OPINION COLUMNS

Despite all odds, Perry dances his way to D.C.

By Kristen Tribe | Published Wednesday, January 25, 2017
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I was convinced Rick Perry’s political career jumped the shark after his short stint on “Dancing with the Stars.”

Instead, it paved his way to Washington, D.C.

After making a buffoon of himself on one of the country’s most popular reality television shows, he was tapped to be U.S. Energy Secretary, tasked with maintaining the country’s arsenal of nuclear weapons.

Kristen Tribe

Kristen Tribe

Seems like a natural next step, right? From rapping with Vanilla Ice on DWTS to decision-making with the Donald. I guess it fits the reality TV show theme of this administration.

Not to sell Perry short, he is also a former Texas governor and twice-failed Republican nominee for president of the United States.

(You can’t make this stuff up.)

Regular Messenger readers are aware of my disdain for the politician as I have detailed my “Perry experience” on this page before. The Reader’s Digest version: he’s all bravado, and no brains. And … now he’s in charge of our country’s nuclear weapons. Awesome.

As I watched video clips of his confirmation hearing, it was reminiscent of the final scene in Stanley Kubrick’s “Dr. Strangelove,” a Cold War dark comedy. In the scene, B-52 pilot Maj. “King” Kong, played by Slim Pickens, rides a bomb through the sky as it’s dropped on a Soviet target. Despite the certainty of a fiery death, the major goes down hootin’ and hollerin’, waving his Stetson above his head.

Sound like anyone we know?

If approved for the post, Perry replaces Ernest J. Moniz, an actual nuclear physicist. Moniz was chairman of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and directed the linear accelerator at MIT’s Laboratory for Nuclear Science.

For Moniz, nuclear science was a passion; for Perry, it’s a political prize.

There have been questions as to whether Perry even understood the responsibilities of the office when he accepted the nomination. Although I can’t speak with certainty on the depth of his understanding, he was definitely confused about its operation in 2012. During his campaign for Republican presidential nominee, he suggested eliminating the department but couldn’t recall the department name during a debate. He blew it off as an “oops,” but upon further reflection, stood by his suggestion to dismantle it, saying, “They’ve never created one bit of energy, the best I can tell,” which is true because that’s not the department’s job.

But I have to hand it him, he did provide a moment of comic relief last week as we waded through waves of negativity.

When Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota, a former liberal talk show host and “Saturday Night Live” cast member, asked Perry if he enjoyed meeting him when they initially discussed the nomination, Perry replied: “I hope you are as much fun on that dais [today] as you were on your couch.”

The statement was met first with stunned silence and then raucous laughter as Perry smiled broadly, realizing what he’d insinuated. He asked to rephrase his answer as Franken just shook his head, grinning in disbelief.

“Well, I think we found our ‘Saturday Night Live’ soundbite,” Perry popped off.

You know, he may not be the brightest bulb, but his perseverance has paid off. Despite all odds, and I do mean all odds, he’s ended up in D.C. and, plot twist, he’s the least of my concerns about the new administration.

It hurts a little, but my prediction of his political demise after “Dancing with the Stars” was wrong.

Hopefully, my predictions about President Trump’s tenure will be wrong, too.

Kristen Tribe is editor of the Messenger.

One Response to “Despite all odds, Perry dances his way to D.C.”

  1. Have no fear, Kristen. I have the same feelings about “Oops” Perry as you. He will be carefully controlled and he is destined to receive this comment from President Trump when he fails: YOU’RE FIRED!!

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