When political geeks geek out, they really geek out.
Case in point: The past week’s debate over the debt ceiling, which quickly devolved into a debate over who could deliver the best “Lord of the Rings” zinger. The Wall Street Journal started the fracas with an editorial that compared the Tea Party to hobbits — and all of Mordor’s hellfire broke forth.
Former presidential candidate Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) picked up on the comments and took them to the floor of Congress.
“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,” he said, quoting the editorial. “This is the kind of crack political thinking that turned Sharron Angle and Christine O’Donnell into GOP Senate nominees.”
Of course, that didn’t sit too well with the Tea Party.
Angle released a statement accusing McCain of being “Lord of the TARP” — the much-maligned Troubled Asset Relief Program designed to address the nation’s subprime mortgage crisis.
“As in the fable, it is the hobbits who are the heroes and save the land. This Lord of the TARP actually ought to read to the end of the story and join forces with the TEA Party, not criticize it,” she said.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) was more insulting, calling McCain a “troll,” which, of course, are good guys in the classic J.R.R. Tolkien tales.
“I’d rather be a hobbit than a troll,” he said of McCain.
After the GOP got “98 percent” of what it wanted in the debt debate (according to House Speaker John Boehner), pundits once again weighed-in on the LOTR.
Former GOP presidential candidate Patrick J. Buchanan declared the Hobbits the winners (and then bizarrely mixed metaphors).
“The Tea Party ‘Hobbits’ are indeed returning to Middle Earth — to nail the coonskin to the wall,” he wrote.
MSNBC’s Martin Bashir summed the debate up this way: “The hobbits won and the country lost.”
The paper that started it all, however, couldn’t help but thinking its point was lost in all the Tolkien debate.
“Our point was that there’s no such thing as a hobbit,” the Wall Street Journal wrote.
At least we all learned one truism from all the fantasy talk: In Washington, there’s apparently no one who can resist a hobbit metaphor.