It’s not a ‘nation of Santellis’

IT’S NOT A ‘NATION OF SANTELLIS’…. Josh Marshall flagged this graphic from the Politico home-page last night, warning the White House about a “nation of Santellis.” The reference was to CNBC’s Rick Santelli, who launched a bizarre class-war tirade last week in reference to the Obama housing policy (and who has since become kind of paranoid).

politico-santelli-blog.jpg

The argument is pretty straightforward, and has been reinforced by media adulation for Santelli’s rant — the president’s mortgage adjustment program is widely disliked. The rage Santelli expressed was endorsed by far-right blogs and talk-radio hosts precisely because it tapped into a simmering anger over the White House proposal.

It’s worth remembering, then, that Santelli and his admirers haven’t exactly swayed the electorate. The Washington Post found that 64% of Americans support Obama’s mortgage proposal. In the New York Times poll, the support was 61%. A CNN poll found similar results.

There is a Rasmussen poll, which was the basis for the Politico article, which shows far more opposition. But while the other polls simply asked whether the public liked Obama’s idea or not, the Rasmussen poll asked, “Some people say that having the government subsidize mortgage payments for financially troubled homeowners puts the government in the position of rewarding bad behavior. Is the government rewarding bad behavior when it provides subsidies to those who are most at risk of losing their homes?”

A 55% majority said the government is rewarding bad behavior. Given the wording of the question, I’m a little surprised the number wasn’t even higher.

Taken together, is there really a “nation of Santellis” out there? Not so much.

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation