Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Transformative Power
Of Rick Santelli’s Rant

by Michael Barone - June 10th, 2010 - National Review

How to explain something contrary to the New Deal historians’ teaching that economic distress increases support for big government? Clues can be obtained, I think, by examining what amounts to the founding document of the tea-party movement, Rick Santelli’s “rant” on the CME trading floor in Chicago, telecast live by CNBC on Feb. 19, 2009.

That was less than one month into the Obama administration. The stimulus package had been jammed through Congress almost entirely by Democratic votes six days before, but the Democrats’ health-care and cap-and-trade bills were barely into gestation. Chrysler and General Motor had received temporary bailouts, but their bankruptcies were months in the future.

“The government is promoting bad behavior,” Santelli began. The object of his scorn was the Obama administration’s Homeowners Affordability and Stability Plan providing aid to homeowners delinquent on their mortgages.

“This is America!” Santelli declared. “How many of you people want to pay for your neighbor’s mortgage that has an extra bathroom and can’t pay their bills?”

Granted, the words are not as elegant as those of Thomas Jefferson or John Adams. But the thought is clear. Santelli was arguing that the people who, in Bill Clinton’s felicitous phrase, “work hard and play by the rules” shouldn’t have to subsidize those who took on debts that they couldn’t repay.

Throughout 2006 and 2008 our nation was struggling with a serious disconnect. Our President constantly proclaimed himself a "conservative', or at least a version that he called "compassionate conservative", yet his actions on domestic issues was nothing but progressive. He supported Keynesian economics, huge deficits, pork larded funding bills, entangling religion with government as he permitted grants to churches as if they were normal non profit agencies, wasting federal money for a failed and failing education system dominated by education unions, bailouts to huge banks, insurance companies and Detroit, etc. ad nausea.

Since he was the leader of the "conservative" party we were told to shut up and go along. His alignment with and sellout to Democrats was a necessity to get things done. Yet all his actions did was weaken our party, confuse the base, anger true conservatives and leave us with a disastrous 2008 election that placed extremists on the left in power everywhere.

The pressure to explode at the stupid direction of our nation was building long before Rick Santelli gave voice to the anger. Yet Santelli's timing was immaculate and his complaints were perfectly in tune with the bubbling rage. Like a genius he pointed us to the path back to a free nation. He gave us a voice that broke through the liberal lies. Millions said, enough is enough. Let's take back our nation before it is too late.

Rick Santelli is still giving voice to our frustration with those who do not understand that freedom is never easy. A large element of America wants to live on easy street. They want to live off "other people's money". This fall we are going to find out if this surge to the left that Obama has supported is a permanent move, or just a fluke due to the incompetence and deceit of the conservative who never was conservative.

Rick Santelli was not just a repudiation of Barack Obama. He was equally a repudiation of George W. Bush. How ironic that Bush's favorite Senator, Arlen Specter, has left the Republican Party and now been flushed from public office. I think that his support for Specter typifies how out of touch with the Republican Party George W. Bush had become.


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