The Ghost of Sharron Angle

John McCain’s speech on the Senate floor yesterday was the rare stemwinder that actually caused some head-turning and murmuring in the press gallery. His point: House conservatives who didn’t vote for the Boehner plan, because of niggling issues like the promise of a vote on a a balanced budget amendment instead of required passage of the BBA, were schmucks.

To hold out and say we won’t agree to raising the debt limit until we pass a Balanced Budget Amendment to the constitution. It’s unfair, it’s bizarre. And maybe some people have only been in this body for six or seven months or so really believe that. Others know better.

He quoted the Wall Street Journal’s editorial to make this point:

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.

It was clipped in record time by the Senate Democrats.

Boom! Roasted! Of course, John McCain campaigned for Sharron Angle, and today she reminds him of that.

One man in Washington, who chose Sarah Palin to be his VP running-mate and came to Nevada to campaign for me last year in the Senate race against Harry Reid, is now promoting attacks against TEA* Party activists, ordinary American citizens, and fiscally conservative members of congress – all of whom are adamantly opposed to continuing the deficit-spending strategies proposed by some congressional members and the President.

Ironically, this man campaigned for TEA Party support in his last re-election, but now throws Christine O’Donnell and I into the harbor with Sarah Palin. As in the fable, it is the hobbits who are the heroes and save the land. This Lord of the TARP actually ought to read to the end of the story and join forces with the TEA Party, not criticize it.

First, “throwing in the harbor” is an odd choice of cliches. That’s what you do with tea! Second, McCain didn’t misstate the diehard position at all.

While Senator McCain advocates raising the debt ceiling as a solution – world markets and credit rating industries propose to down-grade our credit worthiness, impacting the value of the U.S. dollar and the state of our economy because of our world-famous spending problem.

Not true. Most indications from S&P and Moody’s are that a rise in the debt ceiling accompanied by spending cuts will convince them that America’s bond rating is still AAA/A+. If Republicans hadn’t forced this fight, and the debt ceiling was simply raised in December, it’s likely that S&P wouldn’t have demanded this. But they are. Republicans have mostly won. That’s McCain’s point.

The rightward march continues. Used to be that conservatives were angry at McCain because he opposed tax cuts and supported campaign finance reform. Now he’s calling for massive spending cuts and an eventual balanced budget amendment vote, and he’s still a RINO.

*Angle capitalizes “TEA” to make it an initialism for “Taxed Enough Already.”