Yes, Rick Perry is qualified to be Energy secretary

See? Perry can’t possibly run the DOE because he isn’t a nuclear physicist. After all, Obama picked physicists Steven Chu and Ernest Moniz, the Nobel Prize-winner and MIT professor, respectively. (Moniz, by the way, is the guy with the Founding Father hairstyle who often appeared in the news with Secretary of State John Kerry during the Iran nuclear negotiations.)

This is a ridiculous argument. A perusal of past secretaries of Energy shows you don’t need to be a nuclear physicist to run the department. The cabinet position was created in 1977 under President Jimmy Carter, and the first person to hold the post was James R. Schlesinger, an economist who served as secretary of Defense under Nixon and Ford. Under presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, the DOE post was held by a diverse array of people, none of whom were nuclear physicists.

To run the Department of Energy, you need someone with experience heading up a vast bureaucracy with tens of thousands of employees and an annual budget roughly the size of a large state, like Texas. (To be fair, Texas actually has a much larger budget than the DOE.)

Also, while it’s true that much of what the DOE does is maintain and manage the country’s nuclear weapons stockpile, as governor of Texas Perry actually has some experience dealing with that issue. After all, the largest nuclear maintenance facility in the country is just outside Amarillo. Nearly every nuke in the country makes its way through the Pantex Plant in northern Texas, which ensures their continued capability and functionality. Perry worked with National Nuclear Security Administration for more than a decade, ensuring the security of Pantex and every piece of freight into and out of it.