Why wouldn't he denigrate them and associate them with The Lord of the Rings? He's getting ready for 2012 in the only way he knows how--by appearing not to run for President, he expects to be drafted at the convention. We have now had a Lord of the Flies reference and a Lord of the Rings reference in the span of about a day. The Republican Party is running on four flat tires and nothing but fumes right now.
McCain is realpolitik; the Tea Party is fantasyland. It's that simple.
But, there's a broader lesson to learn here. When a major politician makes an analogy to the Lord of the Rings and uses the word "hobbit" in any context, plural or otherwise, run. Run away, fast.