Tag Archives: DOE

Rick Perry leaves Cabinet under his own power; no small feat

I’ll acknowledge what you may already suspect: Rick Perry wasn’t my favorite Texas politician when he served as the state’s longest-ever tenured governor.

However, as secretary of energy, Rick Perry proved to be, well, a survivor in the sausage grinder that passes for Donald Trump’s Cabinet.

He’s about to leave office under his own power. He’s walking way because he chose to do so, not because Donald Trump kicked him out. Believe me, given the president’s record of booting top-level officials to the curb, that is no small feat.

How has he done as energy boss, running an agency he once targeted for elimination were he elected president in 2012 — and which he (in)famously forgot to mention when he sought to list the agencies he would eliminate? Not bad, but not great.

My biggest bone to pick with him is that he was virtually silent in pushing alternative energy development. That was not what occurred on his watch as Texas governor, when he presided over the state’s ascent to leading the nation in the development of wind energy. OK, so his governorship wasn’t a total loser.

His energy secretary tenure featured none of that kind of leadership, which I find a major disappointment.

However, he is able to walk away from the Cabinet without being forced out. That is a relatively important aspect of his departure from public office.

He wants to come home. I guess he wants to do something else. Maybe spend “more time with the family.” I don’t know.

There might be some questions to answer, though, as his name has gotten entangled in that Ukraine matter involving his soon-to-be former political benefactor, Donald Trump … the man he once described as a “cancer on conservatism.”

Keep your phone close by, Mr. Secretary. Congress might be on the other end of a call.

Trump was ‘chosen’? By whom and for what purpose?

There can be little if any doubt that Energy Secretary Rick Perry has swilled the Donald J. Trump Kool-Aid, the elixir that turns Trump foes into slobbering sycophants.

The lame duck energy boss, who’s leaving office at the end of this week, has declared that the president is the “chosen one” who got elected in 2016.

Really? I could swear I heard the former Texas governor declare that Trump was a “cancer on conservatism.” He said that during the 2016 presidential campaign when Perry was one of a large group of Republicans challenging Trump for the party nomination.

Perry told Fox News that Trump was “sent by God to do great things.” I am resisting the urge to upchuck my breakfast.

I will not delineate the areas where I believe Trump has fallen flat on his face as president, other than to say that Perry’s phony-sounding fealty to Trump has the sound to my ears of a cult follower.

“God’s used imperfect people all through history. King David wasn’t perfect. Saul wasn’t perfect. Solomon wasn’t perfect,” Perry said in the interview, which aired this past Sunday.

Oh … my.

You may go now, Mr. Secretary.

Perry to quit Trump Cabinet, ending a quiet tenure at Energy

Rick Perry reportedly is set to quit his job as secretary of energy, returning to the private sector, perhaps in Texas, where he served as the state’s longest-tenured governor before joining the Donald Trump administration.

Some in the media are making a bit of noise about Perry’s pending departure, linking him to the growing scandal involving Trump’s relationship with Ukraine and his solicitation of the Ukrainian president to assist in Trump’s bid for re-election.

Actually, Perry has been reported ready to leave D.C. for several weeks.

How has he done as energy secretary? I wish he would have devoted as much, um, energy to alternative power sources as he did when he served as Texas governor from 2000 to 2014. Indeed, Texas emerged as a leader in wind-power technology during Perry’s stint as governor.

He ran for the Republican nomination for president twice, in 2012 and 2016. Perry once called Donald Trump a “cancer on conservatism,” then swallowed his criticism when the president nominated him to become energy secretary.

Perhaps most ironic is that Perry — during a presidential candidate joint appearance in 2012 — became the source of the infamous “oops” quote when he couldn’t name the third agency he would eliminate were he elected president; that agency was the Department of Energy.

Whatever … Perry became an advocate for fossil fuels when he took the Cabinet post. Yes, he also pitched alternative energy development, but with hardly any of the verve he did while in Austin.

I haven’t a clue whether the Ukraine scandal is going to swallow Perry along with Trump and possibly others within the administration. The president reportedly told a GOP audience that Perry asked him to call Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zellenskiy, which has produced much of the evidence that Trump has violated his oath of office by soliciting the Ukrainian for re-election help along with dirt on former VP Joe Biden.

That part of the saga will play out in due course.

As for Secretary Perry’s record at the Department of Energy?

Eh …

Why the heavy security for DOE boss?

Betsy DeVos is getting a lot of security from the U.S. Marshals Office.

She’s the secretary of education. Yet her security detail is running up a significant tab, nearly $20 million through September 2019.

