Why I'll Sit Out the Chicago Tea Party

Rick Santelli is a chump.

It pains me to say so.  I wanted so much to watch his infamous “Rant” video on CNBC and say, “Hear! Hear!”  But I can’t bring myself to do it.

It’s not that I take issue with his opposition to the Obama housing plan:  Absolutely, responsible homeowners who kicked in a hefty down payment on a 30-year fixed mortgage should not have to bail out those who bought more house than they could afford.

But I won’t be taking part in any “Chicago Tea Party” he might plan for this summer.

Santelli has walked straight into a trap, one I daresay Obama aides David Axelrod and Rahm Emanuel cleverly set.

For all the popular support The Rant has garnered for Santelli, a backlash has developed.  “Watching Rick Santelli’s embarrassing diatribe at the expense of the American people made me realize that these Wall Street frat boys still don’t get it,” writes John Amato at the Huffington Post, echoing much of the left blogosphere.  “America is sick and tired of the riches they have manipulated out of the system and then be lectured by people who make more money than 100 middle class workers put together.”

That’s pretty hard to respond to — unless you actually opposed the Wall Street bailouts, thus proving your laissez-faire bona fides.

But as near as I can tell, Santelli comes up way short on this measure.  Where are the YouTubes of him calling for a taxpayer revolt when the banks were getting bailed out?  He’s a colorful enough speaker, he’d surely have eclipsed the guys we know did criticize the bank bailouts like Peter Schiff, Jim Rogers, and Marc Faber.

And so, Santelli finds himself boxed in — billions for bankers, but not one cent for homeowners.  That’s an impossible box to get out of.  Then Chris Matthews gets Santelli to fess up he voted for McCain (who like Obama, voted for TARP I).  So The Rant now looks less like a courageous stand for personal responsibility and more like a petty partisan thing, red meat for the red states.

That’s exactly how the White House planned it.  Obama didn’t announce his housing program until more than a week after Tim Geithner released the TARP II turkey.  The banksters got theirs first.  Anyone who then turned around and opposed help for “the little people” without having first opposed help for the big boyz could be portrayed as cruel and heartless.  (Never mind that by cutting monthly payments, all the housing plan will accomplish is putting homeowners in further hock to their lenders.  So the banksters get theirs on this one too.  They always do.)

“Chicago Tea Party”?  Please.  Santelli insults the memory of Samuel Adams.