The George H.W. Bush Presidential Library Foundation at Texas A&M has announced that the former president will host an “Economic Leadership Forum” next week that includes a panel of “distinguished leaders and recognized experts” — one of which is CNBC blowhard and former derivatives trader Rick Santelli:
President George Bush will host an Economic Leadership Forum featuring Maria Bartiromo, Richard Kovacevich, Lawrence Lindsey, and Rick Santelli. [...] The Twanna M. Powell Lecture Series is an endowed program designed to bring distinguished leaders and recognized experts on current issues of international and domestic interest to the campus of Texas A&M University.
Lindsey, who served as President George W. Bush’s National Economic Council director, once predicted that “the negative effect” of the war in Iraq “will be quite small relative to the economic benefits.”
It is unclear what “recognized” expertise former President Bush’s library foundation finds in Santelli. Last February during an on-air rant, Santelli famously called for a Chicago tea party to protest President Obama’s housing rescue plan. The right wing immediately latched onto Santelli’s rant, with some inviting him on their talk radio shows to promote it. In fact, on G. Gordon Liddy’s show, Santelli claimed — without any basis — that the White House was threatening him and that his kids “are nervous to go to school,” an assertion he was later forced to back away from.
Santelli’s February rant also inspired many of the tax day “tea party” protests across the country. “Santelli hit a lot of things that I believe — that the government needs to stop getting involved in everything,” one local New York organizer said. Indeed, Santelli solidified his right-wing bona fides yesterday saying that he’s “pretty proud” that the gatherings took place, adding, “I think that this tea party phenomenon is steeped in American culture.”
Now, Santeilli’s recent work has sparked a backlash within his own network. The New York Post reports today that GE and NBC executives are worried that “CNBC has become too conservative and is beating up on Obama too much.” Former President Bush apparently has no such concerns.