How To Understand The “Tea Party” Phenomenon

Simply mentally replace the phrase “tea party” with “hissy fit” and it really clears things up. For example, the Instapundit’s editorial in the WSJ (further proof, no doubt, of the grass roots nature of this event!):

Today American taxpayers in more than 300 locations in all 50 states will hold rallies — dubbed “tea parties” “Hissy fits” — to protest higher taxes and out-of-control government spending. There is no political party behind these rallies, no grand right-wing conspiracy, not even a 501(c) group like MoveOn.org.

So who’s behind the Tax Day tea parties hissy fits? Ordinary folks who are using the power of the Internet to organize…

The protests began with bloggers in Seattle, Wash., who organized a demonstration on Feb. 16. As word of this spread, rallies in Denver and Mesa, Ariz., were quickly organized for the next day. Then came CNBC talker Rick Santelli’s Feb. 19 “rant heard round the world” in which he called for a “Chicago tea party” “Chicago hissy fit” on July Fourth. The tea-party hissy fit moniker stuck, but angry taxpayers weren’t willing to wait until July. Soon, tea-party protests hissy fits were appearing in one city after another, drawing at first hundreds, and then thousands, to marches in cities from Orlando to Kansas City to Cincinnati.

I hope that helps you.

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48 replies
  1. 1
    Captain Haddock says:

    It will be interesting to compare the coverage of these rather tiny events with the massive anti war protests we saw with Iraq.

    Actually, it won’t be interesting at all. It will be rather predictable.

  2. 2
    Incertus says:

    I hope the teabaggers have a mouth-watering good time today.

  3. 3
    Apsaras says:

    While the mental Find/Replace is always good, I’d like to recommend Taibbi’s recent post on Peasant Mentality.

    It requires serious mental gymnastics to describe the Obama administration — particularly the Obama administration of recent weeks, which has given away billions to Wall Street and bent over backwards to avoid nationalization and pursue a policy that preserves the private for-profit status of the bailed-out banks — as a militaristic dictatorship of anti-wealth, anti-private property forces.

    As they say, read the whole thing.

  4. 4
    Dennis-SGMM says:

    "Some call you gullible lunatics who are fighting against their own economic self-interest. I call you my base."
    Sarah Palin – 2009

  5. 5
    gbear says:

    Hissy fit indeed. Heheh.

    Here’s a (pg rated) video that shows the inspiration that some people (and non-people) get from their teabags.

  6. 6
    someguy says:

    Well, they also fit the label of "single issue right wing extremists." So maybe it’s not as innocent as you make it out to be.

  7. 7
    sgwhiteinfla says:

    Great segment on Rachel Maddow last night about how this was really a libertarian Ron Paul movement that got hijacked.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908/#30218165

    The zinger at Alan Keyes at the end was both very personal and AWESOME.

  8. 8
    lucy says:

    Captain Haddock, you are so right.

  9. 9
    zoe kentucky in pittsburgh says:

    As a lefty who lived in DC for 8 years I went to my share of big political protests. However, it has always been fairly clear to me that the vast majority of protests are only marginally effective, most of the time they do little more than make the participants feel good about themselves, like they’re doing "something."

    What I do find truly amusing as well as ironic is how much these rightwingers are mimicking the left’s protests– lots of different groups, different agendas, all protesting without a unifying message. What does the American public think about these kinds of protests? As far as I can tell, nothing.

  10. 10
    ** Atanarjuat ** says:

    It’s always amazing to me how the very rich can so artfully manipulate the not-so-rich into supporting initiatives that only benefit the former group to the detriment of the latter.

    I guess being deceptive, manipulative, and ruthless are the qualities that are needed to become rich and to remain that way. The Tea Party protesters are witless rubes in service to their more "deserving" betters, and they seem not to realize this (or care) because the con job has been very successful so far, thanks to Fox News, FreedomWorks, and other lobbyist-driven right-wing think tanks who pretend the the entire affair is somehow "grassroots."

    All that being said, I feel very badly for these deluded folk who are joining the Tea Parties. I just hope that given time and information, they’ll eventually be persuaded to see the error of supporting corporate-friendly shams like these radical, anti-government Tea Parties (because that’s exactly what they are) and they’ll abandon this pointless and misleading cause in droves.

    -A

  11. 11
    Comrade Scrutinizer says:

    @** Atanarjuat **:
    Who are you, and what did you do with Atanarjuat?

  12. 12

    When you feel compelled to run a piece about how your "grassroots" protests are so TOTALLY not astroturf, something has gone off the rails.

