Oops, I Lost and Got a Promotion

Hey, do you want to guess what this picture is?

rickperrymugshot

Yeah, that’s the former governor of Texas, Rick Perry. It’s actually a mugshot taken of him when he was arrested in 2014 for “abuse of official capacity and coercion of a public servant.”

He’s probably more famous for this, though.

March/April/May

That’s a picture of Rick Perry forgetting which cabinet departments of the federal government he wanted to eliminate during a presidential debate in 2011. Here’s how ABC News headlined it at the time:

Screen Shot 2016-12-13 at 2.00.50 PM

And here is the announcement that Donald Trump has selected Rick Perry to head the Department of Energy.

Screen Shot 2016-12-13 at 2.09.03 PM

I could editorialize on this, but what would be the point? Pictures and headline screenshots are worth a thousand words, right?

Instead, let’s just go to the transcript from that debate:

RICK PERRY: But the fact of the matter is we better have a plan in place that Americans can get their hands around. And that’s a reason my flat tax is the only one of all of the folks — these good folks on the stage — it balances the budget in 2020. It does the things to the regulatory climate that has to happen. And I will tell you, it’s three agencies of government when I get there that are gone. Commerce, Education, and the unh … unh what’s the third one there? Let’s see.
RON PAUL: You need five.
PERRY: Oh, five, OK. So Commerce, Education, and the.. unh unh unh
MITT ROMNEY: EPA?
PERRY: EPA, there you go.
JOHN HARWOOD: Seriously, is the EPA the one you were talking about?
PERRY: No, sir, no, sir. We were talking about the unh agencies of government — the EPA needs to be rebuilt. There’s no doubt about that.
HARWOOD: But you can’t — but you can’t name the third one?
PERRY: The third agency of government I would — I would do away with, Education, unh the unh …
ROMNEY: Commerce.
PERRY: Commerce and, let’s see. I can’t. The third. I’m sorry … Oops.

About fifteen minutes after that exchange, Perry remembered what his handlers had told him to say. “It was the Department of Energy that I was reaching for before,” he said.

Do you remember when Mel Carnahan died in a plane crash while he was running for Senate against John Ashcroft but he won the election anyway?

I can’t decide if this idea of Rick Perry running the Department of Energy makes him more like Mel Carnahan or more like John Ashcroft, whose reward for losing was getting to run the Department of Justice.

And Ashcroft covered himself (and more) in glory.

WASHINGTON (AP) — No longer will the attorney general be photographed in front of two partially nude statues in the Great Hall of the Department of Justice.

The department spent $8,000 on blue drapes that hide the two giant, aluminum art deco statues, said spokesman Shane Hix.

So, Rick Perry should work out just fine.

Martin Longman

Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly and the main blogger at Booman Tribune.