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Thursday, January 19, 2017


Rick Perry: energy czar

by Tom Sullivan

Photo by Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons.

Among the political right's weaponry are such diverse elements as fear, surprise and ruthless othering. They love their othering. So much so that wingnuts were throwing down the commie card decades after proclaiming St. Ronald of Reagan had slain the Evil Empire and won the Cold War. During one of the recent political conventions (can't find a link), Rachel Maddow was on an MSNBC panel with Pat Buchanan when Buchanan made some "socialist" or what-have-you remark about her. Maddow grinned, eyes wide like it was the highlight of her career. Pat Buchanan is red-baiting me!

President Barack Obama, the Kenyan-atheist-Muslim-socialist-usurper, leaves office tomorrow perhaps the most othered political figure in wingnut lore. Remember when "Obama's czars" was the othering du jour over which the right wing got hot and bothered? Yeah, neither do they.

Ah, but I was so much older then.

But it all came back yesterday when I "red" about Gov. Rick Perry tackling the plum assignment he thought he'd lucked into in the Donald Trump administration. From the New York Times:

WASHINGTON — When President-elect Donald J. Trump offered Rick Perry the job of energy secretary five weeks ago, Mr. Perry gladly accepted, believing he was taking on a role as a global ambassador for the American oil and gas industry that he had long championed in his home state.

In the days after, Mr. Perry, the former Texas governor, discovered that he would be no such thing — that in fact, if confirmed by the Senate, he would become the steward of a vast national security complex he knew almost nothing about, caring for the most fearsome weapons on the planet, the United States’ nuclear arsenal.
Don't laugh. Perry's future boss, the man who tomorrow will have with his short finger on the nuclear trigger, is just as clueless as Governor Goodhair.
Mr. Perry, who once called for the elimination of the Energy Department, will begin the confirmation process Thursday with a hearing before the Senate Energy Committee. If approved by the Senate, he will take over from a secretary, Ernest J. Moniz, who was chairman of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology physics department and directed the linear accelerator at M.I.T.’s Laboratory for Nuclear Science. Before Mr. Moniz, the job belonged to Steven Chu, a physicist who won a Nobel Prize.
Rick Perry: energy czar.

Perry joins a short parade of the unqualified auditioning on Capitol Hill this week for Trump's newest reality show. Betsy DeVos: education czar. Tom Price: Health and Human Services czar. Scott Pruitt: environment czar. Yet there is precious little conservative alarmism about Trump's czars. Isn't that strange?

That's probably just because so few of Trump's czars have cleared vetting yet. Bloomberg:
Politico's Michael Crowley has a nice piece explaining the missing National Security Council staffers, and the dangers that could cause if there's an early crisis. Hundreds of briefing papers have been created by Obama's NSC and sent to Team Trump, but the New York Times reports that no one knows if they've been reviewed.


And the same is true in department after department. Not to mention agencies without anyone at all nominated by the president-elect.

Overall, out of 690 positions requiring Senate confirmation tracked by the Washington Post and Partnership for Public Service, Trump has come up with only 28 people so far.
Good thing Trump has postponed any crises until Monday.

Charlie Pierce observes:
Remember, this is the administration that, in a break with tradition, is demanding that career diplomats leave their posts promptly when the Lincoln Bible bursts into flame beneath Trump's hand on Friday. There are going to be an awful lot of phones ringing unanswered by Friday afternoon.

Unless, of course, they've all been outsourced to Lubyanka Square.
Post-inauguration Washington will be like that scene in Die Hard with a Vengeance when the candy-stealing kid says, "All the cops are into something. It's Christmas! You could steal City Hall." Almost as if that was the plan.

World Party:
We're setting sail to the place on the map
From which no one has ever returned
Drawn by the promise of the joker and the fool
By the light of the crosses that burned
Drawn by the promise of the women and the lace
And the gold and the cotton and pearls
It's the place where they keep all the darkness you need
You sail away from the light of the world on this trip, baby
You will pay tomorrow
You're gonna pay tomorrow
You will pay tomorrow

Oh, oh, oh
Save me, save me from tomorrow
I don't want to sail with this ship of fools, no, no
Oh, save me, save me from tomorrow
I don't want to sail with this ship of fools, no, no
I want to run and hide right now