Santelli’s class war

SANTELLI’S CLASS WAR…. I’m behind on this one — the video went viral yesterday — and I assume most of you have already seen CNBC’s Rick Santelli’s right-wing temper tantrum. As Santelli sees it, families facing foreclosure are “losers,” and the Obama administration’s housing plan encourages Americans to stop paying their mortgages.

As David Sirota explained, Santelli was “literally on the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange surrounded by multimillionaire traders railing on the Obama administration for trying to help struggling homeowners, and berating people who are getting foreclosed on as ‘losers.'”

In the midst of Santelli’s tirade, threats about another “tea party,” and genuinely frightening screaming, it didn’t seem to occur to him that he sounded ridiculous. A $700 billion bailout for a financial industry on the verge of collapse? No problem. A $75 billion housing policy to stem the foreclosure crisis? Grab the pitchforks, show your unbridled rage, and prepare for a class war against those low-income families who’ve let down the Wall Street traders who’ve done so much to improve the nation’s economy.

No wonder some of the less sensible among us fell in love with Santelli’s faux-populism. It’s the precisely the kind of class warfare Republicans have always dreamed of — the wealthy whining incessantly about struggling families getting to keep their homes.

As dday put it, “The revolution has begun. These workaday stock traders are going to take back this country for the laissez-faire capitalists who are entitled to it.”

Not incidentally, now might also be a good time to point out that Santelli’s fury doesn’t stand up well to fact-checking. He made it sound like “losers” who bought homes they couldn’t afford are poised to get a bailout from the feds. That might be the prevailing judgment of furious traders on the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, but it’s not reality.

The right is going to need a new cult hero. This guy doesn’t seem to know what he’s talking about.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.