Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
It looks like Arizona's angry old man Sen. McNasty, John McCain, has had enough of those Tea Party punks hanging out on his lawn. For the second day in a row, McCain took to the well of the Senate to criticize a Tea Party senator as too effin' ignorant to be in the Senate. This time it was Tea Party darlin' Mike Lee (R-UT).
Greg Sargent has the play-by-play. Tea Party Senators jump the shark:
In a key moment on the Senate floor this morning, John McCain came
very close to stating outright that Tea Party Republican Senators are in
the grip of what some of us have been describing as a kind of ”post policy nihilism”
that has taken over the GOP. This should be a real clarifying moment:
Tea Party Senators have pushed their disregard for basic governing norms
so far that even fellow Republicans are calling them out for it.
Far right Senators Mike Lee, Ted Cruz, and Rand Paul have been
insisting that Democrats and Republicans should not enter into
conference negotiations over the budget unless Democrats agree in advance not to push for a rise in the debt ceiling as part of the talks. McCain took to the Senate floor today and laid into Senator Lee very hard over this (video below the fold):
As McCain rightly pointed out, the Tea Party demand is effectively is
that Republicans must not negotiate over the budget “unless certain
conditions are imposed” on the negotiations beforehand “that happen to
be important to a small group of United States Senators.”
“Obviously that would paralyze the process here,” McCain
continued. The Tea Party Senators have complained that conference
negotiations amount to back room dealing, but as McCain pointed out,
whatever agreement is reached is subjected “to an overall vote of both
bodies” of Congress. McCain suggested that governing can’t happen if the
two sides can’t enter into negotiations, and in a reference to Lee’s
claims about the debt ceiling, added: “maybe the senator from Utah ought
to learn a little bit more about how business has been done in the
Congress of the United States.”
This is really remarkable stuff, and again goes to a basic fact about
today’s politics, which is that Tea Party lawmakers have — willfully,
it seems – decided that they no longer have any obligation to engage in
basic governing. And that holds outsized influence over the entire
* * *
The fact that McCain has now denounced their antics — as did Susan Collins
yesterday — in such harsh terms suggests that allowing the Tea Party
trio to continue calling the shots may be increasingly untenable.
* * *
Democrats hope that Republican lawmakers will now be forced to face
their constituents and local editorial boards and be asked to explain
why they are willing to hold up budget talks, seemingly because far
right members want to maintain their ability to threaten to blow up the
economy in order to get their way.
This poses a very simple test for Republicans who like to think of
themselves as moderate. How many of them will do what McCain and Collins
have done and call out this lunacy among their far right
colleagues? This is yet another sign that the post policy nihilism that
has taken over large swaths of the GOP is the real reason compromise in
Washington has become impossible.
A GOP civil war?