U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry has a gift for political survival. Indeed, despite more self-inflicted setbacks and failures than a more merciful God would allow, the former Texas governor continues to defy the odds with a political career that seems to be up there with Keith Richards — inexplicably still alive.
Now Perry has landed a seat on President Donald Trump's National Security Council, as part of a general reshuffling of that body that was announced in a notice published in the federal register on Wednesday.
That's right, only months after Steve Bannon was appointed to the council — a controversial move that was decried by many since Bannon is a political adviser and such appointees have never held spots on the NSC — Bannon is out and Perry is in. Perry has gone from Dancing With the Stars to helping tackle sensitive national security issues, all in less than a year.
Seriously, it's a marvel how he's managed to survive in professional politics.
There have been so many instances when Perry's career should have been over. There was that time he face-planted in the 2012 presidential election with that infamous "oops" moment. Then he was indicted over allegations of abuse of power. Somewhere in the middle of all that, he made a run at getting the Republican presidential nod for 2016, only to find himself gored by Donald Trump's horns. Then he did that stint on Dancing With the Stars, also known as the TV show famous people appear on when they have nothing left in their careers but the circus-animal-doing-fancy-math shock value of cavorting on national TV to a light merengue backbeat.
Yet Perry didn't give in and embrace the seemingly inexorable downward trajectory of his political career, and ended up Trump's Secretary of Energy, the guy charged with overseeing the nation's energy security and our nuclear weapons stockpile. Now he's climbed even higher, to the NSC.
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In some ways this move makes sense. After all, Perry is the guy who runs the Energy Department and as such, it makes sense that he should be a part of Trump's inner circle helping make national security decisions, since some of those decisions are about having the energy to run the country.
And hell, sometimes he has shown us that he's more than just a beautiful head of hair. His attempt to score the GOP presidential nomination this time around revealed a Perry that was surprisingly nuanced and measured, as we then noted. Plus, he was the only GOP candidate who stood up to Trump during the campaign. Of course, he then got over that and stumped for Trump, hence his current situation, but it's still at least a track record of speaking up.
He's not the only new addition to the NSC. Trump has also added the national intelligence director, Dan Coats, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Marine Corps General Joseph Dunford, CIA director Mike Pompeo and the United Nations ambassador, Nikki Haley, to the council.
Either way, now he's once again managed to rise higher than anyone might have reasonably expected. All of which has led us to conclude that Perry is apparently the Keith Richards of politics. At this point it seems fair to bet that if the world ever ends in a nuclear war, Perry's career will still be there, standing alongside Richards and all those unkillable cockroaches.