Jennifer Harper of the Washington Times says "[t]he term 'tea-bagger' is like uttering the 'n' word, some say." Jason Linkins of the Huffington Post completely disagrees with her in just about every way:
I understand that those who use it are basically shorthanding the meanness and diminishing. The word has a sexual connotation — which, by the by — the Tea Party movement embraced for itself before it became used as a brickbat against them.
But is it the equivalent of the "n" word? Uhm… you'll notice that nobody shorthands it, "the 't' word," don't you? That should tell you something. On the spectrum of insult, "teabagger" seems to me to be the equivalent of "moonbat" or "wingnut," which are also popular shorthand insults embraced by political factions who use them as shibboleths — a tidy signifier of groupwide self-satisfaction.
I mean, did I miss the part where these affluent folks worked on my cotton plantation, and were traded as chattel, and were counted as three-fifths of a person? I guess I need to be filled in!