Wednesday, May 26

Spot The Difference

Below is a minute fifty-five from Monday night's Rachel Maddow show. Interviewed is the Secretary of Energy, Steven Chu, about whether or not the Obama administration is approving more deep-water oil leases off the US shore:

I was really stunned by how full of gaffe this interview was, and that Maddow, while her usual classy self, didn't push back because in this administration, Chu is not the policy maker, he is the geek. He's like the guy in Blade Runner, trapped by the replicants demanding how long? How long? When all he makes is eyes:

It's geek week at The Rachel Maddow Show, and that thematic trope is as much the reason to have Chu on as what's going on in the Gulf. It takes a change of frame, however, in that Chu is actually a member of the Obama cabinet, the ENERGY SECRETARY, for farksake. How is it that he is reading in The New York Effing Times (tm John Belushi) what is going on with oil leases? Because oil leases are Salazar's job. Frankly, so it should be with Rachel Maddow appearances, geek or no geek.

Chu does not look like the type to go all Malcolm Tucker (who is never ever safe for work thank God) on BP or even Ken Salazar. And yet that is exactly what we all want someone, anyone, in this administration to do:



  1. Missing the point entirely, I heart Malcolm. Would love to do that, just once, before I retire.

  2. Hmmm.

    Steven Chu is wicked smart on technical matters and administrative bargaining, and completely clueless on matters of political shilly-shallying. He told the truth as he always does, baldly and without dissembling, including that he doesn't have drill-down knowledge of what has happened or is happening deep in the bowels of someone else's department.

    And you're unhappy with him...why?

    Too honest?
    Insufficiently histrionic?
    Failure to insert himself without authorization into other co-equal's responsibilities?

    I'm not sure what Maddow thought she'd get out of him on this topic. She sure as hell should have done her homework better and, just a suggestion, had staff run these questions by Chu before the interview so she didn't look so shocked and maybe could have gotten somebody from the actual department with oversight authority (Interior) to come on instead.

    Classy is staying calm, but it is also doing your job. Why, I wonder, was it classy of Maddow to remain calm but heinous of Chu to do the same?

    Anyone who knows Steven Chu will not be surprised by this interview. And I would take a hundred just like him over any of the usual outraged gasbags. More smart and honest people, please.

  3. I'm delighted that he stayed both calm and honest. But he did not know what was going on politically within the White House in regards to defining future drill permits. That is simply unacceptable for the person holding the position of ENERGY SECRETARY of THE UNITED STATES. (sorry to yell). He has a cabinet position. Maybe his appointment was a sop to the geek community, much like hiring a wide array of ethnicities in your cabinet, but it backfires when your Energy Secretary says all he knows about the current energy policy is what he reads in the NYT. He should be re-appointed to under-secretary in charge of energy geek stuff, and let a political spokesman who would find a way to answer the question without claiming total ignorance about a critical piece of energy policy. I'm afraid cabinet members have to do that kind of political shilly-shallying, and I wish someone in Obama's White House would do it with lots of swearing re BP.

    I stand corrected watching this clip again Rachel did push back "I'm worried that all you know about this is what you read in the papers" she just said so nicely.

    Don't get me wrong I love Steven Chu as much as you do, Graham, but he fucked this interview up big time as a member of Obama's Cabinet. It was also a failure of both the White House and Chu for him to go on Rachel Maddow without knowing what the White House wanted him to say about the New York Times piece in that morning's paper. Malcolm Tucker would never have let that happen, and if he did, you'd hear a stream of eff words to rival the gush of oil pouring into the Gulf, the end.

  4. Sometimes you get the whole package. With Chu it is just what you saw. His portfolio is to do the futurist stuff, big picture Where are we going and How do we get there, not politics. Goddess knows what he thought he was getting into but from all the eye-blinking it wasn't this. He could give a crap about oil drilling regs, that is in his mind so totally yesterday's news and somebody else's worry.

    Oh and I'm sure you can rest at ease he won't be doing Rachael again any time soon. This once will have been enough to hold him, he was clearly uncomfortable and bewildered plus he'll be getting shit from everybody.

    So you think we need a screamer? Funny thing, most really smart liberal-minded people tend to be calm and deliberate, guess that's a problem. Myself, I find intelligence to be an aphrodesiac...not that I'm turned on by Chu, to be clear.

    No worries about shouting at me, I'm as pissed off as you are and wish more people were. But I'm not going to let my anger get misdirected. This spill and the inabaility to deal with it effectively are the direct result of 30 years of mostly Republican-led deregulation and government dissociation from responsibility. Now we need it, can't turn it on like a faucet and that isn't the fault of Obama or the current Democratic leadership or Steven Chu.

    The whole government, big gaffing chunks of the civil service, are this fucked up because of eight years of BushCo systematically driving out competent people and replacing them with incompetent idiotic greedy stupid Liberty U grads. That was done throughout, deliberately, and it will take a generation to clean up the mess.

    End of rant. Sorry to run on. Thanks for listening.


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