TeaBagging: The Arch-Capitalists’ Pseudo-Popular, Pseudo-Democratic, Pseudo-Patriotic Assault On Real Democracy

The following is by Guest Blogger, 5thstate.  Enjoy!

Modern Times Teabaggers

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The Adventure Begins: From to Tea to Teabags.

Supposedly, from a single “Howard Beal”-like rant on February 19, 2009, from trader, turned CNBC “on-air editor,” Rick Santelli about how the Homeowner’s Affordability and Stability Plan promoted the “bad behavior” of foreclosed homeowners, a “grassroots” nationwide anti-tax “Tea Party” movement was born.

Well, not quite.

It was the ardent Libertarian supporters of Republican presidential hopeful Ron Paul who revived the “Tea Party” banner (under which to protest government fiscal policy) that was first applied by proto-revolutionary American colonials in 1773.

The spirit and efficacy of the “Tea Party” slogan was however severely diminished when the genuinely grassroots “Paultards” publicity scheme to dump tea into Boston harbor from a Ron Paul-emblazoned blimp literally never got off the ground.

The cost of the blimp hire was $100,000.  Strangely not even 10,000 supposedly fiscally responsible Libertarians could pony up the ten dollars-each needed to change American political history forever!

So the “Tea Party” as the Libertarians had envisaged it retired, deflated, to a rusty shed at the edge of the political scene — much like Ron Paul himself, actually.

The Gathering Storm in a Teacup.

But as the summer of 2008 entered its last months, the political winds changed dramatically:  unregulated free-market teacups began rattling as the cucumber canapés of finance suddenly went limp and soggy.

Dark clouds burst over the laissez-faire Republican picnic whilst ants of despair invaded the egg-and-watercress sandwiches of certitude!  The stock market headed for the basement like a half-dressed slasher movie teenager, and the housing market collapsed like an outsourced KBR deck-chair.

As the Republicans demanded that the band play louder to drown out the noise of breaking capitalist crockery and tried to calm the panicking masses by pointing out that the picnic hadn’t been attacked by swarms of killer bees lately, a dark-skinned community organizer (who the Grand Old Party-ers had assumed was there to serve sandwiches) stepped forward with ideas on how to clean up the mess and get the party swinging again—and to the Republicans’ dismay the people listened.

Desperate to distract the crowd from the smooth-tongued party-crasher, the Republicans tried throwing cream cakes and cocktail sausages at him, but none of them stuck.

Then they shoved an Alaskan Hoochie-Coochie dancer onto the stage but, whilst easy on the eyes, she couldn’t sing or dance and she was obviously just a prick-tease — for all her winking and sassiness she wasn’t going to put out for anything less than designer clothes, a swank apartment, an armored limo, and a private jet.

For the frat-house Republicans, the party was over.

Their atomic-wedgie antics and beer-binging on the family credit card had run their natural course.

Dad’s classic Ferrari was backwards in a ditch; Mom’s lingerie was scattered around the garden; half a dozen girls were knocked-out on ‘rufies’ and knocked-up; someone had puked on the dog; the record player was skipping on “Where Eagles Soar”; and the Skull & Bones had run out of freshman “pledges” they usually could force make the place look respectable again.

Meanwhile everyone else had gone next door with the cool black kid and partied with the wonks, the mathletes, the A/V club with their cool viral videos, and their rockstar/Hollywood friends — and had the best party ever!

Then the cool black kid was voted Prom King, and the wonky chick the Jocks had been calling a bitch and a lesbian since her freshman year became President of the Student Council, and everyone clapped and cheered — except the Jocks and their blond-haired pep squad who began slapping each other in an epic blame snit.

A Steaming “Fresh” Pot o’ Tea.

But the Grand Old Party, written off by a so-called “majority” in November 2008, as being fresh out of ideas (and workable policies, and common sense), weren’t going to be so easily “dissed.”  But how could they challenge the ghastly present?

By looking to the past!  But not to Ronald Reagan, as per usual, but all the way back to “The Beginning,” and it was there they found their 21st Century future — in the 18th Century “Tea Party” protests!

What worked then could work again!  Only this time instead of using old fashioned tea-boxes, they’d be using the advanced early-20th Century technology of the tea bag!!

