Some of the Republican candidates’ rhetoric these days is just sickly comical. Like Ted Cruz showing us how to make “machine gun bacon.” And some of it is frightening. Like Mike Huckabee saying he wouldn’t rule out the use of federal troops to stop abortions. But regardless, it is clear that the one thing that is resulting from “Trump-mania” is that, if you want to stand out of the crowd of 17, you have to say something truly outrageous.
Doing so is hardly Jeb Bush’s forte. It’s true that he’s done some outrageous things (i.e., Terri Schaivo), but his rhetoric is usually pretty muted. Perhaps the push to ramp things up explains why he’d make a video like this where he threatens to cut Congress’ pay:
Just one problem with that Jeb! As Ian Millhiser points out – it’s not constitutional.
Bush’s proposal to unilaterally cut lawmakers’ pay is unconstitutional. The 27th Amendment provides that “[n]o law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened,” so any law changing congressional pay would not take effect until after the next congressional election. More importantly, the Constitution provides that “Senators and Representatives shall receive a compensation for their services, to be ascertained by law,” so Congress itself would have to acquiesce in Bush’s proposal for it to ever become law. “Jeb” does not have the power to “cut their pay” on his own, even if he is elected president.
But then, of course, sending in federal troops to stop women from exercising their constitutional rights doesn’t exactly meet that criteria either.
One has to wonder when/if we might reach “peak outrageous rhetoric” this campaign season. It’s hard to imagine what that might be given the territory we’ve travelled so far.