Donald Trump has picked Rick Perry to be Secretary of Energy. He denounced Trump as a “cancer on conservatism” in the primaries. In his most famous moment on the national political stage, Rick Perry couldn’t remember the Department of Energy which was one of the three departments he wanted to eliminate:
“Donald Trump has selected Rick Perry to be energy secretary, according to two sources directly involved in the transition and selection process.
He had been summoned to Trump Tower for a meeting Monday to discuss the position after having been contacted over the weekend. The meeting was only finalized on Sunday. …
“The third agency of government I would — I would do away with Education, the –Commerce…Commerce and, let’s see. I can’t. The third one, I can’t. Sorry — oops,” he said.
Later in the debate, Perry remembered, “It was the Department of Energy that I was reaching for before.”
Secretary Rick Perry … this pick is symbolic of how I feel about the Trump Cabinet.
1.) On the one hand, I don’t really disagree with Rick Perry on the specific question of energy policy, so I don’t have much to complain about on that front. This happens to be one area where I more or less align with the conservatives. I support fracking, coal mining, offshore drilling, etc. Perry might do a good job here.
2.) On the other hand, the Cabinet suggests that a “conservative-populist” coalition is really going to be conservatism in practice, and that we are returning to the status quo ante of a populism that is “tethered” to conservatism, which is to say, a fake populism of symbolic token gestures that energizes conservatism. The Cabinet is now severely unbalanced and some of these picks (Cohn, Puzder, Bolton) are raising eyebrows.
There was some buzz this morning that Trump is thinking about nominating Carly Fiorina for Director of National Intelligence. It’s getting hard to believe that we have just experienced a populist nationalist revolution when names like Gary Cohn, Andy Puzder, Carly Fiorina, John Bolton, Rick Perry, Nikki Haley, Todd Ricketts and Betsy DeVos are the ones which are being rolled out by Trump Tower.
The bottom line is that thanks to Reince the Trump Cabinet looks more like the Ted Cruz Cabinet or the Marco Rubio Cabinet than what we were expecting. Carly Fiorina is another name which will add to that overwhelming impression.