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What Dancing With the Stars Taught Us About Rick Perry’s Qualifications to Lead the Department of Energy

Dancing With The Stars Cast Visits Planet Hollywood
Photo: Bruce Glikas/Getty Images

Rick Perry. Remember Rick Perry? He’s a former governor of Texas, a two-time former Republican presidential candidate, and most recently a former contestant on Dancing With the Stars. Yes, Rick Perry has lost a lot of high-profile jobs, but pending Senate approval he could be headed for his biggest assignment yet, as Donald Trump is submitting the Josh Brolin lookalike as his pick to head up the Department of Energy. Right now you’re thinking, “How is a person who thinks the Department of Energy should be eliminated qualified in any way to run the damn thing?” But that kind of questioning just shows a lack of imagination. Rick Perry is very qualified to head up the DOE, and that becomes apparent if you do a close read of his brief time on ABC’s Dancing With the Stars. He’s (kind of) quick on his feet. He has a nice smile. He looks great in sparkly clothes, and just like his possible future boss, he’s a former reality-television star, too. So here is a very relevant primer on the leadership credentials of hopeful DOE head Rick Perry, as explained by his time spent dancing on national television.

He’s open-minded to surprising partnerships.

Perry’s ascension to the Trump cabinet makes a lot of sense, considering how much the two men have in common. As Erin Andrews pointed out during Perry’s season of DWTS, the former Texas governor and climate-change denier (much like his new boss!) developed “an unexpected bond” with ’90s artifact and rapper Vanilla Ice. And we know how Trump loves an “unexpected bond,” having spent the days since his election speaking to world leaders that the United States had not previously spoken with directly in years, lest we appear insensitive to long-standing diplomatic agreements or supportive of people who could be enabling human-rights violations. In the new White House, it could be Vladimir Putin one day and Vanilla Ice the next, with the president of Taiwan FaceTiming in to forge yet another unexpected bond in the Trump regime.

He’s never too old to learn.

As we learned in this DWTS segment, Rick Perry had “never danced before in his life” prior to appearing on the show, and his willingness to learn proves that he’s a man committed to growth and new experiences even in his advancing age. That’s great to hear, because Perry once tried to list the Department of Energy — the one he will hypothetically lead — as one of the government agencies he would abolish as president. We say tried because Perry forgot the name of the department when denouncing it as unnecessary during a presidential primary debate in 2011. But that was five years ago, and if President-elect Trump has proven one thing, it’s that none of us is accountable for anything we’ve said in the past. Trump clearly sees a lot of himself in Perry, and if he gets confirmed by the Senate, they should have a lot to talk about. And judging by his inability close his mouth while concentrating really hard in this dancing clip, we know Perry will study ferociously — cottonmouth be damned — to prepare for his new role for which he has incredibly minimal experience.

He’s high energy.

Look at this vim. Look at this vigor. Look at this high-step. Look at this confidence in a dusty rose-colored silk vest. Look at this energy. When you have this much energy coursing through your own body, you don’t even need to know what the Department of Energy does to run it. You know what? Screw the DOE. If Perry gets confirmed, the first order of business should be changing its name to the Department of Quickstepping, because Perry hasn’t looked this good since he swaggered his way across a stage and called the Environmental Protection Agency a “cemetery for jobs.” 

He looks fabulous in rhinestones.

Rick Perry playing the part of the fourth Amigo during his Paso dance on DWTS proved that bedazzling can be masculine, and while it’s unclear how that directly translates into a valuable skill for running the Department of Energy, all of Washington, D.C., needs more bedazzling, so that can’t be a bad thing. Besides, all that sparkle will come in handy when he’s trying distract from the fact that he stands for very little, and has spent his political career switching positions and even party affiliations to ensure personal success. Rick Perry is a man who will do what it takes to win, and if there had been more political back-channeling involved at DWTS, he surely would have taken home that mirror-ball trophy instead of being just the second person eliminated in his season. You can’t win ’em all, but Perry is an inspirational reminder that you can sometimes fail up.

What DWTS Taught Us About Rick Perry