With this simple innovation, newly aroused Republicans were sure that with the right exposure, teabagging would soon be so “in your face” that the Obama-nation of wonky gay liberals would be open-mouthed in surprise, and forced to submit to the will of the suddenly swollen ranks of the frustrated McCainiacs and Palin-drones!

Reading the Tea Leaves.

Well, as most of us in the rational world knew it would (despite FOX News’s blatant promotion of teabagging as a mainstream activity), the mass teabagging of the present legitimately elected administration and its policies turned into a rather flaccid display — a fumbling grope at relevance that resulted in a premature ejaculation of misdirected populism, if you will.

Eric Odom claimed that 760 cities in all 50 states and Washington DC would be teabagged whilst some FOX News Teabagging enthusiasts projected over a million participants.

But when statistician Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight.com collated all the publicly available estimates of the April 15th event he came up with a total of 311,460 between 346 cities — in other words about 40% less than Glen Beck’s average total-viewer ratings during his last failed month on HLN (492, 000) before joining FOX.

So anyway, what did an average crowd of 900 Teabaggers per city have to protest about, exactly?

“The main theme” insisted Chicago-based internet activist Eric Odom, “is that we’re frustrated with government spending. There’s no accountability, there’s no transparency.”

I’m sure we all owe Eric Odom a huge “debt” (ha ha, a little financial crisis joke there) for drawing attention to the fact that Government is apparently maxing-out its credit card on necessities — but it seems a little strange that Eric has noticed this only since January of 2009.

After all, George Bush threw the $250 billion savings account money out of the window in 2002 whilst cutting the government’s “wages.”  Then he began charging $100 billion a year for 7 years to finance the war he always wanted, whilst refusing to pay even the minimum on the account.

Why it’s almost as though Eric completely forgot his deeply felt passion for accountability until, coincidentally I’m sure, a Democrat won the White House.

But some Teabaggers (and their media cheerleaders) insisted that their protests had nothing at all to do with Party politics, but rather with fundamental principles:

“This is not a Republican or a Democrat (sic) issue, this is an issue of the federal government ripping off the people,” said Abraham Mudrick of Oregon, whose sign protested the US federal reserve as a clandestine puppet master.  “This is a civil liberties issue.  This is an issue of our freedom, and breaking the chains of taxation without representation.”

There was certainly plenty of evidence that it was “not a Democrat (sic) issue,” in that no identifiable Democrats promoted the event in any positive fashion, nor did any speak on the day in support of the “movement’.”  However, someone forgot to tell many prominent Republicans and conservatives that it was “not a Republican [issue]” because an awful lot of them showed up and acted like it was a GOP rally.

“T.E.A. — Taxed Enough Already!” was supposedly the “official” slogan of the Teabaggers, but from the pre-event comments and media coverage, it seems a significant majority had their own ideas as to what they were protesting, such as:

“Smile You’re On Napolitano TV” and “Your Mortgage is Not My Problem!” (on one stick).

“Obama Terrorist To America — In God We Trust”

“Obama is the Anti-Christ/Oust Obama” (a “professional’”placard)

“Obama’s Plan/White Slavery” (another “professional” placard, same style as above)

“Bilking Anti-Constitutional Reigning Authoritarian Communist King”

“Don’t blame me I voted for Sarah”

“Never forget everything Hitler did was legal” (“professional” placard)

“If Your (sic) A Socialist Liberal Politician You Should Be Scared Of Me — Very Scared”

Right, so seeing as every one of these sentiments and accusations were encouraged and promoted exclusively by the McCain-Palin campaign and their GOP surrogates, it’s pretty obvious that the typical sign-carrying “Teabagger” is in fact a hard-core Republican:  a fearful, bigoted, racist, religious zealot, willfully ignorant of facts, logic, basic economics, the structure, principles, and functions of representational government, or the principles and content of the Constitution of the United States.

But what mattered to the new/old Tea Party’s participants was not the harmony of their message, but the volume — and for the Republican poobahs and their noisome media cheerleaders, volume equals veracity!  So they cranked the amp up to 11.  (After all, how many kick-ass rock songs do you like that you still don’t know the words to, or can’t make sense of, even if you do? — Blinded by the Light, for instance?)

