Sometimes It's Been With His Own Colleagues
Last week's rant by CNBC's Rick Santelli on the mortgage bailout by the Obama administration is already the stuff of viral video legend.
And no matter how hard White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs wants to insist that Santelli "doesn't know what he's talking about," Gibbs and anyone who has watched him on CNBC knows he does.
It's not just sounding like a wounded populist that makes him right.
But he's asking questions that many people have conveniently declined to ask because that wouldn't provide a salve for what ails the economy. The Obama administration wants the quick fix that printing trillions of dollars may offer. But Santelli knows better, and that makes him vulnerable to being bullied from the bully pulpit of the White House press room. But having popular opinion on his side doesn't hurt.
Actually, Santelli has been through these battles before, oddly enough, with some of his CNBC buddies. Back when Wall Street was in the process of crashing at the end of September, anchors Maria Bartiromo and Dylan Ratigan were among those essentially labeling anyone who opposed the $700 billion bailout being pushed by the Bush administration as dimmer than the average 15-watt bulb.
Santelli loudly and proudly took them on Sept. 29 when the bailout was defeated in the House, noting that Americans were concerned they were being "led down a primrose path" by Hank Paulson & Co. and didn't want to pay for others' mistakes.
That he didn't change his tune when a new president took office shouldn't be surprising.
Gibbs might be surprised to learn Santelli actually wants President Obama to succeed, but without bankrupting the country first. As Santelli told the Chicago Tribune:
"I want the new administration to win this one. It's a question whether spending our children's money is going to make us win or not, or is it going to take its own time to heal, like a cold going away?"
Sounds like he knows what he's talking about. Whether the right people are listening remains to be seen.