Rick Santelli: Tea Party Are Those Who 'Carry the Water'
Five years after his "rant heard around the world" spawned what is now known as the Tea Party movement, CNBC's Rick Santelli appeared on Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot channel 125 and said the energy from 2009 has created a powerful political movement that has already achieved many tangible results while changing the political landscape.
Speaking to host and Breitbart News Executive Chairman Stephen K. Bannon, Santelli said the Tea Party movement is a big-tent movement that attracts Americans from all walks of life. He said what is appealing about the movement to him is its emphasis on fiscal responsibility. The size, scope, and reach of government is becoming a bigger political issue and platform, and that, he said, is where the Tea Party will have its most lasting impact.
Unlike the Occupy Movement that fizzled, Santelli argued that the Tea Party has "morphed." Even though the movement does not have a convention to elect an official leader or spokesperson, the "energy from '09 has been put to work in a way that has been tangible."
Calling his impassioned rant the "neatest five minutes" of his career, Santelli said the speech's legacy was "a bit surprising to me." He said the country was going through many massive "emotional upheavals" at the time, starting with the financial crisis that he believes started when the government tried to interject itself into the housing market.
He said he was merely venting about issues "that were burning through the country." He was surprised that the Tea Party movement, composed of those who had been especially frustrated with George W. Bush's big-government programs and inspired by Sarah Palin in 2008, formed at the grassroots level and then exploded.
He said "mothers and grandmothers worried about the kids and grandkids" started some of the original meetings which turned into what Santelli said was a "conservative fiscal movement that is the cornerstone of the country."
"We still have it in our DNA to express our will... and the notion that government works for us is forever enshrined and followed through as it's denoted in the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence," Santelli said, saying he was very proud that his words galvanized Americans.
After Bannon said that Santelli doesn't come across as someone who is a typical trader or a professor and connects with working people, Santelli said that he was a "very passionate individual," and "there is never a doubt about whether someone is telling you what's in their heart or not."
"I was fed up, and maybe at that point in time I had the same thoughts of many in the country," Santelli said.
He said he was inspired by hosts on CNBC like Carl Quintanilla who at the time were discussing how the financial crisis and the bailouts were impacting workers on the floor who were trying to pay their bills. Santelli said he believed his words "struck a chord" with Americans because "the way the words were put together" was "not the most politically correct."
"When things come from the heart sometimes they are a little rough around the edges," Santelli said. He said he had strong emotions about the bailouts, and that was a moment in which he shared his unfiltered views with many in the country instead of just with friends and family.
During his rant, Santelli spoke about "those that carry the water versus those that drink the water." Though he admitted that he had no idea where those words came from – because "my brain and my mouth get on automatic pilot" – he really loves that expression now, especially because those who receive excessive government benefits and favors at the top and the bottom squeeze out the middle class.
Santelli said that America is such a compassionate country, filled with so many charitable people, before noting that there is a difference between being charitable and living the right way and having a government that "superimposes what it believes are parameters of charity and priorities of tax collection."
He blasted Obamacare for giving Americans less incentive to work, which Santelli said goes against what the country has always been about. He passionately noted that "the reasons we've done so much in such a short period in history and are the envy of the world... is because we have that work ethic."
Five years after his "rant heard around the world," Santelli said too many elected officials still want to "take care of people from cradle to grave by using bureaucratic responses," and he emphasized that that approach "is not working in Europe."
Santelli said that the best way to help "the poor or the underprivileged or the handicapped" is through free markets that create surpluses of capital "that can be put to use," and "a government that can spend what it takes in and prioritizes" the programs on which tax dollars are spent.
"Free markets and capitalism take care of people," Santelli said. "It isn't perfect all the time... but the hiccups [mostly occur] when government tries to mold it in different ways."
Santelli blasted the permanent political class for using emergencies to ram through bailouts by circumventing all of the rules that have defined society because "it is more expedient." He also slammed politicians who want to raise taxes and collect more fees by promising to spend it on education and roads, saying with all the money that is spent on "education and roads," Americans should have "super smart kids and be driving on the best roads in the world."
Unfortunately, Santelli said, politicians spend more on focus groups and buzz words than actual thoughts about the Constitution. He pointed out how Democrats have monopolized politics in places like California and Detroit that have been failing, but politicians continue to throw more money at the same problems, cover up failures, and paper over them like "wallpaper over termites."
"You can't try to do everything for everybody because you end up doing nothing for anybody," Santelli said.
He also dismissed critics that say the Tea Party is not a powerful force because it represents about a third of the population.
"A third of the population in five years gives me goosebumps," he said. "There is something going on in this country."
He said the voices for fiscal conservatism are growing and the Tea Party movement can bring about an America "that we kind of long for, that all of a sudden that has all of this change, much of it outside of the rules that had guided us so well."
He urged people to always "kick the tires" on the politicians and the policies they sell, and emphatically noted that politicians should always know that the "people put them there and the people can take them away."
As Breitbart News has reported, Tea Party leaders will hold a massive conference in Washington, D.C., to commemorate the five-year anniversary of the movement. Those like Breitbart's Michael Patrick Leahy organized the original conference call after Santelli's speech that formed the modern Tea Party movement and led to the creation of groups like the Tea Party Patriots, which will sponsor the conference. Mark Levin will keynote the conference on February 27 while Sean Hannity will deliver a capstone speech. Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Mike Lee (R-UT), two of the most beloved politicians among Tea Party conservatives, will also speak at the event.