Now volume is all very well, but what every movement needs is a symbol to identify with and rally around (like the “chicken foot” peace symbol, the swastika, the Christian fish/cross). thus they selected the teabag as their symbol, linking the revolutionary spirit of the past with the present-day “Real American” spirit of individualized convenience packaging and disposability.

Of course the big bad government they should have been railing against was the government that they had blindly defended for 8 years, NOT the 3-month old government that they obviously didn’t vote for.

Black, Oolong, Green or White? — White Please!

Those who cried “Taxed Enough Already” were too busy shouting to notice that they’d all just received a tax cut, ignored the fact that they were protesting on tax-payer funded property whilst tax-payer funded police ensured their public safety, disregarded the fact that Obama had eliminated the expense of a new helicopter fleet ($5-7 billion saved) and halted spending any more on the pointless F-22 ($30+ billion saved) and completely failed to appreciate that some in their ranks might soon be dependent on taxpayer-funded food stamps.

And then they also had to ignore the fact that most of their own states (excepting Texas and Florida) depend on Democratic states for annual Federal aid.

And then there were the “socialist” bailouts that had some of their teabags in a twist — which were kicked off by Bush and his Fed appointees, and were deemed necessary in the first place because of years of Republican deregulation that allowed high-financiers to leverage taxpayers’ retirement funds at 35:1, inflating the housing market whilst real wages were being depressed due to increased energy costs, off-shoring of jobs and massive personal profit-taking by income tax-avoiding CEOs — even as their various industries received tax breaks from the Bush administration.

But none of this matters to the Teabaggers.  Victims of their own stupidity and ignorance and the venal greed of those THEY voted into power and kept in power for 8 years, their only course of action is not to examine themselves or pay attention to the facts — to do so would be to utterly shatter all their preconceptions — but to have a “thrombo,” and not only blame all their ills on “the new guy,” but to invent even greater horrors and lay them at his apparently cloven feet.

It’s no wonder there were no clear chants or memorable protest songs at these “Tea parties” — what might they have sounded like?

Call:  “What Do We Not Want?!”

Response:  “High-speed trains to whorehouses!  Volcano monitoring!  Marsh mouse protection!  White slavery!  White slavery, specifically, is very bad!!!”

Call:  “And When Do We Not Want It…er…Them?!”

Response:  “Now!  No, wait…er ..Then!  Um…could you rephrase the question?!”

Or…

Okay! Everyone join hands, but not in a gay hippie way, and sing with me — “We will over re-aaaact. We will over ree-aaact…”

Or…

And now, all you “Real Americans,” give it up for Martha Washington and the Evangellas!

Callin’ out around the States
Are you mad that you were beat?
Summer’s here and we’re totally queer
For teabagging in the streets
They’re teabaggin’ in Chicago
Maybe New Orleans
Not in New York City

All we need is morans, sweet morans

There’ll be morans everywhere
There’ll be whingin’ and wailin’ and people prayin’
And teabaggin’ in the streets

Oh, it don’t matter you lost in 08

Just as long as you bring the hate
So come on, every moran grab a sign
Everywhere we’re gonna whine

There’ll be teabaggin’
Teabagging in the street…

What might have been…..!

But giving credit where credit is due (ha-ha, another ironic financial crisis joke, there), the neo- revolutionaries didn’t riot when the government told them they didn’t have the necessary permits to dump a million teabags on a public thoroughfare or in the Potomac.

It was quite refreshing to see such respect for the very type of taxpayer funded, individual-crushing authority and suppression of free speech that many of them there were supposedly protesting against.

There were also no participant arrests — unlike for example, at non-violent, non-sponsored, non-media empire promoted actual grass-roots liberal/progressive protests against the illegal Iraq War.  (Note: An Oklahoma City man was arrested the day after — on April 16th — for making numerous death threats on Twitter against just about everyone and everything, for “reasons” yet to be explained by mental health specialists.)

So although the hoped-for Tea Party “revolution” was indeed televised, six in ten Americans were too busy praising Obama’s plans to fix the Bush-broken economy, or telling Gallup that they now held “the most favourable view of their income tax obligation since 1956” to join in with the public teabagging.

After all, if any of the pollsters and pundits had bothered to ask the public, they’d have found out that most regard teabagging as a private and personal choice and not a legitimate form of complaint (and some people also think it’s just ‘icky’).