I can understand such heavy security for, oh, the Drug Enforcement Agency boss, or the secretary of state, or the secretary of defense, the CIA director, the FBI director, the attorney general, the director of national intelligence, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the United Nations ambassador … and oh yes, the president and vice president of the United States of America.

But the education secretary? The individual charged with administering our nation’s public school systems?

DeVos has been heckled by protestors. The Justice Department ordered the protection after such heckling.

But, man, that’s a lot of money to spend guarding the nation’s public school boss. I would like to know what, precisely, we’re paying for.

Jackson mess seems to fit a pattern

Let’s review for a brief moment some of Donald J. Trump’s key Cabinet appointments.

I thought it would be worthwhile to look back a bit in the wake of the Dr. Ronny Jackson nomination to become head of the Department of Veterans Affairs. Dr. Jackson is a fine physician who has a good rapport with the president, which seems to be the major — perhaps the only — reason Trump selected him to lead the VA. He has no experience in leading an agency of such size and importance. His nomination is in dire peril over allegations of drinking on the job and over-prescribing of medicine.

  • Dr. Ben Carson is a renowned neurosurgeon who now runs the Department of Housing and Urban Development. His experience in running a huge federal agency? None, although he said he once visited a public housing complex.
  • Betsy DeVos was educated in private schools; she sent her children to private schools. She has no direct experience or exposure to public education. Yet she runs the U.S. Department of (public) Education.
  • Rick Perry once declared he wanted to eliminate the Department of Energy. Now he is the secretary of the agency he once promised to wipe away.
  • Scott Pruitt served as Oklahoma attorney general and sued the federal government repeatedly over what he said were onerous regulations designed to protect our environment. Now he is head of the Environmental Protection Agency.
  • Jim Bridenstine had no science background before Trump nominated him to lead NASA, the nation’s space agency.
  • The Trump administration has burned through four communications directors in less than 18 months. One of them had, um, no experience in the communications field.

Is there a pattern here? Sure there is. The fellow who nominated all of them to their high offices has no political/government/public service either.

The first public office the president of the United States ever sought was the one he occupies at this moment. He has no experience in government. None in public service.

He doesn’t know a damn thing about the value of public service, nor does he seem to appreciate why people serve the public.

There will be more drama and chaos to come. Of that I am certain.

But … the president tells it like it is.

Supply and demand and supply …

Energy Secretary Rick Perry is supposed to know about these things.

He was governor of Texas for a zillion years. Before that he was lieutenant governor. Before that he was the state’s agriculture commissioner.

He’s supposed to know some basic economics, or one should think. Yes? OK. He went to West Virginia today and spoke at a coal-fired power plant. Then the secretary said this: “Here’s a little economics lesson: supply and demand,” Perry said, according to reports. “You put the supply out there, and the demand will follow.”

To borrow a word that Perry himself made famous during the 2012 Republican presidential primary campaign: Oops!

I believe the secretary had it exactly backward. My understanding of economics suggests this: Demand drives supply, not the other way around.

Or, as The Hill reported: “Twitter users were quick to find fault with Perry’s use of the term, which is defined in the dictionary as the law that ‘an increase in supply will lower prices if not accompanied by increased demand, and an increase in demand will raise prices unless accompanied by increased supply.'”

Check out some of those tweets.

This won’t signal the end of the world or anything like that. I just recall how candidate Donald Trump ridiculed his 2016 GOP opponent for donning eyewear to “make himself look smart.” That was a cruel cut, to be sure.

However, if the president is going to surround himself with “the best people,” as he promised, then he needs them to articulate a basic economic tenet about supply and demand.

Trump and Perry: national security BFFs?

How in the world do these things happen?

Political foes say some amazingly harsh things to and about each other. Then when the fight is over, they declare a winner, all is forgiven and forgotten. It’s just politics, man. Which means that we didn’t really mean all those angry things we said to the other guy.

I just caught up with a story published in the Texas Tribune that seems to illustrate all of that quite nicely. Former longtime Texas Gov. Rick Perry — who now serves as secretary of energy in the Donald J. Trump Cabinet — is now joining the National Security Council. Perry has become one of the president’s more trusted national security advisers.

Did they cure the ‘cancer on conservatism’?

Rick Perry once challenged Trump for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination. He was one of a thundering herd of GOP hopefuls seeking to succeed President Obama.

Perry didn’t make the grade — again! But before he stepped off the stage, he did manage to launch a scathing, blistering attack on Trump, whom he called a “cancer on conservatism.” He said the cancer needed to be “excised” from the party, meaning, I suppose, that Republicans needed to do all they could to avoid nominating Trump.

