Yesterday, wealthy heir John Raese (R-WV), who suffered a crushing election defeat against Sen. John Manchin (D-WV) in 2010, filed papers seeking a rematch later this year. Raese, who campaigned on a series of increasingly bizarre policy proposals in 2010 — “we need 1,000 laser systems put in the sky and we need it right now” was a key prong of Raese’s national security program — distinguished himself as one of the many tenther candidates in the last election cycle who believed that pretty much everything is unconstitutional.
As ThinkProgress reported during Raese’s last Senate race, he directed particular ire towards the minimum wage:
Mr. Raese, chief executive officer of Morgantown-based Greer Industries, which runs interests as diverse as mining and broadcasting, has taken fire for saying he would abolish the minimum wage. But he has refused to back down, saying it’s not only bad policy, but it’s not constitutional.
“I don’t think it is. And the reason I don’t think it is, is the same reason the [National Recovery Administration] was not constitutional in 1936,” he said. “It was declared unconstitutional because it was government micromanaging an intervention into the private sector. Well, what are price controls, or what are wage controls? They’re the same thing.”
As we explained when Raese originally said this, it’s not at all clear what Constitution Raese is talking about here — but it’s not the U.S. Constitution. Our Constitution gives Congress the power “[t]o regulate commerce…among the several states,” a power which even ultraconservative Justice Antonin Scalia agrees gives Congress broad authority to regulate “economic activity.” And the Supreme Court unanimously upheld the first federal minimum wage law in a 1941 decision called United States v. Darby.
It will be interesting to see if Raese’s strange mix of futuristic weapons systems and constitutional ignorance plays any better in 2012 than it did in 2010. Raese, however, probably shouldn’t hold his breath. Even though Republicans generally did well in 2010, tenthers such as Raese, Joe Miller (R-AK), Sharon Angle (R-NV) and Ken Buck (R-CO) got beat back by voters who had little interest in electing a Senate determined to tear up the Constitution.