As a guest on CNBC’s Squawk Box, Meredith Whitney thought she was on safe ground when she opined that Tea Party members were”freaked out white men who are unemployed,” then followed up with blaming the grass roots movement for the problems in Washington DC. Whitney should have should have looked at the schedule before she spoke, because Rick Santelli was on next. As you would expect after he was done with his Chicago exchange report Santelli, who helped start the tea party movement with an epic rant, lit into Ms Whitney giving her a classic, well-deserved verbal “bitch slap” even getting a bit personal.
MEREDITH WHITNEY, Banking Analyst: I would suggest that the debate is really around unemployment, and I think that, you know, call the Tea Party whatever you will, the fringe element is, you know, I characterize freaked out white men who are unemployed and have been unemployed for three years and they’re scared to death. And three to four million of them are just about to roll off of unemployment benefits in the next three months. So, this is only going to get worse. For this reason, you have to deal with structural issues. So, if you are a Machiavellian Democrat, you want to deal with this issue and defuse the Tea Party as fast as you possibly can, because this poses the biggest threat to their reelection I think in ’12.
BTW, not only is Ms. Whitney wrong in her opinion of the nature of the tea party, but she is also wrong about the gender. According to Dr. Helen Smith writing for the PJ Tatler:
Many of the tea party’s most influential grass-roots and national leaders are women, and a new poll released this week by Quinnipiac University suggests that women might make up a majority of the movement as well.
After the Banking expert gave her little speech about the Tea Party, Santelli gave his regular report and then began his take-down of Ms Whitney.
[youtube 1Ckd1wIxBEo nolink]
RICK SANTELLI, CNBC: You know, Joe, I’m surprised you don’t want to ask me anything.
JOE KERNEN, CNBC: I never know, Rick, I never know how to get you going. Sometimes I ask you the most loaded questions and you blow it off. Other times I think I’m asking the most innocuous thing.
SANTELLI: No, I just had a few e-mails about a comment that one of our guests made today. I’m surprised you didn’t ask me, that’s all.
KERNEN: Which comment?. Oh, oh, oh, oh, yeah, you are white and you are angry.
SANTELLI: Well, you know what? The last person that said that was King George and he said it about the colonists, you know? That’s all I can say.
KERNEN: That’s, it could be another, another YouTube moment. All right, all right. I’m, I hear you.
SANTELLI: I don’t need to rant about that. You know, those were our Founding Fathers.
KERNEN: Yeah, they were angry.
Then Santelli gets personal.
Last September, Whitney released a report to her clients saying that states are dealing with budget woes, prompting them to cut off aid to municipalities. So, Whitney said, governments will prioritize local taxpayers over investors and choose to default on their debt. This prediction made a lot of news and was very wrong.
Because of her prediction, investors fled the municipal bond market. But no one told the bonds. During the first six months of 2011, muni defaults are down 60 percent compared to the same period last year—oopsie!
Now back to Santelli’s rant against Whitney.
SANTELLI: How many muni areas have actually defaulted, by the way? Just a question.
WHITNEY: Why is he so angry? What have I done to you?
KERNEN: He’s an angry white man.
WHITNEY: I was empathizing with people who are unemployed.
SANTELLI: Oh come on. Think about it. Think about it. Stick with munis.
WHITNEY: I don’t know where that came from, but okay.
(transcript source Newsbusters)
That had to hurt! Meredith Whitney didn’t even know what hit her. Maybe in the future perhaps she should take a moment to think before she opens her mouth. Especially since Meredith is already being hit with criticism for unnecessarily screwing up the municipal bond market. Now Rick Santelli makes her look like a deer in headlights. She should know suffering a cerebral rectal inversion on live TV is never dignified.