Don't Call Me Teabagger, Whitey


A writer named Mike Elk has produced an entry in that venerable genre of contrarian-liberal writing, the "We Should Talk with the Right-Wing Grassroots Rather Than Demonize Them" essay. I'm always in favor of open-minded conversations that cross ideological lines, so in theory I applaud what he's doing, but I had to chuckle at this tone-deaf sentence:

It's time that we raise up above immature name calling and start talking to the teabaggers.

I'm sure Elk was genuinely unaware that the Tea Party marchers consider the word "teabaggers" an especially obnoxious example of "immature name calling." Nonetheless, he sounds like an earnest Special Olympics volunteer who doesn't understand why his "Go, retards!" chant isn't catching on.

As long as I'm on the subject, here's a question: When did the "teabagging" tag start getting attached to the protests? I was under the impression that it was a product of this photograph:

I was going to write "John 3:16," but then inspiration struck.

…which was taken at an early tea party and thus suggests that a single clueless demonstrator might be responsible for everything. But if anyone heard the word in this context before that picture started circulating in late February, I'd be interested to see your citation.

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  1. “Go, retards!”

    Although in the case of most of the liberal Dems, that cheer is perfectly apropos. They’re mostly retards, and I really would like them to just GO. Away.

    1. he sounds like an earnest Special Olympics volunteer who doesn’t understand why his “Go, retards!” chant isn’t catching on

      Although the retards at MSNBC and other developmentally challenged news sites know exactly what they’re saying when they call their detractors “teabaggers.” They genuinely believe that their wordplay is funny, edgy, irreverent. In fact, it’s only sophomoric.

  2. Wasn’t there some sort of “tea party” even before the actual, physically attended rallies where these groups of people literally mailed tea bags to congressmen? I’m pretty sure that about half of the point of that was just so that these people could say, “Tee hee, I tea bagged my representative.”

    So I’m pretty sure that all this outrage over being called “teabaggers” is feigned. Or at the very least, the people outraged by it aren’t aware that it didn’t actually begin as an insult to the protesters, but as an insult FROM the protesters.


      Here’s an article on snopes about the emails going around encouraging people to send tea bags to Congress. Notice even in the text of the email itself TEABAG is written in all caps. I distinctly remember people chuckling over how clever they were that they found this thing to do that seemed to hark back to the Revolution while being a sexually-charged insult.

    2. Wasn’t there some sort of “tea party” even before

      There was the Boston Tea Party, whose candidate got around 3000 votes in the last Presidential election. It’s got nothing in common with the current teabagging movement, though…

      1. I was referring to before the rallies… when there was a mail campaign involving sending letters (and tea bags). Not as in before the existence of the Constitution…

        1. Some years ago, in the early 90’s or late 80’s there was a campaign to mail teabags to one’s congressmen to protest a proposed congressional pay raise. It succeeded actually, but later the Congress went ahead and quietly raised their pay after people and the MSM had ceased to pay attention to the matter.

    3. I just tried to do a search at and technorati, and both suck.

      However, I have over 50 posts in my tea party coverage, and while I haven’t covered the name-calling side of things I’d imagine the teabagging has to do with the cheap stunt guy who dresses up as TomPaine and who encouraged people to send bags. IIRC, GaryKreep suggested sending bags a couple decades ago.

      As for their entire movement, it’s about what I’ve come to expect from libertarians (the heart and soul of the movement). Instead of being able to engage their opponents in debate, they concentrate on cheap stunts and playing dress-up games.

      1. STFULW

        1. Wow, we’ve moved straight to acronyms for saving time shutting up LW.

          High tech shit!

        2. Wulfts? Sluwft? I’m no good at anagrams.

      2. I’m breaking the fundamental H&R rule: One should never, under any circumstances, engage with LoneWacko, but I have yet to see that libertarians are the heart and soul of the movement. If anything, they tend to get marginalized for not believing in the cult of Team R. So, if you can’t get the right movement at the heart of the Tea Parties, why should anyone engage any of the rest of your wrongheaded nonsense?

      3. Instead of being able to engage their opponents in debate, they concentrate on cheap stunts and playing dress-up games.

        Project much, dude?

  3. I think the quote, “It’s time that we raise up above immature name calling and start talking to the teabaggers,” sums up the attitude of the Left perfectly.

    As for the origins of “teabagger,” I thought it originated with the likes of Keith Oberman on MSNBC. But I cannot say for certain.

    1. I can’t remember whom was first, but cable news anchor accidentally said teabagger on the air…..and a politician (Pelosi, perhaps) called them teabaggers….

      Either way, the current use of teabagger is independent of the effort to send teabags to Congress and is play on Tea Party.

