Money Man Goes on Epic Obama Rant

Traders of the world asked to unite against the stimulus package

By Steve Rhodes
|  Friday, Feb 20, 2009  |  Updated 5:01 PM CDT
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"Wolfman" Howls About Santelli Rant

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Is the Government Promoting Bad Behavior?

CNBC's Rick Santelli discusses his rant about Obama's housing bailout with NBC Chicago's Marion Brooks.

"Wolfman" Howls About Santelli Rant

Eric Wilkinson -- "The Wolfman" -- talks about chiming in to Rick Santelli's live rant on CNBC over Obama's mortgage bailout plan.
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It's being called The Rant Heard 'Round The World, The Best Five Minutes In CNBC History, and, quite simply, epic.

It was featured in a screaming Drudge Report headline and bounced around the Internets at light speed. And it came from Chicago, a voice crying out in the wilderness of a Chicago trading floor, where former Masters (sort of, I mean, it's the Chicago Board of Trade) of the Universe have finally had enough of . . . wait for it . . . Barack Obama and his stimulus plan.

It was financial reporter Rick Santelli calling for a Chicago Tea Party in what some are calling a Howard Beale moment.

Santelli is not only now a star, but the face of opposition to the president's recipe for digging America out of its economic ditch.

"The government is promoting bad behavior," Santelli railed. "We certainly don't want to put stimulus pork and give people a whopping $8 or $10 in their check and think they ought to save it . . . How about this, Mr. President and new administration: Why don't you put up a website to have people vote on the Internet as a referendum to see if we really want to subsidize the losers' mortgages? . . . This is America! How many people want to pay for your neighbor's mortgages that have an extra bathroom and can't pay their bills? Raise your hands! President Obama, are you listening?!"

As much as Santelli has become a hero in some quarters, he's being vilified in others.

"Drudge Report Showcases The Least Sympathetic Populist Rage Ever," Gawker says.

"Did Rick Santelli Just Compare What Happened In Cuba To What's Happening Now In The U.S.?" asks TVNewser.

"CNBC Reporter Freaks Out, Wants To Be Che Guevara" a Huffington Post blogger says.

So far, though, the rightosphere is more fired up by Santelli than the leftosphere is in taking him down. Geez, the Obama revolution started in Chicago, and now the anti-Obama revolution is starting here too.

So who is Rick Santelli?

He's a University of Illinois graduate who "began his career in 1979 as a trader and order filler at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange in a variety of markets including gold, lumber, CD's, T-bills, foreign currencies and livestock," according to his CNBC bio.

After a long career in finance, he joined CNBC in 1999, filing live reports from the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade.

This isn't the first time he's famously ranted. His "take-down" a year ago of CNBC stablemate Jim Cramer also got wide play on the Internet.

But nothing like this. In time, we may remember Santelli as a mere blip on the road to recovery. But for now, he's the new public face of the loyal opposition. Now reporting live from his bunker in Chicago.

Steve Rhodes is the proprietor of The Beachwood Reporter, a Chicago news and culture review.

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