  13. 13
    vishnu schizt says:

    I say congrats to the teabaggers. At least they are directing energy toward making up incoherent signs, misspelling words and using piss poor grammar, rather than plotting to blow up the post office. Instead of the dirty fucking hippie (DFH), we now have the FWD (Fat White Dumbass). In the videos I’ve seen, not one of these "tax protesters" has ever seen the inside of a gym. I imagine they all wolf down a McBreakfast on their way to a day of flatuence, heartburn and fighting windmills. Also what the hell is it with the far right and shaved heads, unfashionable eyeglasses and ugly clothing? Yes, I’m being superficial and I don’t give shit. Well I guess you can’t get much fashion buying clothes, eyecare and a haircut at Wal-Mart. Just a note to all FWD’s wearing camo makes you look like an asshole. Unless you are some hot chick with camo pants. That is way hot, but then you are a most likely a DFH.

    Also, when I see a DFH protest on a Wednesday, I expect it to be full of dreadlocked potheads, alt-lifestyle types, baristas, students, etc. You know the stoned, unemployed, etc. But the FWD’s you know "the producers" in this meme, shouldn’t they be out running John Galt’s engine of the world? Or in reality, are these fuckheads really your bored, retired Uncle Joe and Aunt Mildred, and that really pissed off shaved head dude that just lost his job at U-haul?

    Listen, I’m all for wildly misinformed protest marches. Hell I’m in Portland, OR. We eat that up. It’s just that when I see these things, I’d rather look at hot hippie chicks with tattoos than some middle aged white woman with all the sex appeal of a beer truck. Not that middle aged women can’t be hot. Sarah’s pretty… kinda….um… hot. I love MILF’s. There is this one brunette at the the gym, probably 45..holy shit she is hot. What was the point of this post?

  14. 14
    Trinity says:

    @Apsaras: The Taibbi piece is brilliant. Thanks for sharing.

  15. 15
    Dexter Morgan says:

    What I do find truly amusing as well as ironic is how much these rightwingers are mimicking the left’s protests—lots of different groups, different agendas, all protesting without a unifying message. What does the American public think about these kinds of protests?

    If the Rightists are indeed taking a page from Leftist protesters I hope we’ll be seeing lots of giant, paper-mâché puppets today. And burnings in effigy.

  16. 16
    Zifnab says:

    As a resident of Tom DeLay’s proud district of Sugar Land, I’ll be on the steps of city hall taping my local disaster in hopes of catching epic wingnut win.

  17. 17
    canuckistani says:

    First Charles Johnson isn’t crazy, then Atanarjuat.. something really scary must be sneaking up on me.

  18. 18
    Dexter Morgan says:

    Not that middle aged women can’t be hot. Sarah’s pretty… kinda….um… hot. I love MILF’s. There is this one brunette at the the gym, probably 45..holy shit she is hot. What was the point of this post?

    That older women are often very very hot. Amen.

  19. 19
    Wilson Heath says:

    If these loons have one of their hissy fits near my building, I’ll have to take my mug of coffee downstairs to mock them. Tea?! For frak’s sake, that’s so European!

  20. 20
    D.N. Nation says:

    Oh brother. Reynolds wrote essentially this exact same column for the NYP. Heh, indoodle.

  21. 21
    bob h says:

    The teabag shmuck participants seem to be drawn from the lower social orders who are actually getting tax cuts from Obama (starting on April 1). Yet they protest they are Taxed Enough Already.

    They seem to be going into the streets to protest plans to make the higher income earners, none of whom would be caught dead at these protests, to pay their fair share of taxes.

    These people really are nuts.

  22. 22
    drumwolf says:

    @zoe kentucky in pittsburgh:

    I too attended the antiwar protests regularly back in the day, and I agree that in retrospect they didn’t do much. Especially since about 99% of those protests were organized by the clowns at International ANSWER and other socialist groups. (And I mean proudly self-proclaimed socialist, not the right-wing definition of SOSHULIZM!!!11!!. Some of these groups even think the freakin’ GREEN PARTY is part of the corrupt capitalist system.)

    Here’s hoping that the clowns behind the Tea Party protests remain every bit as marginal and irrelevant as folks like International ANSWER.

  23. 23

    […] April 15, 2009 by Robin G Dad: Have you heard about all these tea party protest things? […]

  24. 24
    Zifnab says:

    @bob h: Again. Sugar Land. Mean income for my parents neighborhood is the middle six figures. I guarantee they’re all getting a tax hike… eventually. Although, they’ll also likely have received a tax cut from Obama’s update to the AMT. But that hardly counts.

  25. 25
    Cat Lady says:

    Matt Taibbi channelling Thomas Franks in way less words. Peasant rubes storming the master’s house demanding lower taxes for the master. WTF.

    I imagine they all wolf down a McBreakfast on their way to a day of flatulence, heartburn and fighting windmills

    FTW.