  4. Aside…shouldn’t it be “rise up,” not “raise up?”

    1. It should just be “rise”. “Rise up above” is redundant.

      1. No it isn’t. It can rise, but not to the level of being above X.

        1. “Up” is redundant, though. It’s impossible to “rise down.”

          1. But you can “rise up level to” something. So “rise up above” seems perfectly sound.

            1. + up makes any liberal phrase libertarian.

              “Rise above” = distinctly liberal
              “Rise up above” = libertarian

              “yours” = liberal
              “up yours” = libertarian

  5. I don’t understand why a tea partier would even be offended at being called a “teabagger”. To be a “teabagger” means you are the winner or the one in the top position. You’re nuts are in the other persons face. You are the one humiliating the other person.

    1. I agree. I don’t understand why the partiers are getting all testy about this. There’s no reason at all to sack the use of that term.

      Bollocks to that. I say take hold of those monikers and dangle them in front of your detractors, shoving them right back in their face, and have a ball doing it. To shrink from the name is just plum nuts.

      1. Awesome, thanks for that out loud guffaw my coworkers just heard explode from me.

      2. LOL, that was funny.

        1. Thanks. Every once in a while I can manage to pull out a couple jewels like that and show ’em off. Heyohhhhhhhh.

          1. Yeah, that was funny. My First post here in a few months.

          2. Every once in a while I can manage to pull out a couple jewels like that and show ’em off.

            A couple of “family jewels”? 😉

            1. All I’m saying is, you defiantly swing the teabagger nickname right back at the liberal talkers, and you’ll put more than a few wrinkles in their bluster.

              (Okay, I’m done.)

  6. Myself, I find the “teabagger” label amusing. Some commenter(s) here, however, got very pissed when one of the writers (Nick maybe?) used the term casually in a post about tea parties.

  7. I think the protester holding that sign (or at least whoever made it) knows exactly what it means. If he didn’t, the sign wouldn’t even make any sense.

  8. Instead of being able to engage their opponents in debate, they concentrate on cheap stunts and playing dress-up games.

    Engage in debate? Why don’t you answer the legitimate questions Jesse Walker posed to you (several times), then?

    Or just shut the fuck up.

  9. Hey Lonehacko, quit showing your gorilla mask around here before you get donkey punched. Then have a dirty sanchez laid on your fat lip.

  10. sage, i believe this is what you meant to write: Quit showing your GorillaMask around here before you get DonkeyPunched. Then have a DirtySanchez laid on your FatLip.

    Shut the fuck up, LoneWacko. The number of people who care AtAll about your TeaParty “coverage” is less than one, and that’s including YourSelf.

  11. Teabagging is exactly what they are doing to the liberal establishment.

    That is: We are dunking our libertarian nuts straight in liberal America’s mouth.

    1. Smack ‘er with a dick!
      Smack ‘er with a dick!
      Smack ‘er with a dick!
      Smack ‘er with a dick!

      Put a dick in her ear!
      Put a dick in her ear!

  12. We are dunking our libertarian nuts straight in liberal America’s mouth.

    We are? Can I get in on this?

  13. Love the Sly and the Family Stone reference.

  14. It’s hilariously cute that libertarians – who only got 40,000 votes in CA when that state had no chance of not voting for Kerry – think that they’re having an impact on anything. Even a GOP senator admitted that the whining at August’s events wasn’t that effective.

    Libertarians are simply incapable of engaging the other side; they don’t have the mental capacity and they don’t have the personality type that allows them to engage in effective actions. Instead, they actually think flying a blimp will prove their points.

    P.S. In case anyone replies to this, their responses will almost assuredly be ad homs, thereby conceding my points and showing the childish, anti-intellectual nature of libertarians. Dozens of comments here have shown that the phrase “fascist libertarian” isn’t an oxymoron.

    1. Using multisyllabic words doesn’t mean you aren’t still using ad hom attacks free of any actual legitimate criticism.

      I’ve never seen you try to cop the whole “high-minded intellectual backhanding misbehaving kids” attitude before. It’s cute but doesn’t suit you well, especially since we all know your mom is probably yelling at you to take the trash out.

    2. Something comes to mind about a pot and a kettle, but my mental capacity is too low to quite remember what that might be. Maybe if I wuz a liddle bit smarter like LW I wud no wat I’m trying to think uf.

    3. I’m curious to know who you think constitutes “the other side” relative to libertarians??? Yeah, libertarians are a small minority of the body politic and, yes, of course that makes us wrong. As far as the left and the right are concerned, they deserve each other. Who knows, maybe you’ll come up with a “third way”.

