Gov. Rick Perry of Texas on Tuesday announced a proposal to alter the federal government that ranks among the most radical plans offered by any major Republican presidential candidate this year — and one that legal analysts say will almost surely never happen: making Congress operate part-time with half pay and ending lifetime tenure for federal judges.
“I don’t believe that Washington needs a new coat of paint — I think the whole place needs to be overhauled,” Mr. Perry said, speaking to applause from more than 100 people on the floor of the Schebler manufacturing plant here. “I’m a true believer that we need to uproot, tear down and rebuild Washington, D.C., and our federal institutions.”
Mr. Perry, who is trying to reboot a campaign that is lagging in the polls, proposed cutting the pay of Congress in half (or by three-fourths, under one proposal he sketched out) and halving both its budget and the time members spend in Washington.
“We have a lot of well-intentioned members of Congress, but they have become creatures of Washington,” Mr. Perry said. “They get paid more than three times the average American family, and they have doubled their own budgets in the last decade.”
Mr. Perry also vowed to “reform” the federal judiciary. “Too many federal judges rule with impunity from the bench,” he said, “and those who legislate from the bench should not be entitled to lifetime abuse of their judicial authority.” He proposed 18-year terms, staggered every two years, for new Supreme Court justices, and suggested similar limits on federal appellate and district court judges.
Shorter Perry: If I am elected as Rock in 2012, I promise to nerf Paper, and to nerf Scissors too for good measure.
It's telling that Perry's basically relying on the lunatic fringe to power what's left of his campaign at this point, promising to end the Departments of Everything on top of all this stuff, putting tens of thousands out of work, cutting off government services to pretty much everyone, and all while not having a chance in hell of actually enacting his plan. But it doesn't matter, he's just reduced to being as crazy as he can possibly be right now in order to try to win back the increasingly insane GOP base.
They deserve each other, frankly. But of course, all of us deserve better than them.