Home > Republican Stupidity > Still Not Getting It

Still Not Getting It

February 21st, 2014
“Joe the Plumber” recently blogged about something I find rather amusing: the Tea Party dislike of the term “teabagger”:
I had three days of orientation, and now I’m “on the job” over here at Chrysler and on Day 4, I’m outside on a break smoking a cigarette and right on cue – some guy calls me a “teabagger.” Now, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that Democrats and liberals, who are supposed to so tolerant and enlightened regarding homosexuals have for three or four years now, have been using a gay slur to describe people who they think are associated with the Tea Party. “Tea Bagger” has traditionally been a derogatory slur used to intimidate, put down, humiliate and otherwise taunt, smear, bully or just discriminate against gays – usually gay men – based on a sex act that gay men apparently made popular. Decorum prevents me from describing it – they got this thing called “Google” now for that – but suffice it to say that the double-standard for what Democrats can say and what conservatives can say continues unabated, but still I thought to myself, did this guy think I’m gay, or was he making a statement of my political affiliation? I tried talking to him, but he went off about how he was a “journeyman” and started walking away.
Umm... wow. Really? First of all, let's not forget that the use of the term “teabagger” in politics was initiated by the Tea Party people themselves. This was not a term that liberals made up. It was made up by the people who now act all offended when anyone else uses it. The initial Tea Party activists gave the name to themselves, using the name on innumerable signs and in many self-descriptions. Liberals then started pointing out the inanity of the name while no one in the Tea Party seemed to realize what the name meant. In fact, what surprised me was the fact that Tea Partiers continued using the name for themselves months after the cat was out of the bag! (Timeline of the term's use can be found here.) Theoriginoftheteabag Screen-Shot-Teabagger-Calls-Self Tea Bagger Teabagging-For-Jesus Teabag13 Teabag1-300X300 Eventually, however, they caught on, and did what conservatives usually do in a situation in which they've embarrassed themselves: they rewrote history and blamed liberals. Remember back before 2006 when Democrats in Congress occasionally used the filibuster when Bush would nominate a particularly extremist judge to a high court? Republicans were so pissed that Democrats used the filibuster, they threatened to do away with it, calling their plan the “nuclear option.” Later, when they realized that that particular term had a negative ring to it, they quickly changed course, using the rather odd-sounding term “constitutional option,” and suddenly claimed that Democrats made up the “nuclear” term. Same thing. And this is what Joe is riffing on: the revisionist claim that liberals made up the term “teabagger.” Now, one thing that is undeniable is that liberals—having been so amused that right-wing extremists cluelessly called themselves “teabaggers,” and the same right-wingers continued to call themselves “teabaggers” for quite some time after it was more commonly understood what the term meant—quite cheerfully continued to use the term after the last extremists finally got the hint and realized it was not the best choice of names ever made. This is when conservatives, who have long made a huge point about despising “political correctness” and insisting that they should of course be able to use terms about people that those people no longer favor, made a complete reversal and suddenly, without any apparent awareness of the biting irony, cried foul and lambasted liberals for using the term. Rats-Sub Here's what gets me: these self-same conservatives—who don't even like to hear people call them “right wingers,” for crying out loud, because that's just offensive—these same people continue to use all manner of epithets about liberals. Remember, these are the same people who tried to make the word “liberal” itself into an epithet! Conservatives now consistently misuse the noun “Democrat” in the adjectival form (as in “the Democrat Party” as opposed to the correct form, the “Democratic Party”), from the lowest blogger to former President Bush, and everyone in between—a practice that began soon after a 2000 GOP attack ad flashed the word “DEMOCRATS” on the screen, freezing for a moment on the last three letters, “RATS,” which they all found just hilarious. So, a movement which delights in creating and then universally using pejoratives against their political opponents gets all out of sorts when their opposition uses a term these very conservatives created for themselves? It's hard to miss the irony—unless, that is, you go to great lengths to pretend things never happened that way. But that's only the beginning of Joe's bizarre point-making. To recount:
Now, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that Democrats and liberals, who are supposed to so tolerant and enlightened regarding homosexuals have for three or four years now, have been using a gay slur to describe people who they think are associated with the Tea Party. “Tea Bagger” has traditionally been a derogatory slur used to intimidate, put down, humiliate and otherwise taunt, smear, bully or just discriminate against gays – usually gay men – based on a sex act that gay men apparently made popular.
A gay slur? Really? When exactly was this the case? Teabagging is not even an innately gay practice. Probably no one knows when the act began (probably in prehistoric times) or who first used that particular term (it is first popularly noted in the John Waters movie Pecker), but the sexual act is something that is just as heterosexual as it is homosexual. No one orientation “owns” it, any more than anyone “owns” the blow job. Nor was it ever used as a slur against gay people; this was a complete fabrication made up by Fox News (which itself used the term “teabagger” at the beginning, then quickly got offended by it) when Obama used the term, and they wanted to smear him for using “sexual innuendo.” Now, maybe I am just not very worldly. Maybe the term was indeed used at some point to insult gays. But you know, I really doubt it. It doesn't even make sense: a man who teabags could be gay or straight; only if the recipient were male would it be a homosexual act. But a “teabagger” would not automatically be gay. It would be like trying to insinuate that a man is gay by saying, “I bet you got a blow job last night!” It would kind of fall flat. But then, logic and reason have not exactly been any more a conservative trademark than have facts themselves.

