CNBC reporter Rick Santelli gave an inspired rant in response to the Obama housing plan I criticized here. It was a masterpiece, as you can see in the video at the end of this entry. The Obama administration disagrees:
Apparently someone in the White House was. In response, Gibbs attacked Santelli by name repeatedly at a news briefing, accusing him of not reading the president’s housing plan and mocking the former derivatives trader as an ineffective spokesman for the little guy.
“I’m not entirely sure where Mr. Santelli lives or in what house he lives,” Gibbs told reporters in a derisive tone. “Mr. Santelli has argued — I think quite wrongly — that this plan won’t help everyone. This plan will help . . . drive down mortgage rates for millions of Americans.”
Later, Gibbs added: “I would encourage him to read the president’s plan and understand that it will help millions of people, many of whom he knows. I’d be more than happy to have him come here and read it. I’d be happy to buy him a cup of coffee, decaf.”
I have two responses. First, Gibbs should not be engaging in this type of rhetoric. Obama is President of the United States, not just President of the United States’ Economically Illiterate. He – and his representatives – should refrain from behaving in this manner. It’s possible to disagree without mockery.
Second, if the President’s plan insists on the 1.05 mortgage-to-market-value ratio requirement, he’s right that it will not help most speculators. However, as I wrote earlier this week, it won’t help anyone other than those not in distress. I don’t concede that we should help those in distress, but if we should, the people who qualify for the President’s plan offer the least bang for the national buck. Forget politics, that’s bad policy.
Video link via Kip’s tweet.