn’t get mad when you saw the horrible conditions our Veterans had to endure at Walter Reed Hospital. You didn’t get mad when the Bush/Chaney regime let New Orleans, just drown by STOPPING FEMA from helping effectively. You didn’t get mad when we gave a 900 billion tax break to the rich. You didn’t get mad when the BUSH/CHANEY REGIME’s deficit hit the trillion dollar mark. But somehow after IGNORING all those scandals, when you finally DO get mad, it is because the government decided that all Americans deserve the right to see a doctor if they are sick. SUMMARY: Illegal wars, lies, corruption, torture, stealing your tax dollars to make the rich richer, are all okay with you, but helping other Americans...oh hell no. Does ANYONE see any possible conflicting values here....???

  • , 2010-05-05 09:02:00


  • , 2010-07-19 15:59:40

    Weell i think they have a hidden agenda.i think the whole tea bagger thing is a front.I believe the leaders of this so called movement want to use these people for their own means.And once elected they will turn on these same people and take over.This whole thing is all MONEY.WHAT I CAN NOT FIGURE IS WHY THE PEOPLE ARE ALLOWING THEM SELF TO BE LED BY THE NOSE LIKE SHEEP?ADOLPH HITLER DID THE EXACT SAME THING TO THE GERMAN PEOPLE AND WE ALL KNOW HOW THAT TURNED OUT.Mark my words if these people get into power AMERICA will wind up with her first DICTATOR SHIP.And then where will everyone be????????iI for one am calling for all Americans to stand up and be counted on voting day.Sure we have problems in the government but this is not the way to work it out.We all know the problems why do we even need some one like SARAH?And to you mrs palin let me be the first to say HEIL HITLER,OH EXCUSE ME HEIL SARAH.I HOPE YOU GO DOWN SO FAR ON ELECTION DAY YOUR NAME NEVER DISGRACES AMERICA AGAIN.

  • intellib, 2010-08-12 13:20:53

    uncle fritz, you’re my hero!! You are spot on with your thoroughly and simply stated facts regarding the far right wingnuts who ignore all the damage that was done to our country in the 8 long years of the most horrible regime we’ve seen in a long time. Yet, today they yell and scream about being angry over our deficit and taxation without representation, which doesn’t make any sense whatsoever! They expect us to believe their anger at our government but we all know it is only because of the man who currently occupies the white house that they now decide to fake anger at the shit their own leaders created for all of us! Wake up teabaggers before you end up homeless and penniless under a bridge for electing fake, moneyhungry teabag candidates! They’ll hang you out to dry after you put them in office. A good example of that is failin’ palin who quit her governorship to join the teabag movement so she could make millions off of you poor bastards. She’s now making more than she has in all her years working for alaska! You’ve made her filthy rich and cocky to the point that she won’t answer direct questions from anyone because they’re all "gotcha questions!" Oh lordy!!

  • , 2010-11-07 10:58:58

    As for being called a Teabagger, I don’t mind, especially when the person doing the calling is a SCUMBAGGER.

  • , 2011-01-08 20:26:06

    buy teabagger mugs, tshirts and magnetsA misinformed, right-wing corporate media consumer who often fails to understand that BOTH major parties represent a corrupt plutocracy that steals from the middle class by taxing labor and profiting from corporate tax subsidies. A teabagger also often fails to acknowledge that George W. Bush and his neo-conservative minions perpetrated one of the boldest and most egregious executive power grabs in the history of the United States. Furthermore, teabaggers mistakenly continue to blame a newly elected President Obama for all that ails the United States of America, based on a grossly flawed perception of reality (including latent racial prejudice) and despite the fact the U.S. economy collapsed on the previous administration’s watch. Teabaggers are also known to base their misguided, right-wing-media-inspired beliefs about President Obama on stupid conspiracy theories about totalitarian takeovers, FEMA camps, etc., despite the fact these very same theories have been circulating around on the Internet for years, and were originally ascribed to neo-conservative cabalists at a time when Barack Obama had not even entered national politics. Teabaggers also are known to be particularly paranoid, xenophobic and intolerant, especially with regard to immigrants and anyone who isn’t white. Additionally, teabaggers generally echo stupid myths about entitlement spending (it actually only accounts for about 1% of federal budget spending), have no idea that most poor people in America are not lazy, actually do work and don’t want to be on welfare, and have no idea what socialism actually means or that socialist reform in this country is actually what allowed a middle class to flourish and ultimately make the U.S. one of the most prosperous nations in human history. Furthermore, teabaggers incorrectly equate socialism with Stalinism, think a system that rewards greed (capitalism) is the divine preference (despite Gospel evidence to the contrary), and are shameless champions of a misguided belief in American exceptionalism. Teabaggers also fail to recognize the inherently unpatriotic nature of their failed every-man-for-himself ideology that ultimately vilifies anyone who supports public policy aimed at reaching out to fellow Americans in need. They celebrate an exploitative corporatocracy (holy creator of jobs, blah blah blah) while denigrating the little guy for being "weak." Interestingly, teabaggers uphold an immoral, morbidly obese, twice divorced, draft-dodging, college dropout and known drug addict as their de facto leader, and are even known to advocate burning books. Of course, teabaggers fail to recognize the blatant hypocrisy within the GOP and tend to oversimplify all political debate and social issues, much like their pseudo-intellectual, fat-ass leader. Finally, incredibly, teabaggers fail to recognize the hysterical double entendre associated with their proudly adopted teabag moniker. Every village has its idiots, of course, but it’s sad when citizens of any nation allow themselves to be whipped into a frenzy en masse by a state-run propaganda machine masquerading as a legitimate, fair, balanced and independent news organization. Teabaggers are right to believe the future of the U.S.A. is in jeopardy, but sadly they have not yet correctly identified the real enemy. Perhaps when teabaggers finally grow up and mature into thinking adults, they will see the right-leaning power establishment for the oppressive and cunning beast that it is. Teabagger: We don’t care that George Bush tripled the deficit and lied us into a war. The new administration only cut taxes for 90% of the population... fascists. Let’s go throw some Lipton tea bags into a fountain!

  • , 2011-02-25 09:39:38

    Tea Bagger, Tea Bagger, Tea Bagger. Who care what they want. Not me!!!

  • , 2011-08-29 20:43:46

    I used to be disgusted by the idiots on the left using the term teabagger to describe TEA party but then I looked it up. There can be no bagger without a bagee.I find that hysterically funny.They are trying so very hard to be oh so clever,but the joke is on them. In essence what they are saying is TEA people have balls and it is they who suck. Party on my patriotic American bretheren. The leftrons are scared sh*tless.We gather in strength as they mock us in fear.

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