Thursday, February 26, 2009

Rick Santelli Stands Down

It looks like Rick Santelli has decided that he didn't like the heat that came with his 15 minutes of fame. After ranting up a storm at the Chicago Board of Trade and accusing Robert Gibbs of "threatening" him, Santelli slowly but completely surrendered to Matt Lauer on today's Today Show.

It was funny to see. First, Santelli retreated from the idea that Gibbs threatened him but only retreated to an idea that his wife felt threatened. But that didn't work. Who hides behinds their wife's skirts in our hyper-macho era anyway.

Certainly Matt Lauer didn't take it seriously and kept attacking on the point that Santelli didn't really feel threatened at all.

So, Rick Santelli tried another tack. Instead of saying that Gibbs threatened him, the CNBC broadcaster tried to argue that Gibbs was going off the reservation because he referred to Santelli by name than "the media" in general.
Well, listen, I’m not saying threatening. And just to be pinpointed specifically, I find very unusual, and I think that it’s more of a decision for you as the press or all the people on the lawn that giggled at the joke about caffeine — and it was funny — but how would they like to be pinpointed specifically? I think that’s the issue at hand. I don’t want to make more out of this. You know, here I am, and I want to continue to do what I’ve always done, and that is, question motivation, whether it’s the Fed chairman, and we know–

Unfortunately for Santelli, Lauer wasn't any more impressed with Santelli saying he was persecuted than he was with Santelli saying he was threated. At this point, Santelli just gave up trying to advance his position and decided to try "patriotic lying" as a way to worm his way out of the situation.

Everybody that’s talking right now, we want all of this to succeed. We just want to make sure that as we spend the money we don’t have, we’re getting a return and people have a chance to look at it and understand where it’s going

Talk about total nonsense. Santelli doesn't want Obama to succeed any more than Limbaugh wants Obama to succeed.

Speaking of Rush Limbaugh, he gets this interview wrong. Limbaugh's idea is that the Obama administration "got to Matt Lauer" and made Lauer adopt the Today version of an Elliot Ness personality while interviewing Santelli.

"Matt Lauer sounds like Robert Gibbs' 'butt boy,'" Robert Gibbs and Barack Obama's butt boy. Matt, you do. In the sound bite you sounded like a butt boy. You sounded like somebody carrying out orders. You sounded like somebody defending the realm against one of your own colleagues, against one of your own colleagues who's out there simply asking a question about, what the hell are we doing having to pay for people who aren't going to pay their mortgages? It strikes me as much more likely that Matt Lauer and other media heavyweights have decided that the Obama administration represents "the moderate consensus" that the media views as the political ideal. If guys like Santelli are going to take right-wing positions, they're going to have to work extremely hard to justify their "extremism" against the media consensus.

That's not much of a surprise. Matt Lauer and the people at the Today Show can read the polls and their audience response as well as anyone. But it's very bad news for the right-wing. It means they've completely lost the "benefit of the doubt" in relation to the Obama administration and that they're going to have to swim against a very strong media current for a forseeable future that could last more than a decade.

That's no problem for Rush Limbaugh. Bucking the Obama tide probably increases his ratings and puts money in his pocket.

But Rick Santelli had a vision of his career going down the toilet. So he decided to just surrender.

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