  15. I’m with Ice Trey, a teabagger isn’t the worst thing to be. It was Anderson Cooper that started all the teabagging talk. He knew exactly what teabagging is all about.

  16. Don’t teabag with Warty. When you give him the safe word, he often ignores you.

  17. May I have the honors?

    Shut the fuck up Lonewacko.

    I have arrived!!!!

  18. We are dunking our libertarian nuts straight in liberal America’s mouth.

    Or as I call it, Wednesday afternoon.

  19. I don’t have time to do complete research but taking advantage of Google News date based search. It looks like the California Tea Party has been utilizing tea bags in their protest since at least 2003.

    In 2003 the “California Tea Party” handed out tea bags to protest handling of taxes.

    1. Sorry to burst your bubble Bees, but teabaggers are racists; and the president in 2003 was white. Couldn’t happen.

      1. Obama was white in 2003?

        1. That would have been clever if I had said the president was white in 2003. As it stands, it just makes you look illiterate. Congratulations.

          1. Congratulations on not knowing when your totally asinine statement was being punked. Only one of the two of you comes off looking a little thick there, and it wasn’t bees.

  20. It’s hilariously cute how startlingly little self-awareness LoneWacko continues to show. But i’ll play along: yes, Chris, your little YouTube videos of ToughQuestions have had such a tremendous impact on the PoliticalDebate in this country, and your ability to stay on point and respond to challenges in debate here at Hit’n’Run is wondrous to behold. Plus it’s awesome that you have never, ever stooped to using ad hominem attacks. Not once.

    Shut the fuck up, LoneWacko.

  21. The Boy asked me (if he went to a protest) if it would OK to throw teabags at the police. I think he was serious. 🙂

    We discussed that at length.

  22. I thought Lone Whacko disappeared in Old Mexico a year or so ago.

  23. The “teabagger” thing was popularized by some sniggering CNN hosts, I forget which ones, who thought it was the cleverest insult ever.

  24. The first time I heard anyone making fun of it was by Jon Stewart.

  25. “which was taken at an early tea party and thus suggests that a single clueless demonstrator might be responsible for everything.”

    My first exposure to the Teabagging idea was after being killed in an online shooting game and having my opponent dip his digital balls in my mouth. Perhaps this “clueless” protester knew EXACTLY what his sign meant: Kill the Liberal Dems (or their ideas at least) and dip your balls in their mouth BEFORE they do it to you (which they surly will, given the chance).

  26. I doubt the Teabagger moniker can be traced to just one place. Anyone who’s played an online FPS is familiar with teabagging; I know it was one of the first things that popped into my head when I heard about tea bag protests.

    Personally, I’m planning to attend the next Teabaggin’ protest in my city, and I don’t mind the name. All this outrage over it just feels forced. It reminds me of the phony liberal outrage a few years back when Schwarzenegger called the legislature girlie men.


    1. multiple meanings. 1) one who carries large bags of packaged tea for shipment. 2) a man that squats on top of a womens face and lowers his genitals into her mouth during sex, known as “teabagging” 3) one who has a job or talent that is low in social status 4) a person who is unaware that they have said or done something foolish, childlike, noobish, lame, or inconvenient. 5) also see “fagbag”, “lamer”, “noob”

    I have been aware of the second meaning for quite a while. Note that none of these refer to any politics; the entry was clearly made before before the lefties started their insults.

    1. Looking up the definition? You’re stretching, George.

  28. First time I heard it was at The Fudge Palace.

  29. Just to be clear: I’m aware that teabagging has had a sexual meaning for years, and I’m aware that there have been several protests involving tea bags. What I’m curious about is when the tea party protesters started being referred to as “teabaggers” as a sexual double entendre. I don’t remember it happening before that photo went viral, but my memory ain’t everything.

  30. What I’m curious about is when the tea party protesters started being referred to as “teabaggers” as a sexual double entendre.

    I’m sticking with The Daily Show. I’ll see if I can find a link.

  31. Wow, you can watch a lot of their show. But there’s too much to sift through. Sorry.

  32. My sack, your face!

  33. ‘What I’m curious about is when the tea party protesters started being referred to as “teabaggers” as a sexual double entendre. I don’t remember it happening before that photo went viral, but my memory ain’t everything.’

    Well, Jesse, the first recorded use was by Governor Hutchinson, the pro-British governor of Massachusetts in 1773.

    From Governor Hutchinson’s blog:

    ‘I see that Samuel Adams has moved from brewing beer to teabagging, lol.’

    Hutchinson also referred to John Adams as a ‘wig-er’ because of the latter’s artifician hair.

