20 Apr 2009

Tea party tax message lost in innuendo

Reuters)WASHINGTON DC, USA – It’s an old cliché that you can’t get a decent cup of tea in America. So imagine the excitement of tea drinkers like me when we learned that there were to be a whole series of tea parties held all over the country this week. 

But not a single cuppa was brewed – the parties turned out to be political protests against Obama’s tax polices. Tea standing for Taxed Enough Already, ignoring the fact that most people in America have actually just had a tax CUT.

The whole tea theme was meant to be deliberate reference to the Boston Tea Party which preceded the American revolution. That was a protest against taxation without representation.

In this case the protestors all had a chance to vote in November. They just didn’t like the outcome.
But there is another reference that the organisers obviously hadn’t considered when they encouraged Americans to come out “teabagging”.
Anyone who doesn’t immediately understand the sexual connotation should refer to urban dictionary.com. I couldn’t possibly describe it here!
As the protests were discussed on American TV it soon became very obvious that the anchors at 24 news channel MSNBC and CNN didn’t need a dictionary to explain how to “teabag”. Their coverage was peppered with not too subtle double entendres.

On CNN, Anderson Cooper had fun with the teabagging jokes when he spoke to former President Clinton’s adviser, David Gergen. At one point, Cooper quipped, “It’s hard to talk when you’re teabagging.” Cooper managed to keep a straight face but Gergen had to laugh.

“April 15th will be teabagging day for the right wing and they’ll be going nuts for it. The teabaggers are full-throated about their goals,” said one reporter.

“They oppose Mr. Obama’s tax rates…. That’s teabagging in a nut shell,” reported another.

It was like watching a kind of Carry On Protesting.

The right wing Fox TV channel, who were strongly supportive of the protests, reacted furiously, claiming that the CNN and MSNBC coverage was juvenile

But that didn’t stop the estimable Rachel Maddow on her MSNBC show talking about “hot teabagging action”, saying the protestors “don’t want to teabag alone – if that’s even possible”. Her guest, Air America’s Ana Marie Cox, added, “who wouldn’t want to teabag John McCain?”.

The tea parties claimed to be a spontaneous grassroots uprising against Obama’s tax polices that would show the strength of right wing opposition. But it’s been seriously questioned just how spontaneous they really were. And they were not exactly huge.

So the organisers are now complaining about the coverage instead. But they should be pleased that all the sexual innuendo distracted attention from some of the protestors who turned up carrying signs which read “Barack Obama supports sodomy”, “Obama’s plan – white slavery”, “Our tax dollars are given to Hamas to kill Jews and Americans”, and one picture of Obama dressed up as Hitler.