It started with an opinion piece published Wednesday on The Wall Street Journal website that attempted to explain why extremists on the right are willing to damage the American economy by blocking the routine debt ceiling increase (ellipsis in original):
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.
Senator John McCain (R-AZ), who labeled the far-right demands for budget legislation they know can't possibly be passed "deceiving" and "bizarro," quoted The Wall Street Journal's piece approvingly on the floor of the Senate.
That provoked a flurry of complaints from the far right. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) declared that "I'd rather be a Hobbit than a troll." Nevada Republican and failed Senate candidate Sharon Angle called McCain "the Lord of the TARP" (twice). Mark Meckler, co-founder of the group Tea Party Patriots, told CNN, "Clearly he's been corrupted by the ring of power."
I haven't yet seen a response from failed Delaware Republican Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell, who has as much reason to complain as anyone, since she is of course not a Hobbit but a witch and is widely known to weigh the same as a duck.