"Bizarro": Dr. Frankenstein's lament
John McCain is perturbed. Who can blame him?
There he was, on the Senate floor on Wednesday afternoon, as the debt-ceiling clock (and his patience) ticked down toward zero. With a deadline looming, and with who-knows-what economic calamities waiting just around the bend, the two sides had -- amazingly -- only hardened their positions.
John McCain was not amused. He had a few things he wanted to get off his chest -- and much of his fire was aimed at his fellow Republicans. At certain kinds of fellow Republicans.
“What is really amazing about this is that some, some members are believing that we can pass a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution in this body with its present representation, and that is foolish. That is worse than foolish – that is deceiving. …”
That is, not to put too fine a point on it, the Tea Party.
The Tea Party fringe of the far-right wing of the GOP caucus had been pushing for a constitutional amendment to balance the budget as the price of their support for any deal the leadership might somehow cobble together and dump on the Democrats. Without a balanced-budget amendment -- or at least a vote on a balanced-budget amendment -- the Tea Partiers weren’t interested in joining the Boehner Brigade.
Mr. McCain wondered about their grip on reality -- let alone their effect on their fellow citizens.
“That is not fair to the American people, to hold out and say we won’t agree to raising the debt limit until we pass a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution. It’s unfair, it’s bizarro. And maybe some people who’ve only been in this body for six or seven months or so really believe that. Others know better. Others know better.”
Mr. McCain pointed out the political impossibility of getting 67 votes for a controversial constitutional amendment in a Senate with only 47 Republicans. And he urged his colleagues to put aside their delusions and actually do the hard work of serious negotiating toward a bipartisan budget deal.
You can feel for him, can’t you? When John McCain hurts, we all hurt.
There he was, railing against absurd pronouncements. Against doctrinaire positions right out of Fantasyland. Against soundbite politics that stir the pot but only make it harder to solve the problem.
Sounds like Sarah Palin’s to-do list, doesn’t it?
And who was it who unleashed Sarah Palin (and that Sarah Palin attitude, and a gaggle of Sarah Palin wannabes -- Michele Bachmann and all the rest) on the world?
Who was it who put pizzazz in the spotlight and pushed serious right into the orchestra pit?
None other than John McCain his own self. He brought her onstage! He put her on his ticket!
“Dr. Frankenstein, call your office. Dr. Frankenstein, please call your office…”
If the current argument is more substance-free than it ought to be, more acrimonious than it can afford to be, Sarah Palin has to be on your list of prime suspects: the Mama Grizzly, the Pit Bull with Lipstick, with her “death panels” and her “hopey-changeys” and her Twitter-sized grasp of the world.
And John McCain? John McCain is the reason Sarah Palin isn’t still tucked away in an upper corner of the continent somewhere. He’s the biggest reason Palin and her ilk now have an all-access pass to America’s eardrums.
And now John McCain is perturbed at the state of debate in this country. Can you blame him?
Rick Horowitz is a syndicated columnist. You can write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.