John McCain unloads on the tea party

Frustrated by the sniping of conservative critics who opoose House Speaker John Boehner's plan to raise the debt ceiling, Arizona Sen. John McCain unleashed on tea party groups Wednesday.

The former Republican presidential candidate went on a tirade against conservative groups that are urging House members to reject Boehner's plan, and pulled a few lines from this morning's Wall Street Journal editorial which dismissed them as "tea party hobbits."

Mediaite has the video:

"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," McCain said, quoting the Journal article. "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," McCain added, still reading from the article.

While Boehner and the Republican leadership are busy piecing together a plan they think can pass the Democratic-controlled Senate, major conservative groups--including an organized caucus of members within the House--are urging members to vote against him. Tea party support helped usher in many of the 87 Republican House freshman elected last November--and a significant number in that class are now aiding the revolt against GOP leadership.