The Natives Are Getting Restless

It seemed to begin with Rick Santelli’s on air rebellion, the first shot across the bow of what looked like Obama’s unstoppable, juggernaut socialist economic plan for America. His rant started a movement of “tea party” protests that have been gathering steam in both numbers and size all across the country. The increasing flood of tea party reports pouring into sites like Instapundit and Michelle Malkin bears witness to the snowballing phenomenon.

A Growing “Tea Party” Movement?

On the morning of February 19, CNBC reporter Rick Santelli ranted about the plan from the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade. “This is America!” Santelli cried on the air. “How many of you people want to pay for your neighbor’s mortgage that has an extra bathroom and can’t pay their bills?” The traders milling around started booing and then gathered closer as he continued. Before he was done, Santelli had called for a “Chicago tea party” to protest the bailout. During the next few hours, Santelli’s rant led the Drudge Report, was replayed on all of the cable networks, and was seen more than a million times on YouTube.

Santelli-inspired websites quickly appeared attempting to organize tea parties. ChicagoTeaParty.com bills itself as the official home of Santelli’s tea party. The site belongs to Zack Christenson, a Chicago radio producer. Christenson had bought the domain last August, thinking it might be a good name for a group. Within 12 hours of Santelli’s rant, Christenson had retooled the site, and 4,000 people quickly signed up. On Facebook, dozens of Santelli groups formed, ranging from fan clubs to draft-president movements to tea party plans for Chicago, Texas, New York, and Los Angeles.

Anthony Astolfi bought the domain reTeaParty.com about 10 hours after Santelli’s rant. Astolfi is a 24-year-old web designer and small-time political consultant who dabbled in the Ron Paul world last cycle. He thought the tea party idea had a chance to catch on and decided to organize them for July 4. Working with his roommate and a cousin, they finished building a website by midnight. Then they turned to promoting the project. They did Google searches for “Santelli” and left comments pointing to their new site on high-ranking result pages. They spent a couple hundred dollars on a small number of Google and YouTube ads and finally went to bed around 5 A.M. They awoke to 40,000 emails, their site having become a minor sensation. Astolfi says they now have 11,000 people a day coming to reTeaParty.com. Ten thousand people have signed up to get information on the tea parties, and 5,000 have “pledged” to attend one of so-far eight tea parties on July 4.

Two days after Santelli’s tirade, John Shilling, an 18-year-old student in Hilton Head, South Carolina, launched a site called 92percentgroup.org. Its sole mission is to oppose the Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan. “We feel like 92 percent of the country has been paying their mortgage on time, and we’ve been a silent majority this whole time,” Shilling says. “We’re hoping to get enough people together to take a stand so we can send a message through action, not a petition.” What action would that be? Shilling isn’t sure, though he thinks withholding taxes or mortgage payments might work. In a way, the 92 Percent Group is instructive: It’s run by an 18-year-old who doesn’t have a mortgage and has yet to even decide what he wants to organize (or how to do it). Yet within 72 hours of launching the site, it received 150,000 visits.

There seems to be real bitterness about the idea of forcing people to subsidize the imprudent housing choices of their neighbors. That bitterness is on display on other websites, such as StopTheHousingBailout.com, which urges readers not to get stuck “paying for other people’s greed & ignorance” and encourages them to lobby their congressmen.

See also:
Hundreds Turn out for Anti-Tax ‘Tea Party’
Green Bay tea party rallies against federal programs
Are You Ready for This? A Nationwide Tax Day Tea Party
Conservatives get rally fever
American Tea Party
The Taxpayer Tea Party Movement is Growing
Why The “Tea Party” Movement Will Keep Growing

Will the Tea Party movement continue to mushroom and gain momentum? That’s a good question, only time will tell. What I do know is that the average, grassroots American, Jane and Joe Six-Pack, are growing increasingly angry, frightened, and frustrated as they watch their retirement and standard of living continue to vanish day after day, with no end in sight. And, to add insult to injury, Obama, if he doesn’t appear to be aloof and doing nothing to help solve the problem is, in fact, actually proposing economic policies that will only compound the problem and make it worse! Instead of grabbing the fire hose to put out the economic fire, Obama is emptying the contents of a gasoline tanker on the flames.

If we’re not already at or near a tipping point, we’re getting pretty damn close. The situation is dire and Obama needs to get it through his thin, arrogant skull that his grand plans for a socialist utopia are the wrong policies at the wrong time! In the midst of a deep recession, the last thing you should be doing is doubling the budget deficit and increasing taxes. You should be cutting wasteful government spending and cutting taxes. Big government won’t spend us out of this, unleashing private capital to grow the economy will. The American people are saying enough is enough, Repent Ye Socialist Heathen!

Case in tipping point, CNBC’s Jim Cramer. Less than six months ago, Cramer was an unapologetic Obama fan.

Wall Street, Fall 2009

Obama is no messiah, of course, but there’s a reason the Street sees him as a more capable manager of the credit crisis. He seems to understand the complexity of the problem, and while he’s nobody’s populist, he’s at least perceived as less tone-deaf to everyday Americans’ problems than his opponent. Obama also has a better team, in the likes of Larry Summers, the renowned economist and former Harvard president who probably knows more about this crisis than anyone, and Warren Buffett, the smartest man in business, period. And Obama is a globalist, in an age where the world’s economies are increasingly interdependent.

Well, well, well, three days ago, Jim apparently came to his senses and had an epiphany.

Cramer’s ‘Mad Money’ Recap: March 5

Fat cats were the real reason behind today’s big market sell-off, Jim Cramer told viewers of his “Mad Money” TV show Thursday.

