Sen. McCain takes the Tea Party to task. (Getty)

CNN is reporting that GOP Sen. John McCain of Arizona gave a speech yesterday on the Senate floor that lambasted the Tea Party and Michele Bachmann. McCain said that the movement is "foolish" to think a balanced budget amendment could pass before the Aug. 2 deadline.

At one point, McCain read from an op-ed in Wednesday's Wall Street Journal. That article referred to activists as "tea party hobbits" — the little people who inhabit Middle Earth in the Lord of the Rings series. McCain — 2008's Republican presidential nominee — also blasted as "bizarre" an idea supported by current GOP presidential candidate Michele Bachmann, though McCain did not mention her by name. McCain took new members to task for trying to subvert the process that needs to move forward.

McCain also blasted Democrats in his speech. He called the plan from Majority Leader Harry Reid "full of smoke and mirrors," and said President Barack Obama is leading "from behind" by not offering "a specific plan that perhaps could be considered by both bodies."

The nation's largest Tea Party group is responding to McCain. Mark Meckler, co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, told CNN that many Americans support a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution — and "What Republicans should be doing is pushing all the way to the line."

As for McCain's quoting the Wall Street Journal's line about "tea party hobbits," Meckler used his own Lord of the Rings metaphor to strike back at the senator. "Clearly he's been corrupted by the ring of power," Meckler said.


Wow. To say that Tea Party members and traditional GOP members are butting heads is an understatement. I suspect that when McCain named Sarah Palin as his running mate in 2008, he didn't forsee the emergence of the Tea Party movement, which is largely the result of her extremist rhetoric.

The Tea Party sees itself as independent of any traditional political practices, so it is no surprise that they are battling the GOP. Threatening Boehner was the first sign of division when he wouldn't do what they wanted early on in the debt-ceiling debate. It's hard to work with folks who don't respect anything or anybody, including political experience. Oh, well. You reap what you sow. McCain and the GOP are learning that the hard way.

Read more at CNN.

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