When the Tea Party movement sprang up last year, it was presented as a non-partisan grassroots insurgency, making it difficult for Democrats and progressives to fight back. But now that it has settled into a more conventional role as the right wing of the Republican Party -- even being represented by a Congressional caucus -- it seems that the traditional rules of the political game once more apply.

In a current NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, just 30% of those responding view the Tea Party positively, as compared with 34% who view it negatively. Possibly seeking to capitalize on those attitudes, the Agenda Project, which Politico describes as "a new, progressive group with roots in New York's fundraising scene," has launched a line of merchandise bearing the slogan "f*ck tea."

Early reviews of the initiative, however, have been overwhelmingly negative.

So far the available products include a coffee mug and a selection of t-shirts in adult and infant sizes with the "f*ck tea" slogan on the front and "Progress is the Real American Party" on the back. A music video set to Lily Allen's "Fuck You Very Much" also promotes the merchandise.

"We will be launching new products in the next several months to help people all over the country F*ck Tea," political consultant and Agenda Project founder Erica Payne told Politico in an email. "Products like a Glenn Beck Bowl Buddy (Beck B Scrubbin) and others are perfect holiday gifts or just a great way to say 'I love you and our country' to your spouse, friend or family."

The F*ck Tea campaign has predictably drawn the scorn of right-wing bloggers, including one who bills himself as JammieWearingFool -- which could be taken as implying that he has a bias against t-shirts, even if they don't say "f*ck tea" on the front.

Under the heading, "Classy: Leftwing Douchebags Launch 'F*ck Tea' Campaign," he writes, "I guess the Coffee Party and infiltrating the Tea Party rallies failed so miserably these pathetic twits are reduced to vulgarities. ... That would be really creative if they actually did love this country."

Gateway Pundit similarly snarked, "It looks like our friends on the left are stuck in stage number two 0f the grief cycle. At least with their latest movement their [sic] being honest. They’ve been giving the American people the finger all year, so this fits."

But even liberal blogs seem to agree that the "f*ck tea" campaign is misguided. Barbara O'Brien at Mahablog commented, 'This is stupid. If we tried, we might come up with a number of strategies that might effectively undermine the tea party movement. This is not one of them."

"Remember the Bigger Asshole Rule," she explained. "To win the hearts and minds of the American public, your first job is to make your opponents look like bigger assholes than you are. Thus, trying to match your opponents in asshole-ness is counterproductive."

And gossip site Gawker struck the same note, suggesting that "it will just make the Agenda Project look like assholes."

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