He said Obama’s seemingly endless obsession with punishing wrong-doers is systematically contributing to the biggest wealth destruction America has ever seen.

According to Obama, just about everyone is a fat cat, making ill-gotten gains at the public’s expense, and needs to be punished immediately. However, he continued, if everyone is evil, who’s left to do the business of America and create jobs for the economy?

After being in office less than two months, Obama’s already taken aim at the drug companies and medical device makers, saying they routinely overcharge Medicare. Oil companies and drillers have been on the hot seat, accused of windfall profits and destroying the environment.

Everything in the real estate market as come under fire, said Cramer, as has the defense industry, auto industry, and manufacturing sector, which is now under attack for polluting the air with carbon emissions.

Obama all the banks, big and small, along with the insurers, are bad, he said.

Who’s left? He said the only sectors not touched by Obama’s rhetoric are retailers, technology companies and food and beverage firms. He said government employees are the only real winners in Obama’s stimulus plan.

Personally, I like Cramer. He’s honest, passionate, wears his heart on his sleeve, knows what he’s talking about, and is the first one to admit it if he’s made a mistake. And most of all, he’s extremely popular with a cult following of small investors.

To paraphrase Lyndon B. Johnson, ‘If Obama’s lost Cramer, he’s lost Middle America.”

And it’s not just Cramer who’s turned and is now jumping ugly on Obama’s disastrous economic policy, it’s the MSM and others now too.

Is Obama Hurting The Stock Market?

A series of negative economic reports and a sharp sell-off on Wall Street dominated news coverage from national outlets last night and this morning, with some blaming the White House for the steep stocks decline. ABC World News’ Charlie Gibson said,”No matter what the Administration seems to be doing with the economy, the market does not seem to like it.” ABC’s Betsey Stark added, “No, Wall Street, as one analyst I spoke to put it today, is underwhelmed by what’s going on in Washington.” The AP reports, “The war between Republicans and Democrats to frame the blame for the economy erupted in earnest this week.” Republicans “pushed back against…Obama’s claim — echoed relentlessly by his Cabinet members and Democrats in Congress — that he didn’t cause the mess and shouldn’t be judged yet on obligating taxpayers for a trillion dollars trying to fix it.” Economic stories led all three network broadcasts, with ABC World News and NBC Nightly News focusing on the dire news about GM and the CBS Evening News noting “the Dow fell 281 points or four percent. That brings the loss for the year to nearly 25 percent.”

On its front page, the New York Times reports, “After months of breathtaking declines, this is what Wall Street has come to: Blue-chip companies, once considered safe investments and cornerstones of the economy, are akin to penny stocks.” On its front page, the Washington Post reports President Obama “cautioned against paying too much attention to markets and even said ‘buying stocks is a potentially good deal, ” but “investor confidence has been sapped by signs that the US economy remains exceptionally weak 15 months after the start of the recession.”

The Wall Street Journal’s opinion page usually critical of Obama’s policies this morning links the President’s actions with the Dow’s decline. The Wall Street Journal editorializes, “Recessions don’t last forever, but bad policies can prolong the pain.” Gerald F. Seib, also in the Wall Street Journal, says, “Any president, particularly the current one, has a lot of things to worry about. Should the level of the Dow Jones Industrial Average be one of them? In a word: yes.” Under the headline “Obama’s Radicalism Is Killing The Dow,” Michael J. Boskin, a professor of economics at Stanford University who “chaired the Council of Economic Advisers under President George H.W. Bush,” writes in the Wall Street Journal writes that “the illusion that…Obama will lead from the economic center has quickly come to an end. Instead of combining the best policies of past Democratic presidents — John Kennedy on taxes, Bill Clinton on welfare reform and a balanced budget, for instance,” Obama “is returning to Jimmy Carter’s higher taxes and Mr. Clinton’s draconian defense drawdown.” Also in the Wall Street Journal, Steve Forbes criticizes the Obama Administration for “its continuation of the most destructive policies of the Bush administration.” If President Obama “really takes” Franklin Roosevelt’s “legacy seriously, he should suspend mark-to-market accounting rules, restore the uptick rule, and enforce the prohibition against naked short selling.”

See also:
The Obama Economy, Cont.
Obama Policies Feed Market Panic
The Great Non Sequitur
The Obama Economy
Obama’s Radicalism Is Killing the Dow
Analysis: Obama’s ambitious plans raise questions
Obama taking big political risk with budget
Stocks Should Matter to Obama
Obama faulted as indifferent on stocks
‘Obama Bear Market’ Punishes Investors as Dow Slumps
Bear market in full growl, and the end isn’t in sight
It’s Obama’s bear market now
Moderates Uneasy With Obama Budget Plan
Obama budget plan forecasts soaring deficits
Obama budget sinks stocks as health sector slumps
The audacity of borrowing (Obama budget edition)
Obama Is Taking an Economic Flu Patient and Giving It Pneumonia
US stocks drop 20% after Obama takes office
Obama’s budget: Wanton recklessness
Recession, tax plans worry donors and nonprofits
Some Fear Obama Tax Hikes Will Hurt Charities
Obama’s budget proposal threatens charitable giving
After Bailouts, Stimulus Packages, Is It Time for a Federal Budget Diet?
Obama’s Political Munchausen by Proxy Syndrome
‘Manchurian Candidate’ Starts War on Business
Obama Fiddles While Wall Street Burns
Obama is a Great Pretender

Etc., etc.

The natives are getting restless.

/as Rick Santelli so famously said on February 19, 2009, “President Obama, are you listening?”