Lo and behold! Trump wins the election and then selects Perry to run the DOE, which in itself is soaked in irony. You’ll recall that Perry ran for president in 2012 and during a primary debate sought to name the three federal agencies he would eliminate. He mentioned the departments of Education and Commerce, but then forgot the Energy Department, producing that infamous “oops” moment that likely will live forever.

I get that energy policy is a national security matter and that the energy secretary deserves to be included in national security discussions on the NSC.

It still does boggle my mind to see Rick Perry — of all people — elevated to this exalted place during this troubling time.

It makes me ask: Did he really mean that stuff about curing the conservative movement of its “cancer,” or was he making it all up?

How will we know when he’s speaking from the heart or whether he is merely pandering?

Oops! Perry now leads Energy Department

Rick “Oops” Perry is the new secretary of energy.

The former Texas governor is now in charge of formulating U.S. energy policy and is in charge of managing the nation’s still-massive nuclear arsenal.

He also is another one of Donald J. Trump’s Cabinet appointments who — if you ponder it — is patently unqualified for this job.

He once wanted to get rid of the Energy Department. Do you remember that? He stood on that 2012 Republican Party presidential primary debate stage and said he intended to get rid of three federal agencies if he was elected president.

Except he couldn’t remember the Energy Department, prompting the infamous “oops” response from the governor.

I think I have figured out why the president picked him for this post: His brain freeze amnesia excuses him and gives him license to run the agency he wanted to abolish.

Let us not forget also that the new secretary of energy once said of the president that he is a “cancer on conservatism” that needed to be excised.

Gov. Perry must have been kidding.

‘Alternative facts’ will become Trumpster’s new ID

Kellyanne Conway parlayed her experience as a public opinion pollster to a successful run as a presidential campaign manager.

She’s now a senior adviser to the new president of the United States.

Conway now has become the face and the voice of one of the more remarkable verbal miscues many of us have heard in some time.

She talked this morning about White House press secretary Sean Spicer’s version of a silly story dealing with the size of the crowd at Donald J. Trump’s inaugural. Then she referred to something called Spicer’s “alternative facts.”

“Meet the Press” moderator Chuck Todd then sought to clarify what he heard by responding that there are facts and there are falsehoods.

Thus, a punchline was born.

This business of electing a new president is quite serious, indeed. I don’t intend to beat this horse any deader than it is, but in its way, Conway’s “alternative facts” notion seems to be the perfect metaphor for the discussion that prompted it.

Spicer’s angry rejoinder to the media about their reporting of the crowd size was ridiculous on its face. Then came Conway’s “alternative facts” gaffe.

Conway’s role as senior adviser requires her to speak well of her boss. I get it. Honest, I do. I don’t know what she’s thinking privately, of course, but it seems quite reasonable to believe she might be kicking herself tonight for uttering that silly statement.

Maybe she ought to take a page from former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, the president’s pick to become energy secretary. Perry said this past week he now regrets calling for the elimination of the Department of Energy when he, too, was running for president.

Conway might consider taking a couple of days away from media representatives and then tell them “I regret” providing so much grist for late-night comedians.

I am one American who would accept her contrition.

‘Oops’ Perry now ‘regrets’ earlier call to end DOE

I want to give a half-hearted shout-out to Rick “Oops” Perry for something he said today at his confirmation hearing to become the next secretary of energy.

The former Texas governor said he regrets insisting that the Department of Energy be one of three such agencies he would eliminate if he were elected president.

He tried to say so during a 2012 Republican presidential debate, but suffered a brain freeze at a critical moment. Hey, it’s happened to all of us, right?

He said he’d toss out the departments of Education, Commerce and … then he forgot the third one. He fumbled around before muttering his infamous “oops.”

Why the change of heart? He said he’s learned about the Energy Department and what it does to promote energy policy. I want to presume he also knows about the myriad forms of energy involved in that policy that go far beyond fossil fuel production that, of course, is a big deal here in Texas.

My shout-out would be full-throated if I actually believed he meant the “I regret” statement. I’m not sure I believe much of what Gov. Perry says about anything these days — not that I fully believed him back when he was governor.

I mean, after all, he did call Donald J. Trump a “cancer on conservatism.” He did accuse the president-elect of lacking any ideology. He did say that his party needed to excise that “cancer.” This all came during his second failed effort, in 2016, to become the GOP presidential nominee.

Now, after all that heated rhetoric, he wants to become energy secretary. He wants to run a department he once said he intended to throw into the Dumpster.

I don’t know which Rick Perry to believe.

Or whether to believe a single thing this guy has ever said.