By ROGER SNODGRASS
Los Alamos Daily Post
Former Texas Governor Rick Perry is not only inspiration for Loony Tunes, but is probably going to be confirmed this week as Secretary of Energy, at which point his lack of qualifications will become downright scary.
As one of Trump’s typical cabinet appointments, Perry will most likely come into office with outstanding conflicts of interest, including his stake in Energy Transfer Partners, the builders of the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline. As of Feb. 23, the company’s stock, according to Market Watch, had gone up 14.5 percent since Jan. 24, when President Donald Trump ordered the U.S. Army to drop everything and get the pipeline completed. Perry does have a plan, however, to divest his bonanza in Energy Transfer ASAP or within 90 days of his confirmation. His divestment disclosures are laid out in a four-page letter, Jan. 9, 2017, to the DOE’s Agency Ethics Official.
Many of us remember Perry for his spectacular “Oops” moment when he was running for the GOP presidential nomination in 2011 and was unable to summon under pressure the name of the Department of Energy, one of the three cabinet departments he had vowed to abolish. No greater irony has ever come around to kick a guy in the seat of the pants than to be chosen to head that same whatchamacallit department a few years later.
This kind of thing could happen to anybody, of course. Just ask former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson about his “Aleppo” glitch last year. But if a political figure runs for President, loses a second time and then gets nominated for the oops department, you better believe his troubles are far from over.
During the 2016 nomination contest, Perry thought he could make his new dark glasses the centerpiece of his campaign, according to the satirists roasting him for using designer eyewear, to separate himself from the earlier version of his sorry self. But he couldn’t outfox the Donald.
Captured on tape by CNN during a campaign speech in South Carolina, Trump joked that Perry had called him a “jackass”. So, because this is the way real men join antlers to prove themselves, Trump said, “He put glasses on because he thought he would look smart. But people can see through the glasses.”
Well, not quite a rapier wit, but it is what it is. Subsequently Perry dropped out of the race because he had very little support and signed on with Trump.
If he does manage to be confirmed one of these days, Perry faces the awkward personal embarrassment of leaving a trail of titters behind him no matter where he goes outside of Texas.
I can see it now. He’ll be eating in a restaurant and everybody will be as polite as they can be; and then he’ll head for the door and hear somebody whispering, and then, over a stifled giggle-snort, hear it again: “Oops,” his most famous word.
During a confirmation hearing, Minnesota Sen. Al Franken, a former comedian on Saturday Night Live, began his examination of Perry by asking if the former governor enjoyed meeting him.
“I hope you’re as much fun on that dais as you were on your couch,” said Perry, a sentence that didn’t quite come out the way he intended. Everybody laughed and then Perry said, “May I rephrase that, sir.”
“Please, please,” Franken said. “Oh my lord. Oh my lord.”
“Well, I think we have found our Saturday Night Live soundbite,” Perry said, scoring a point and skillfully deflecting any antagonism in the room.
So, with all that in mind, Los Alamos National Laboratory, I’d like you to meet your new boss: Secretary Whatchamacallit.