Michelle Malkin is your one-stop shop for Tea Party '09 information, the conservative answer to doing anything in order to save the economy.
Rick Santelli, CNBC personality (the term being used broadly), broke into a rant on the trading floor on Thursday about how the mortgage plan is completely and totally unfair and is stealing the hard-earned money that Republicans made sure he and the people cheering him on paid minimal taxes on. As Ezra points out, the clip is utterly bizarre - a guy in an $800 suit ranting at people in the very industry that got us in this mess about how they shouldn't be responsible for helping ensure the economy on which they depend doesn't go to hell. And, of course, his populist outrage is met with hoots and hollers, because the guy's on the trading floor of the stock exchange.
Malkin and her ilk have decided that since some guy said something they liked in a room full of people predisposed to like it, the same axiom should apply at any place and any time. Hence, "Tea Parties".
In general, the goal of a successful protest should be to capture the particular mood and emotions of a substantial number of people, and to turn that zeitgeist into popular action. This explains why the crux of the "Tea Party" movement has been bright signs making fun of something a black lady said. Apparently, renters of the world should unite as well, taking poorly lettered signs to the nearest gathering of Democrats until hatin'-ass mortgage holders back up off this hot shit.
The big problem with this entire psuedo-populist movement is that it presumes that a.) we all travel in cloistered enclaves where if we rent, we don't know mortgage owners and if we have a mortgage we don't know anyone who's struggling with theirs and b.) that our economy still works in discrete pockets, none of which impinge on the other. It's very easy to find such an enclave, say, on a trading floor or the comments section of a conservative website. It's much harder to maintain the fantasy if you actually interact with people on a daily basis. I'm not even talking about sitting down and having lunch with that keerazy lady who wants the government to help her not be homeless, but even someone who's just struggling or worried or aware of things that happen outside of the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal. If you're nasty.
I do, however, eagerly anticipate the failure of this latest effort to convince the American public that they're whiny fuckfaces; like the pro-Iraq War protests of 2003 until whenever they petered out and went to TGI Friday's, this should truly change the discourse. Entirely against their efforts, mind you, but change it nonetheless. And if you'd like to set up your own "Tea Party", instructions are here. Notice that at no point do they actually tell you what to protest or how to protest it, but whatever the hell it is you say, it'll be in BIG LETTERS.