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Rick Santelli and the new American Tea Party
The wave of bailout anger unleashed by CNBC's Rick Santelli's on-air rant

"The kettle's whistling," said Andrea Shea King in WorldNetDaily. "Tea Parties are popping up all over the country." Inspired by CNBC reporter Rick Santelli's on-air rant calling for a modern version of the Boston Tea Party to protest making taxpayers bail out people who can't pay their mortgage bills, the new American Tea Party movement has drawn people across the nation to rallies and demonstrations.

There's no denying that "Santelli touched a nerve," said Chris Lester in the Kansas City Star. His point was that we are rewarding people who "misbehaved during the housing bubble" and punishing responsible homeowners. And that's dangerous, because the breathtaking flurry of bailouts "threatens to undermine confidence even in households and businesses that are weathering the recession in relatively good shape."

That logic made Santelli "an instant right-wing hero" after his rant, said Gary Kamiya in Salon. But the popularity of his diatribe (click here for the video) and the new American Tea Party isn't surprising. "Whipping up anger at the undeserving poor, whether yesterday's 'welfare loafers' or today's irresponsible borrowers, has been a winning Republican political tactic for more than 40 years."

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