The tone of John McCain’s recent floor speech on the debt ceiling debate was apparently meant to communicate an underlying theme: McCain is a realist amidst a sea of inexperienced ideologues and zealous demagogues.
While much commotion has been ensuing owing to McCain’s mention of “Tea Party hobbits,” (and whatever that is supposed to mean exactly) this obscures the more crucial point.
For one, the allusions to Tolkien’s lore stem from this article, published by the Wall Street Journal, which McCain was merely quoting. Second and more important, is what the subject of McCain’s speech was actually about: political gamesmanship.
While McCain was ostensibly making the case that principle should not be sacrificed in the face of political power plays, his suggestion is to…sacrifice principle in the face of poltical power play? What? It would appear that way according to this clip.
As McCain sees it, sticking to principle and advocating for a Balanced Budget Amendment, or even simply refusing to support Boehner’s ‘compromise’ on the debt-deal, is not only “bizarro,” but “worse than foolish, it is deceiving,” to the American people. Why is it deceiving? Apparently because:
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 [with] what political fallout.
McCain goes on to say that by not supporting the Boehner plan, congressional conservatives will have merely increased Obama’s chance for reelection success in 2012. Bizarro indeed.
This type of partisan rehtoric, aside from coming off as trite, should be sobering to Americans for several reasons. The most striking aspect is the fact that McCain was the GOP contender in 2008.
Given the same, tired “we must sustain the status-quo, lest we perish,” logic, would anyone seriously maintain at this point that, had McCain actually been elected in ’08, the political situation would be in any manner different?
We would almost assuredly still have a president scolding congress for its delibertation on the debt, holding the threat of withheld social security benefits like a sword over the people’s necks, and citing the 14th Amendment as mandate for executive usurpation of Congress’s power.
We would still have a president who prefers political footballing and issue displacement as opposed to substantive reform and adherence to the law.Published in