McCain Assails "Tea Party Hobbits"


The five-term Republican senator from Arizona gets his sneer on:

Mr. McCain mocked Tea Party-allied Republicans in the House for believing — wrongly, he said — that President Obama and Democrats will get the blame for a default if Republicans refuse to increase the nation's debt ceiling.

By that flawed logic, "Democrats would have no choice but to pass a balanced budget amendment and reform entitlements and the Tea Party Hobbits could return to Middle Earth," he said, quoting a Wall Street Journal editorial.

"This is the kind of crack political thinking that turned Sharron Angle and Christine O'Donnell into G.O.P. nominees," he jeered, referring to two losing Tea Party candidates for the Senate in 2010. […]

Mr. McCain assailed the conservative Republicans in the House who are threatening passage of the debt cutting plan by the House speaker, John A. Boehner, calling their political logic "bizarro" and noting sarcastically that they have only been in office a short time.

"Maybe some people who have only been in this body for six or seven months or so really believe that," he said. "Others know better. Others know better."

McCain is obviously no stranger to do-something histrionics, which he sporadically tries to walk back post-facto on those rare occasions when he feels like he needs to be responsive to, rather than dismissive of, grassroots right-of-center sentiment. What I think is more interesting here is his dismissal of the "crack political thinking" of the Tea Party in 2010, a year that returned a Republican majority to the House of Representatives, anchored by a new caucus of Tea Party-approved freshmen. Why, it's almost as if McCain (like his intellectual patron Bill Kristol) is irritated by the fact that Republicans on Capitol Hill are having to take limited-government concerns seriously for the first time in a generation!

Nick Gillespie and I wrote about that latter phenomenon (including the role of Christine O'Donnell) in yesterday's L.A. Times. I wrote a book four years ago entitled McCain: The Myth of a Maverick. FWIW, I completely agree with the senator that anyone who thinks that a highly improbable debt default would be blamed primarily on Obama is probably goofy-headed; I'm just not sure that describes many people.

Oh, and I left out the best part–as is utterly predictable yet totally hilarious, the New York Times announced McCain's Tea Party slam with the eternal announcement: "[O]n Wednesday morning, it looked like the maverick had returned."