John McCain Blasts 'Tea Party Hobbits'
Skewers hard right, saying vote against GOP plan would help Obama
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 28, 2011 6:53 AM CDT
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) talks with reporters after leaving the Republican caucus meeting in the U.S. Capitol July 25, 2011 in Washington, DC.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Is it the return of the long-lost Maverick? John McCain came out swinging at both the left and the right yesterday, calling Harry Reid's debt plan "full of smoke and mirrors," but reserving his harshest language for conservatives, reports the LA Times. Reading from a Wall Street Journal editorial, McCain panned the right-wing idea of refusing to increase the debt ceiling in order to force Democrats to tackle entitlement reform and a balanced-budget amendment, after which "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," said McCain, still quoting the editorial. He read more from it: "The reality is the debt limit will be raised one way or the other. If conservatives defeat the [GOP] plan, they will not only undermine their House majority, they will go far to reelecting Mr. Obama and making entitlements that much harder to reform." And the Tea Party response? "Clearly he's been corrupted by the ring of power," said one activist. (Christine O'Donnell had something to say, too...)