When campaigning for the Republican nomination for President Rick Perry became famous for wanting to close three Federal departments but never being able to remember all three at the same time.

How are nominees chosen?

President trump has nominated billionaires and people who supported him in a big way to head important government agencies and some people question his choices. For example, his nominee for head of the Department of Education has long pushed to increase the funding for private schools to the detriment of public K-12 schools.

Other than her the Trump Cabinet looks like an old boy's club heavily loaded with OWGs (Old White Guys.)

But at least Betsey DeVos is familiar with what the agency does, even though her goals seem far from President Carters' back when he founded the agency in 1979.

The Department of Education is a relatively small agency with 4,400 employees.

Democrats and Sen. Sanders today called for additional hearings because they are concerned that she isn't really qualified for the job.

By comparison consider Rick Perry

It's simply amazing what you can learn just by actually asking a few questions and not just guessing. That thought probably came to President Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Energy Rick Perry who as a Texan was and is a big fan of oil. In 2012 he had run for President himself wanting to eliminate some Federal agencies including the Department of Energy which he now wants to head. Unfortunately as this clip shows he never seemed to be able to recall just which three departments he didn't like.

Former Texas Governor Rick Perry now says, “I regret recommending eliminating the Department of Energy.” So why is Perry now saying he will work hard to make the Department of Energy better instead of working to close it down? Well if you just guess you probably think the DoE is mostly about regulating oil, gas, coal, and solar power.

Perry’s big surprise

The DoE does get involved in that sort of energy but that's be a tiny and unimportant part of what the Department does. The real job for the vast majority of DoE employees is easy to guess when you look at previous secretaries.

For example, it was founded in 1977 by President Jimmy Carter, a nuclear engineer.

The outgoing Secretary Ernst Monez, Ph.D. is a nuclear physicist.

His predecessor, Stephen Chu, Ph.D. is also by some strange coincidence a nuclear physicist. By the way, he is also the only cabinet secretary in history to be a Nobel Laureate.

In fact a surprisingly large percentage of DoE employees are physicists.

Guess what. You now know more about the DoE than Rick Perry did when he was campaigning to eliminate the Department of Energy in 2012.

In fact, if you believe President Trump's statements about improving the nation’s nuclear arsenal you might think the DoE would be a high priority.

Accurately saying “The DoE has a fake name,” his new boss, President Trump, already knows that two thirds of the DoE’s budget are related to nuclear weapons testing, development, and so forth.

Although it certainly isn’t necessary to know how to build a hydrogen bomb to be the head of a large and vital government agency, it is probably useful to know what the department does before you decide you want to be in charge.