Oh gosh, it’s wonderful how a little taste of power can turn things all around.
Take Rick Perry, who would lead the Trump-era Department of Energy, for example.
Let me quote for you here - Rick Perry speaking at a Washington Press Club event, mid-2015, describing then-candidate Donald Trump:
“A man too arrogant, too self-absorbed to seek God’s forgiveness is precisely the type of leader John Adams prayed would never occupy the White House,” Perry said.
If you are wondering how that level of trash talk to kissing the president-elect’s behind to get a post in the Trump cabinet, you’ve missed the strange bedfellows that today’s political arena tends to produce. It’s an odd and surreal world where pals (like Clinton and Trump) can instantly become bitter enemies, and a person’s most hateful verbal assailant can become a best friend forever if it means a comfy, well-paying gig and a nifty title.
Surely Perry didn’t mean that stuff about praying that Trump would never win an election, right? It must be taken out of context, right?
Does anyone remember this little ditty from the Perry hit parade?
“(Trump’s) comments have reached a new low in American politics. His attack on veterans make him unfit to be Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Armed Forces, and he should immediately withdraw from the race for President.”
He probably didn’t figure he’d have to eat those words a year later, or at least didn’t think people would be smart enough to remember them if Trump sidelined him and the rest of the GOP field in the campaign.
I could go on all day. If Perry’s presidential campaigns had been half as creative as his Trump insults, maybe he wouldn’t have been squashed twice in efforts to get to the White House himself.
Not so long ago, he called the president-elect “a barking carnival act.”
And, “a toxic mix of demagoguery, mean-spiritedness and nonsense that will lead the Republican Party to perdition if pursued.” Tough talk, nice vocabulary.
And this one: “Donald Trump is the modern-day incarnation of the know-nothing movement.”
Ouch. But this one takes the proverbial cake: “Let no one be mistaken: Donald Trump’s candidacy is a cancer on conservatism, and it must be clearly diagnosed, excised and discarded.”
The feelings were apparently mutual.
Trump said Perry shouldn’t be allowed in a debate until he is able to pass an intelligence test, and accused the Texas governor of wearing glasses to try to make himself seem smart.
He called Perry a “hypocrite” in one tweet and in another said he “did an absolutely horrible job of securing the border. He should be ashamed of himself.”
So, if I’m following this correctly, we have a president-elect appointing a man who he feels is dim-witted, insincere and shameful to one of the most important posts in the government today. And we have a guy getting himself a job from a boss he clearly states is unfit, self-obsessed and mean.
That’s some serious forgiveness.
I mean, geez, Perry compared the man to cancer here. That’s pretty tough to back away from.
Perry visited Storm Lake during both of his campaigns. In 2015, his message was somewhat overshadowed by financial troubles so extreme that he had already quit paying his campaign staff.
In 2011, at a packed local coffee shop, he suggested that Iowa is ripe for natural gas drilling, including federal lands and waters. “I mean, we don’t know what’s underneath Iowa,” he said. On the plus side, Perry did oversee a good deal of wind energy development in his tenure in texas, in addition, of course, to big oil, which stands to get bigger with the CEO of Exxon-Mobil as Trump’s chosen Secretary of State.
It’s easy to understand gravitating toward the rich, industrial and politically-powerful in cabinet choices. But why tap a man for his cabinet who sees Trump himself as a cancer?
Maybe it’s a given now that what is said on the campaign trail isn’t to be taken seriously. Or maybe it’s that old axiom “keep your friends close and your enemies closer.” Or maybe its about taking potential rivals out of the way - by hiring them.
Nothing against Rick Perry, I’m sure he is well versed. Clearly he has done the science that led him to proclaim that climate change is “a contrived, phony mess.”
And he did have a nice run on “Dancing With the Stars,” which is at least as impressive as credentials of his DOE predecessors, nuclear physicist Ernest Moniz and physics Nobel laureate Steven Chu.
You have to admit, he’s at least as good a choice for this position as Kanye West would have been.
The beauty of it all is, Perry is being nominated as director of the very agency he wants destoyed.
Well, he didn’t exactly say that. During a 2011 debate, he asserted that he would eliminate three federal agencies: Commerce, Education and … “oops.” He never did manage to think of the word Energy, but that’s what he said he meant.
Are you not entertained?