BARAD-DUR, MORDOR (HA) — The Wall Street Journal offered this, er, interesting assessment of Tea Party opposition to the John Boehner plan:
But what none of these critics have is an alternative strategy for achieving anything nearly as fiscally or politically beneficial as Mr. Boehner’s plan. The idea seems to be that if the House GOP refuses to raise the debt ceiling, a default crisis or gradual government shutdown will ensue, and the public will turn en masse against . . . Barack Obama. The Republican House that failed to raise the debt ceiling would somehow escape all blame. Then 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 having defeated Mordor.
This is the kind of crack political thinking that turned Sharron Angle and Christine O’Donnell into GOP Senate nominees. The reality is that the debt limit will be raised one way or another, and the only issue now is with how much fiscal reform and what political fallout.
There are a couple of problems with the WSJ’s analysis, as well as a couple of salient points. First, the House GOP did offer to raise the debt ceiling in exchange for the Cut, Cap, and Balance Act. Harry Reid wouldn’t even put that to a floor vote in the Senate, tabling it instead. Boehner then proposed another smaller bill that required a vote (not passage) of a Balanced Budget Amendment, which Democrats refused. To this moment, Democrats still haven’t put one single specific proposal on the table to raise the debt ceiling, not even in the Senate, where they control the majority. It’s true that believing that all of the blame will fall on Democrats is wishful thinking, but Republicans have offered up very specific plans that increased the debt ceiling, including the one Boehner is now reworking.
By the way, that “crack political thinking” of the Tea Party might have offered up a couple of clunker candidates, but it also produced a 63-seat swing in the House for Republicans and put people like Marco Rubio, Kelly Ayotte, and Mike Lee in the Senate. Which is good news, because we still have a couple of old wizards from the Saruman school stuck there:
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.
Actually, maybe McCain could be better described as the Mouth of Mainstream Media, given that he seems unable to come up with his own thinking on the topic. McCain’s thinking is pretty clear here — the One cannot be defeated, and so one must join forces with it. Had McCain actually read the books that he references, he’d have seen how well that worked out.
By the way, just in case in you don’t recall … the hobbits win in Lord of the Rings. They got a lot of ridicule from the elite and the powerful along the way, but they end up saving the West from ruinous destruction.