RSS
Rick Perry's 'dangerously unsound' plan for a part-time Congress
The struggling GOP presidential hopeful wants to overhaul Washington, but critics are quick to ridicule his plan to slash lawmaker pay and hours
Presidential hopeful Rick Perry wants to de-professionalize Congress, a proposal that is only further unnerving his dwindling base.
Presidential hopeful Rick Perry wants to de-professionalize Congress, a proposal that is only further unnerving his dwindling base.
LARRY W. SMITH/epa/Corbis
O

n Tuesday, in an apparent bid to rescue his faltering presidential campaign, Republican Rick Perry proposed a radical plan to "uproot and overhaul Washington." Perry wants to cut in half the time members of Congress spend in the capital, and slash their pay by as much as three-quarters. The Texas governor also pledged to reform the judiciary by ending lifetime appointments for judges — including those on the Supreme Court. There appears to be little chance that Perry could ever enact such far-reaching changes. But should we take them seriously?

These are "terrible" ideas: Perry's plan to turn the demands of being a congressman into a part-time job is "dangerously unsound," says Matthew Yglesias at ThinkProgress. Forcing elected officials to get day jobs would make them more susceptible to corruption, not less. It would also be a drain on their time, leaving them more dependent than ever on lobbyists to provide information on pending bills.
"Rick Perry's terrible plan for congressional reform"

But Washington does need new blood: You have to "admire the way Rick is willing to stir the pot," says Robert Stacy McCain at The Other McCain. And he's right about one thing: "With enough fresh blood and reduced incumbency, the Congress could move closer to serving the people, and resemble less an obnoxious aristocracy." But Perry's idea for making that happen is pure fantasy — it's "not going to mean much in the real world."
"Aw, c'mon, Gov. Perry"

Regardless, this could be campaign gold: Perry's reform pitch could work wonders for him, says Britain's Daily Mail. His call for a "part-time citizen Congress" may appeal to primary voters who are suspicious of "career politicians," and his opposition to lifetime judicial appointments will go over well with "conservatives who deplore activist judges." If nothing else, Perry might get people talking about something other than his disastrous brain-freeze at last week's debate.
"Perry promises government overhaul in latest make-or-break media offensive to overcome 'oops' moment"

EDITORS' PICKS

THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER

Subscribe to the Week