Newt Gingrich, never shy.

“President Obama must announce today in his Nashua address that he is firing Secretary Chu and replacing him with a pro-American-energy appointment,” said a statement from Gingrich, who cited a POLITICO story about Chu’s appearance before a House Appropriations subcommittee.

“If he doesn’t, then the American people will know the president is still committed to his radical ideology, which wants to artificially raise the cost of energy,” Gingrich added.

“Yesterday [Obama’s] secretary of anti-energy Dr. Chu literally testified in Congress that he did not favor lowering the price of gasoline, that they had no alternative policy to lower the price of gasoline and that his goal was to get us on to other things,” Gingrich said.

“Dr. Chu is apparently a brilliant scientist,” the Republican presidential hopeful said. “I’m for allowing him to go back to science as rapidly as possible. In fact I suspect the American people would chip in to buy the airplane ticket later on today.”

Still, good for him for outright saying what he surely can’t be alone in desiring. Plenty of folks who heard or read Steven Chu’s straight-faced, stunning congressional testimony about gas prices — all to the effect that the administration is just not particularly interested to lower the high price of gas — had to wonder why this guy is Energy Secretary, Nobel Prize in physics aside. Couple that testimony with his surreal assessment of himself as a steward of taxpayer money today and it’s hard not to be sympathetic toward Newt Gingrich’s latest crusade.

Chu might have been on more solid ground with his remarks if this administration had done more to actually move toward energy independence than it has. Other than sinking money in losing solar enterprises, the administration has taken no major steps toward that goal, neither boosting domestic production (production is up, but it takes years for oil and other fuels to come online, so O can’t take credit for the increase that has occurred under his administration) nor encouraging innovation through regulatory rollback.