Everyone cooed with delight back in 2009 when Obama chose Nobel Prize-winning physicist Steven Chu to be secretary of energy. No doubt this appointment was part of Obama’s aura of coolness about respecting “science.” But while Chu may be brilliant at physical science, he was not terribly savvy at political science. He kept talking about global warming when chief of staff Rahm “Rahmbo” Emanuel wanted him to shut up about it, because for Emanuel climate was a second-tier issue at best. According to one account, Emanuel “wanted to kill” Chu for going “off-message.” You might say Chu got Chu’d out.
Chu resigned last year, but made news nonetheless yesterday when he said “I don’t have a position on whether the Keystone Pipeline should be built. That is for the secretary of State and the president. But I will say that the decision on whether the construction should happen was a political one and not a scientific one.”
He later tried to amend the statement, but too late.
Chu never did get the hang of not telling the truth about things. Yesterday’s frank admission that politics rather than science is driving Obama’s Keystone decision was almost as good as his candid statement of the Democratic Party’s secret policy to raise gasoline prices. In February 2012 Chu bit off more than he could. . . never mind; anyway, he said “Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe.” Jay Carney had fun that day.
Good thing we have a new energy secretary who, from all appearances, will be more politically savvy. On the other hand, Moniz has praised fracking. Has Robert Redford noticed this yet? He might want to put Chu on speed dial. (Though for the record, I like this guy just for his haircut alone.)