It may seem like grandstanding but a reporter's explosion (or implosion) has galvanized conservative troops to rally against President Obama's mortgage bailout plan.
Despite getting clobbered in the 2008 e-campaign world, Republicans are trying to compete in Internet-land, organizing protests later this week against the bailout.
All the Republican rancor is over the question: Why should the 92 percent of Americans who are paying their mortgages on time subsidize those who can't?
Or more precisely, why is government - specifically President Obama - pushing for this?
"How many of you people want to pay for your neighbor's mortgage because they can't pay their bills?" he yelled on the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade last Thursday.
Greeted with a chorus of boos, an exasperated Santelli -- arms waving like an over-caffeinated octopus -- said, "President Obama, are you listening?"
"It's tremendously important … for people who rant on cable television to be responsible and understand what it is they're talking about," Gibbs said. "I feel assured that Mr. Santelli doesn't know what he's talking about."
A copy of the president's plan in hand on Friday, Santelli told CNBC host Larry Kudlow that he had read it and, "Guess what? I still don't like it," he said ripping the paper in half.
"Do we want to teach our children that you can get out of a mistake and that there are do-overs?" he asked. "I just don't think that's American."
"Rick's Rant," now the name of the video clip, ratcheted up record numbers for a CNBC video, displacing a Jim Cramer clip from 2007.
CNBC isn't saying how many times the video has been watched on the site but one copy of the video on YouTube has generated nearly 600,000 views since being uploaded Thursday night.
Touched a nerve
Why the fascination?
"They feel like the ants who are now being asked to take care of the grasshoppers," Quick said.
So what's next? Santelli is calling for a Boston Tea Party-like revolt.
Republican activists have picked up that ball and are planning an event on Feb. 27. The movement is primarily Internet-based and is gaining traction on Michelle Malkin's website, Top Conservatives on Twitter, The Conservative Revolution and a Facebook page.
Fred VS. George
Can Republicans actually pull off an effective Internet campaign? The perception is that the GOP is Fred Flintstone in the land of George Jetson. And the only way that perception can change is by proving otherwise.
This week might be the first big test.
By the way, no word if the GOP plans similar revolts against Harris Interactive polling. They released a poll showing Americans rank President Obama as their top hero beating out Jesus (who came in 2nd) and Ronald Reagan (4th). You can read more about that here.