John McCain: Tea Party Is Making “Foolish Demands” In Debt Ceiling Debate

John McCain is no fan of the Tea Party’s influence in the debt ceiling debate:

Is the old John McCain back?

The fiery, independent version of the Republican senator from Arizona took to the floor of the Senate Wednesday morning. Demanding “straight talk,” Mr. McCain accused conservatives of abandoning reason by opposing the House Republican leader’s plan to resolve the debt crisis.

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.”

Of course McCain isn’t really well-liked among the Tea Party crowd to begin with. After all, they put up a candidate to try to defeat him in a primary last year. Nonetheless, harsh words like that on the Senate floor are indicative of a battle being fought right now inside the GOP over this and other issues. How it turns out wil be important to us all.

Here’s part of the speech:

FILED UNDER: Congress, Deficit and Debt, US Politics, , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. PD Shaw says:

    Wow, McCain is a hobbit-head and a superman fan. I wonder if he also speaks Quenya or has an opinion on what is the most interesting type of kryptonite?

  2. The Heretik says:

    John McCain would be an authority on foolish. Some part of him thought long and hard before he took a few minutes to name Sarah Palin his running mate in 2008.

  3. Pug says:

    Oooh…he’s so mavericky and stuff.

  4. Lit3Bolt says:

    Wow, someone in the media still wants to fluff John McCain? Must be a slow news day.

  5. jerome says:

    John Mccain disparaging anyone as a “hobbit” is as rich as it gets. Enough said.

  6. Pug says:

    “This is the kind of crack political thinking that turned Sharron Angle and Christine O’Donnell into G.O.P. nominees,”

    John forgot to mention Sarah Palin, I guess?

  7. Randy M says:

    Does John McCain remember that his VP was Sarah Palin–the proud Tea Party madame? Two years ago he promoted a Tea Party candidate to be a breath away from U.S. President. Now he realize the foolishness of his actions.

  8. Tom says:

    Dear John…we know that you`re a phony schmuck… You…Bush…Hillary…..B.O…….etc…(And ….nobody gives a rat`s ass what your opinion is…