  26. 26
    drumwolf says:

    @vishnu schizt:

    Listen, I’m all for wildly misinformed protest marches. Hell I’m in Portland, OR. We eat that up. It’s just that when I see these things, I’d rather look at hot hippie chicks with tattoos than some middle aged white woman with all the sex appeal of a beer truck. Not that middle aged women can’t be hot. Sarah’s pretty… kinda….um… hot. I love MILF’s. There is this one brunette at the the gym, probably 45..holy shit she is hot. What was the point of this post?

    The point is that left-wing protestors tend to have a much, much higher ratio of cuties than right-wing protests do.

    I’m in San Francisco, and in addition to protests against the war in Iraq, we also get a lot of pro-Palestinian protests with the same people, including lots of hot hippie chicks. Well, one day, some folks on the pro-Israel side decided to have their own counterprotest. I ended up seeing some of it. Half the signs there said "Christians for Israel." The majority of these folks were white, middle-aged and older, and obviously not Jews but stuffy old white Christian Republicans bused in from places like Pleasanton or Tracy.

  27. 27
    Ash Can says:

    @vishnu schizt:

    I’d rather look at hot hippie chicks with tattoos than some middle aged white woman with all the sex appeal of a beer truck.

    LOL! Furthermore, I’m a straight female, and lemme tellya, beer trucks look one sweet hell of a lot better to me than the mouthbreathing dimwit guys waving their "morans" signs around. (I was going to say, "waving their teabags around," but I still want to be able to eat some breakfast this morning…)

  28. 28
    Robin G. says:

    @vishnu schizt:

    I imagine they all wolf down a McBreakfast on their way to a day of flatuence, heartburn and fighting windmills.

    Let’s not go dragging Don Quixote into this. Don Quixote is crazy but awesome. Teabaggers are just crazy.

  29. 29
    Svensker says:

    @vishnu schizt:

    What is the point of this post?

    Well, it amused the hell outta me.

  30. 30
    Jennifer says:

    I read on Big Hollywood Butthurt yesterday about how they’re going to have Jumbotrons set up at at least 8 of these events. You know, the Jumbotron is the hallmark of true grassroots protesting.

    Aside from that, the day before yesterday, FreedomWorks (who just coincidentally has underwritten/sponsored/or otherwise helped organize these grassroots protests via websites etc.) sent out an email to all the teabaggers under the signature of Dick Armey, informing them that a lot of their teabagging cohorts were actually going to be protesting in favor of a flat tax. Which is funny, because of all the incoherent reasons I’ve heard voiced over the past 2 months about why the teabaggers are teabagging, the flat tax has never been mentioned once.

    Anyhoo, I’ve got a twenty that says that by Thursday at the latest, Armey and Co will be all over the airwaves claiming that the teabagging was actually a huge grassroots protest for instituting a flat tax. The "proof" will be that they all signed up for the teabagging via websites sponsored by FreedomWorks, whose agenda is…the flat tax. Fox News will immediately concur, and the teabaggers themselves won’t make a peep, since generally they’re game for opposing or supporting whatever their masters tell them they should support or oppose. And by Sunday at the latest, Broder will be solemnly intoning about the need for "bipartisanship" in drafting new flat tax legislation.

    There truly is nothing new under the sun. Though seeing the teabaggers being informed at the last moment about what it is they are protesting against/in favor of – at the same moment I was finding out about it – and while at the same time they were vociferiously denying that it was all just a big astroturfing effort – that was really special. Apparently there are a lot of rightwingers who live to be pwn3d.

  31. 31

    […] See Also: Kind Of Sad, The peasant mentality lives on in America, Failsauce, Right-Wing Extremism: The Absurd And The Obvious, Republicans: The Really, Really, Really Stupid Party, Fox News’ Promotion Of Tea Parties Shatters Their Credibility, O Frabjous Day! Callooh! Callay!, Tax Day Protestors — Time To Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is, FreedomWorks Behind Tax Day Tea Party Protests, Tea bagging, The rich buy the stupid and manufacture a movement…, and How To Understand The “Tea Party” Phenomenon. […]

  32. 32
    TR says:

    That Taibbi piece is, as always, terrific.

    pinhead Midwestern congresswoman Michelle Bachmann, a woman who is looking more and more like George Foreman to Sarah Palin’s Joe Frazier in the Heavyweight Championship of Stupid. Down goes Frazier! Down goes Frazier!

  33. 33
    Jennifer says:

    Uh, would someone please take my comment at 10:37 out of moderation? There’s nothing immoderate about it, I promise.

  34. 34
    Jennifer says:

    Great. So I guess all my comments will get sucked into the "moderation" black hole.