Categories: Republican Stupidity Tags: by
  1. Troy
    February 21st, 2014 at 15:11 | #1

    Luis has the best solution to this issue; move and get legal residency somewhere else.

    When the baby boomers all reach their 60s, they’re going to be a very powerful voting bloc, more or less conservative, in the ‘got-mine-f-you’ sense.

    Currently the median boomer is 59 this year.

    The national debt run up 1982-1992 and 2002-now:

    http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/GFDEGDQ188S

    Not going to be *their* problem any more once they shift from wage income to retirement income.

    Taxes have to basically double here, but that’s politically impossible.

    And economically, everything’s too unbalanced as it is to allow for higher tax burdens on most people.

    Rents only seem to ratchet up, never relaxing:

    http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/CUUR0000SEHA

    Income misdistribution, same thing:

    http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/GINIALLRH

    Since our present reality is so screwed up, conservatives prefer living in a fantasy version where the problems and mistakes are all owned by others, not themselves or their previous decisions, like invading Iraq, deregulating and de-oversighting finance in the 1980s – 2000s, “free trade”, and of course changing the tax code in the 80s and 00s to benefit capital at the expense of wage-earners.

    They’re fractally wrong on everything, and to admit one fault would require them to understand their entire bullshit ideology is faulty.

    Billionaires like the Koch brothers are still calling the GOP’s tune, though the traditional country club Republican contingent is trying to regain sway from the TP movement conservatives.

    Doing the wrong thing is much easier to sell to any electorate than doing the right thing. Nobody wants to pay for their mistakes, just push off the pain as long as we can.

    (Japan has a similar fiscal issue looming, what with their colossal national debt run up by their baby boomers in the 1990s:

    http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/?id=GGGDTAJPA188N

    between 1990 and 2015 Japan’s baby boom will have aged from 40 to 65. So nice of the boomers to run up the national debt and call it their savings, for the next generations to pay, or not.

    At least while the yen is still around ¥100 the Japanese do have the ability to print their way out of this ongoing budget shortfall — Japan would do OK with the yen at ¥150, and to get there from here is going to require a heckuva lot of yen printing.)

  2. Matthew
    February 21st, 2014 at 20:53 | #2

    “Since our present reality is so screwed up, conservatives prefer living in a fantasy version where the problems and mistakes are all owned by others, not themselves or their previous decisions, like invading Iraq, deregulating and de-oversighting finance in the 1980s – 2000s, “free trade”, and of course changing the tax code in the 80s and 00s to benefit capital at the expense of wage-earners.”

