I can’t tell whether Rick Perry’s demagoguery is effective or not. To me, he just sounded about as good as he has at any time in these debates, when giving an answer about making fellow Republicans “uncomfortable” by 1) making Congress part-time and B) passing a balanced budget amendment. Of course those answers are old staples in terms of (supposed) audience appeal. The BBA has been a staple for decades, and the “cut their pay and send them home” theme was the byword of Lamar Alexander’s presidential run in 1996. But the latter is utterly absurd in practice. It just gives more control to unelected bureaucrats; it makes the administrative state supreme. It’s just a dumb idea — on that front, and on many others. But will it gain Perry any traction, especially since he delivered it in what seemed to me to be a convincing manner? I just don’t know.
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