Friday, February 20, 2009

Rick Santelli - New Patron Saint Of The Entitled Wall Street "Working Man"

CNBC's Rick Santelli - apparently high on a megadose of caffeine - lashed out at President Obama's stimulus plan on Chicago's trading floor this morning. He was lauded by applause by other traders.

Santelli asked traders on the floor: "This is America! How many of you people want to pay for your neighbor's mortgage that has an extra bathroom and can't pay their bills? Raise their hand. (no hands raised, lots of booing) President Obama, are you listening?"

Well, yes, apparently he is. Or at least his press secretary, Robert Gibbs is......

If you aren't a regular watcher of CNBC, Charles Lemos over at MyDD describes the situation on the Chicago trading floor aptly:

After watching the above, I first had to check my calendar. Somehow I felt I traveled back in time to the early 1970s to witness first hand Richard Nixon's "northern strategy," his pursuit of white ethnic voters who were so deeply disaffected over Great Society programs ranging from desegregation (remember the Boston busing madness?) to affirmative action among others that they would desert the Democratic Party becoming "Nixon's silent majority" and "Reagan Democrats". As historian Joe Merton noted "Nixon possessed a keen awareness of the `ethnic revival' of the early 1970s and engaged with specifically ethnic issues such as parochial school aid and ethnic heritage studies, and also shaped much of his early substantive policy to appeal to ethnics, culminating in the publication of the Rosow Report on blue-collar workers in May 1970."

Rick Santelli is heir to this legacy laced with racist overtones. Note the promo before the rant in the video link at CNBC. CNBC has an upcoming special entitled The Rise of America's New Black Overclass. Fear mongering, it's worked before so let's try it again. It's back to the 1970s for the GOP and their rabid white ethnics.

I spent a decade on Wall Street working for Alex. Brown & Sons, Deutsche Banc Securities and Goldman Sachs. I found Wall Street a largely liberal environment with one major exception, the trading floor. In my experience I found traders, who are largely white ethnics -Irish, Italian, Greek, Polish or Slovak among others- and graduates of the Seton Halls, the Boston Colleges, the Notre Dames, the Penn States were the most rabid conservative and foul mouthed people on the planet. Nor could any of them ever get my name right. "My name is Charles, not Chuckie" was something I would repeat whenever I had the misfortune to have to interact with them. Some of these folks made William Buckley appear moderate.

Whatever my own views on traders and their culture, it appears that Rick Santelli is their patron saint. In his five minute rant, Mr. Santelli went on to compare Barack Obama's America to Castro's Cuba and to suggest a kind of modern day "Boston Tea Party" - a call for a Chicago Tea Party as an anti-spending revolt. Mr. Santelli's "I'm mad as hell and I am not going to take it" tirade on CNBC brought cheers and applause on the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade not to mention accolades from across the conservative blogs.

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