  35. 35

    One million tea bags delivered to a Washington, D.C., park were reloaded and sent away because tea party organizers did not have the proper permit.
    The massive shipment of tea to Lafayette Park was meant to be the start of a day of protests expected across the country by people fed up with high taxes and excess spending.
    But the tea was reloaded back onto a truck and sent away, protest organizer Rebecca Wales told FOX News.

    From the top of Fox’s current TP story.

    Off to a great start!

  36. 36
    Evinfuilt says:

    @Zifnab:
    I lived there for my first couple years in Houston (while Delay was still in charge.) You’re right, a lot of those neighborhoods in Sugarland are full of people who will have there taxes slightly raised.

    But they won’t be bothered to leave their giant air condition mansions (a former boss of mine, who lived there, his monthly AC bill was more than most mortgages) to go protest, that’s what the rubes are for.

    Now I’m in Ron Pauls district, this is where the rubes live (many in McMansions), they’re off to go protest.

  37. 37
    Seanly says:

    RE: Insta-cracker ~

    The lady douchebag doth protest too much.

  38. 38
    Cain says:

    @Comrade Scrutinizer:

    Who are you, and what did you do with Atanarjuat?

    The fucker is doing an about face. We are losing our entertainment! Smack him around, we want the original guy back!

    cain

  39. 39
    Mattski says:

    @** Atanarjuat **: somebody forgot to change their sock puppet name?

  40. 40
    JosieJ says:

    @Cain:

    There’s "Atanarjuat" and "**Atanarjuat**". The latter is a spoof.

    I’m just waiting to find out who "**Atanarjuat**" is–s/he had some classic spoof there!

  41. 41
    Bill Teefy says:

    @HitlerWorshippingPuppyKicker:
    Something is wrong in America when people cannot dump their stuff in a public park with out permission from Obama.

  42. 42
    Interrobang says:

    I heard an item on the news today that said that the average Canadian would pay $17 000 to replace goods and services obtained through taxes with privately-contracted equivalents. The sound of wingnut heads exploding was gratifying, and audible even through the thick walls of my Edwardian cottage…

    I sure don’t pay seventeen grand in taxes (very few people do), but if I could get more services (pharmacare and socialised dental would be nice for a start), I’d sure pay more than I’m paying now. It’s amazing what you can do when you eliminate the middleman profit motive. What a bargain!

    Teabag that, assholes…

  43. 43
    DanSmoot'sGhost says:

    @Bill Teefy:

    Especially when they had permission from Newt Gingrich!

  44. 44
    Pasquinade says:

    re: reference to teabagging party in Kansas City

    According to Google Maps Tea Party Site, the Kansas City tea party is being held at the Liberty Memorial – long known (decades) as a meeting place for gays. In fact, that’s where the Gay Pride Parades are held.

    That KC organizer has to be a plant.

  45. 45
    Church Lady says:

    I just don’t see the point of making fun of people protesting the government taking a direction they don’t like.

    Protesting against government action is the American way. Will it accomplish anything? Probably not, as most protests (unless sustained over a long period of time, such as those against the war in Vietnam) do not. However, the derision being directed at people simply protesting ever increasing government spending and ever escalating deficits is rather hypocritical. Unless, of course, you heaped equal scorn on the protesters of the Iraq war, or the protesters against the passage of Prop 8, or openly laughed at the Million Man March, just to name a few.

  46. 46
    Norris Hall says:

    Let’s cut the bloated military budget.

    This year’s Pentagon budget runs about 500 billion dollars…20 times more than the entire military budget of China…a growing rival power with 3 times the population of the US.
    Just the Pentagon’s cost overruns and waste would be enough to finance China’s entire military budget.

  47. 47
    Veeshir says:

    Still the funniest place on the intertubes.

  48. 48

    […] being the case, what the heck is with these anti-tax “tea parties”? Is it in fact a faux-grassroots (tea tree roots?) movement? Have you noticed that most of the […]

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] being the case, what the heck is with these anti-tax “tea parties”? Is it in fact a faux-grassroots (tea tree roots?) movement? Have you noticed that most of the […]

  2. […] See Also: Kind Of Sad, The peasant mentality lives on in America, Failsauce, Right-Wing Extremism: The Absurd And The Obvious, Republicans: The Really, Really, Really Stupid Party, Fox News’ Promotion Of Tea Parties Shatters Their Credibility, O Frabjous Day! Callooh! Callay!, Tax Day Protestors — Time To Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is, FreedomWorks Behind Tax Day Tea Party Protests, Tea bagging, The rich buy the stupid and manufacture a movement…, and How To Understand The “Tea Party” Phenomenon. […]

  3. […] April 15, 2009 by Robin G Dad: Have you heard about all these tea party protest things? […]

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