    This is spot on! Just spend a few page views at any conservative blog or site.

    Sam Harris said something along the lines of –we can have a conversation or we can have war. (discussing religion) I think the same applies to modern politics in the usa. No one is having a conversation– so what is left? War? Hope the republicans and conservatives lose it big time!

  3. Troy
    February 22nd, 2014 at 07:14 | #3

    To have an honest discussion, all sides have to come to the table disclaiming an a priori monopoly on being correct.

    Unfortunately, this is not how the human mind functions. We just attempt to defend our own positions, instead of trying to understand the other guy.

    And conservatives, due to their very fixed and inflexible set of ideologies (religious fundamentalism, romanticism about the past, unshakeable faith in ‘The Market’), really fall into the deep end of this.

    heh, conservatism is basically a psychological defense mechanism I guess.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Paranoid_Style_in_American_Politics

    But I don’t really see a solution to this, other than booking a flight out of this nuthatch.

  4. Troy
    February 22nd, 2014 at 11:45 | #4

    hmm, there’s another psychological angle of conservatism that I hadn’t thought of but saw just now:

    “Siding with the poor means that you could be like them. We need to believe that the poor did something wrong; that they deserve it in some way. Otherwise we could become them and become the objects of contempt that we consider them to be. So we must punish them to stop them from doing whatever it was that they did wrong.”

    The GOP offers people the chance to pitch-in with the economic winners of our society, to hope for that trickle-down rain to fall, and maybe entrepreneurial winnings to come in just like George Jefferson.

    The Dem’s message is ‘join us, and, you, too could be on welfare!’, almost.

    Complicating the US’s picture is the multitudes of poor people we have. The city I live in has 80% of the households qualifying for subsidized school lunches — 80-100% in many areas, 15-25% in the good parts of town.

    I think the economic road we’ve been going down since the 1980s is piling up the stresses.

    http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/?g=sma

    is total consumer debt / wages, showing the Baby Boomers borrowed big-time in the 1980s, and took a 2nd draw when the 1990s economy started failing.

    Nobody really understands what the actual economic imbalances are, so it is very difficult to have meaningful dialog.

    But to me, housing costs are key. How could they not be, when they are everyone’s largest expense, right along with health care (which is also critical of course).

    http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/?g=smb

    shows housing has risen from 20% of wages to 30%, while health care has risen from 5% to near that.

    throw in rising higher education and energy costs, and an economy bleeding hundreds of billions each year thanks to the trade deficit, and we’ve got a pot about to boil over.

  5. Troy
    February 24th, 2014 at 03:37 | #5

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/study-iraq-afghan-war-costs-to-top-4-trillion/2013/03/28/b82a5dce-97ed-11e2-814b-063623d80a60_story.html

    Part of the BS going on now is the psychosocial dislocation we’re suffering from having screwed up everything in the 2000s.

    When I came back to the US in 2000, everything was seemingly awesome. The budget deficit was gone, the 1990s wars in the Gulf, Somalia, and Yugoslavia were over.

    The stock market had almost quadrupled under Clinton, everyone was feeling really good.

    Pump prices were at rock-bottom, cheapest (in real terms) ever:

    http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/?g=soH

    But there was a cancer underneath it all.

    The booming trade with China was stunting job growth in manufacturing:

    http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/MANEMP

    The growing financialization was creating an immense pool of leveraged risk:

    http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/?g=soI

    and our trade deficit was spinning out of control by 2000:

    http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/NETEXP

    Then suicide bombers blew a hole in the USS Cole, Bush was selected by the conservative majority on the SCOTUS, tax cuts were announced, wars were started, interest rates were dropped, and everything went to shit.

    But nobody really understands how bad things are, and what mistakes were actually made. The 2012 cycle debates didn’t get into this at all.

    We’re just a bunch of babes in the woods, on our way to getting creamed by a system that is really going to screw us if we let it.

    And we will, because the system can fool some of the people all of the time, and that’s all it needs.

Comments are closed.