Tuesday, December 13, 2016


Rick Perry will be America's New Energy Secretary!

President-Elect Trump has announced that he will nominate Rick Perry for Energy Secretary, a position that lately has gone to wonky science types (President Obama's pick when he won his first term was Steven Chu, a Nobel-prize winning physicist). It's good Perry started wearing those glasses a few years ago!

In fact, the Department of Energy doesn't have a lot to do with the regulation of energy production-- that falls to the EPA and the Department of the Interior, mostly. But it does have a lot to do with the handling of nuclear weapons and waste, and that IS important. As the Daily Beast pointed out, there is some link to that and Perry, since Texas does host the nation's largest contractor for the disassembly of nuclear weapons. 

Still, it does not seem that PEOTUS Trump is going big on "expertise." He's not the first to do that of course-- but it is a departure from the precedent of the Obama administration (with some notable exceptions).

Funny how all these Anti-Washington types are so eager to get to DC
He, like George W., cannot even pronounce "nuclear"!
I was thinking the same thing, IPLawguy! Looks like draining the swamp turned into flooding the swamp...to fill it with sharks.
A Few Thoughts:

1. As the Daily Beast piece admits, the trend toward nuclear physicists is not especially deep-rooted. Created in 1979, the agency has usually been headed by the usual suspects: RR appointed a SC governor, Bill Clinton nominated a FOB pol, Bush-43 nominated an out-of-work MI senator Spencer Abraham, and the list goes on of random bureaucratic-politician-types.

2. The premise of the Daily Beast piece is that specially qualified Ernest Moniz yielded the marvelous Iran nuclear deal, lauded by the author as the signature accomplishment of the Obama admin. Time will tell. But Donald Trump won election as president castigating that deal. And, indirectly, in his condemnation of the Perry pick, the author reluctantly admits that the Obama admin did not solve all the problems of the world; in fact, according to the piece, the Trump admin inherits a pretty precarious world situation.

3. The conventional-wisdom-defying election of Donald Trump part leads to the real point. Rick Perry represents a certain level of disrespect for business as usual in Washington. Trump the showman obviously relished placing Perry in a position that reminds us of Perry's political humiliation. More importantly, the appointment also spotlights the long controversy over the necessity of the Department of Energy. It is in keeping with other appointments designed to bring these allegedly sprawling and unaccountable and marginally relevant agencies to heel. Appointing Governor "Fed Up" to a secretary level position sends a message that is very much in keeping with "draining the swamp" (no predictions offered on the efficacy versus symbolism).

4. With or without the glasses, Rick Perry is a handsome man. Donald Trump reportedly favors players who look the part.

5. I like the pick. Why not? The secretary of defense doesn't need to be a general (but he can be by special act of Congress), the ag sec doesn't need to be a farmer, the ed sec doesn't need to be a teacher, the treasury secretary doesn't need to be an investment banker, and, if history is any indication, the energy secretary can just about be anybody with a pulse.
WF-- I hadn't thought about it, but you are right-- this cabinet is at least very good-looking. And I also agree that the pick is completely consistent with what Trump promised in the campaign.
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