    Glad to be of service.

    1. artifician made it more authentic in my head

  34. The earliest applicable “teabagging” reference in the Nexis database is this Wonkette post (yes, apparently Gawker properties are now archived by Nexis). It’s from Feb. 27, the day of the first Rick Santelli-spurred protests:…..-poop-hats

    The Nexis database shows a a few scattered “teabagger” references from early March. Interesting to note the dismissive tone already in place — the left wasted no time starting its marginalization magic. They were never gonna let these folks be anything but “crackpots” and “loose nuts.” It’s the standard, instinctive leftist strategy to isolate-and-ridicule, and it really is near breathtaking to watch it unfold.

    I know it’s a cliche, but libertarians and the right have to gain command the cultural voice if they ever are to have a chance of driving political change. It really is hopeless otherwise. (Big cheers to Andrew Breitbart in this regard — he gets it.)

    1. “command of,” sigh.

    2. Tom, here are some free-range truths for you to digest:

      1) libertarians and the Right are fundamentally at odds. I don’t care what Beck and Hannity are calling themselves now. Once Team Red gets back in power, any libertarians dumb enough to believe them will be tossed off the boat like week-old shrimp.

      2) Because the liberaltarian is a will o’ wisp, and conservatives will ditch us faster than a bride in Jamaica, the Command n’ Control tactic is a sure failure. But don’t lose hope, there is another way. Think of it as the Wargames approach. The only way to win their slimy little game is not to play. As the asinine antics of both teams start to wear on people, they will start to look for a saner, more intellectually honest alternative. That means either us or communitarianism. And we have running water.

      1. libertarians and the Right are fundamentally at odds.

        I knew my post might invite this sort of response, but I didn’t want to bog down in the sort of parsing required to convey the point more precisely.

        Yes, I know that in many ways libertarianism is at odds with some parts of some blocs of American conservatism, particularly the populism of today’s movement conservatism (and definitely whatever the Republicans are).

        But ultimately I still see the right as far more of a natural ally than the left. At least the former merely violates the principles we hold dear, rather than violating them because of principles that are in direct opposition.

        (Not to mention, a lot of this comes down to semantics: I don’t necessarily consider Hannity to be of the right, no matter what he calls himself. It’s like calling George Bush a “conservative” — well, sure, you can call him that, but in action he was really center-left. “Conservatives” who pass prescription-drug entitlements aren’t actually being conservative, so my message doesn’t apply to them anyway.)

        1. That’s like saying “liberals” who support single-payer health care aren’t really liberals because that idea completely runs counter to the idea of a liberal government. But these words are meaningless due to overuse by those in opposition to their original meaning.

      2. The rank and file of the right is much more supportive of cutting government and taxes than the rank and file of the left.

  35. Max: That was funny.

    Tom: Thanks for the Wonkette reference. I see the post includes the same photo I posted, so there’s a good chance they were inspired by it.

  36. Hmmm… the comments section in this blog post about a proto-tea party event finds the pun getting traction… in 2007:…..aryId=8665

    1. Thanks again. I guess the joke is obvious enough to break out spontaneously every time there’s a protest involving tea.

      1. No problem. Stuff like this is always a bit intriguing to me too.

        I realize now I neglected Reason when applauding Breitbart for his cultural savvy — but yeah, you guys are pretty sharp on the culture front too.

  37. OT: Arne Duncan and Eric Holder announce that an emergency Department of Education grant will be awarded to Chicago’s Fenger H.S. for its outstanding achievement in something or other…


  38. But if anyone heard the word in this context before that picture started circulating in late February

    I don;t know about February but the meme of leftists call the tea party goers teabaggers originated from from Janeane Garofalo…and i am pretty sure the claim that they are racists start from her comments as well.…..r_embedded


      actaul video of her saying it

  39. Better to be a Tea-Bagger than a Tea-Baggee unless you’re Barney Frank of course.

  40. Janeane Garofalo. It must be a terrible thing to go through life with a last name that sounds like someone projectile vomiting. 😉

  41. I always thought those kids knew exactly what they were saying — I read it that way immediately and thought it was hilarious. “Teabagging” was in this way originally used against big-government spenders, not against anti-government demonstrators.

  42. At this point, I do think the tea partiers should adopt the moniker and use it proudly.

    Proposed t-shirt:

    Better a Teabagger Than a Teabaggee.

    Of course, its the illo for the t-shirt that will really make it work or not.

    1. Oooh, and I could imagine all the dumb Leftist chicks just freaking out about that.

      To which I can reply, “Suck my balls, bitch.”

  43. Wow, the teabagger rallies have really started snowballing in the past year.

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