So, about two weeks after “The Great Teabagging” what has been learned from the experience?

Used Teabags.

Well, it’s not just progressives who weren’t impressed; clearly independents and even some moderate (or just exhausted) Republicans were more interested in having the government they’ve got take care of real problems rather than imaginary ones.

But what of the Teabaggers themselves?  What have they learned?

Well, they haven’t learned that not updating a 50-state national movement website in over two weeks kind of undermines the whole “grass-roots national movement” claim.

They have learned, however, that nothing breeds imaginary success like ignoring epic failure (see: Bush Legacy Tour), and forgetting the past they don’t like in favor of the past they do like — hence the new National Taxpayer Protest March on Washington, scheduled to take place on September the 12th!

They still haven’t learned the meaning of “grassroots” as 912dc.org is being sponsored by corporate lobbyists just as the April 15th shower was.

And they still haven’t learned that their sponsors are in fact many of the exact same organizations that lobbied for the financial market deregulations that created the financial crisis, the rise in unemployment and the rise in home-foreclosures, and that also lobbied for the tax loopholes that allow CEOs of failed financial institutions to collectively stash hundreds of millions of dollars in offshore tax-havens, whilst they still beg for taxpayer funds to keep them in their jobs!

In other-words the Teabaggers are being used by those who aren’t supporting them out of a shared belief in equal justice or imagined common democratic ideals, but out of their own interest in disrupting the policies of the Obama Presidency, the majority Party and the majority of voters so that the lobbyists and the huge industries they represent can once again siphon public taxes into their private pockets — and get away with it AGAIN!

The Teabaggers are just useful idiots for a resistance movement that plots strategic disruption behind closed doors. The Teabaggers’ job is to throw public tantrums about the inherent evil of Government — whilst the Democrats are in charge of course — which the usual corporate media suspects will be obliged to “cover” in the interests of “balanced” reporting — regardless of the merit of the Teabaggers complaints, and thus undermine public support for the legitimately elected US government by broadcasting dissent and doubt over imaginary injustices.

The Teabaggers are the populist public sideshow to a cabal of extremely wealthy seditionists who just want THEIR government back, and just the way they liked it — delivering 10,000 per cent returns on minor investments to the campaign coffers of self-important self–absorbed politicians.

Wake up and Smell the Coffee.

Thankfully, so far the public majority isn’t taking the bait. Confidence in the President remains high, the Democratic Congress is doing pretty well, and the Republicans are being recognized for their obstructionism.  But these are very early days yet.

Unemployment is expected to peak in 2010, but a job market revival will lag significantly behind the financial sector recovery as it always does.  It remains to be seen how many will have the patience (and resources) that might be required to weather the doldrums without turning against the captain of the ship.

It may look like the incoherent Teabaggers are all the Republican conservatives have got, but they’ve also still got a massive media machine to amplify their voices and re-shape public opinion. Their technique of demonization, straw-men, innuendo, and the exploitation of religion, ignorance, patriotism, and fear worked before, and over time it could work again — just think on how we got to this point in the first place.

Just because the Teabaggers are proving to be a joke at the moment, doesn’t mean their sponsors aren’t deadly serious in trying to achieve their goal, which is to “take back America” from the people who took it away from them — the majority voting public.

As far I’m concerned, however hilarious teabagging appears to be, I’m feeling pretty sore from 8 years of being buggered by conservatives, and by the time the swelling and discomfort has subsided, I do not want to wake up the next morning — on say November 5th, 2012 — only to find I now have a nasty, slightly salty taste in my mouth that refuses to go away.

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6 thoughts on “TeaBagging: The Arch-Capitalists’ Pseudo-Popular, Pseudo-Democratic, Pseudo-Patriotic Assault On Real Democracy

  1. The Boston Tea Party just delayed it, the East India Company won after all.

    Liked the post – very Ben Elton to kick off, touch of Rude Pundit in the final imagery. And right to the point.

    And linking back, while the Teabaggers were out washing the balls of Fox News etc, the real action was at the mortgage bill failure….. foreclosures will continue – where were the ‘useful idiots’ then?

  2. Glad you all enjoyed it—and thanks for noticing the Ron Pail blimp Terry; it was a last minute addition and I really like how it adds to the chaos. .

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