Meet the Mad Scientist Who Was President-in-Waiting

Ernest Moniz was the administration’s “designated survivor” during the State of the Union.

Energy Secretary and hair fashion pioneer Edward Moniz.
National Journal
Patrick Reis
Add to Briefcase
Patrick Reis
Jan. 28, 2014, 3:42 p.m.

Chances are, Tues­day night is as close as Ern­est Mon­iz will ever get to the pres­id­ency.

Mon­iz, the cur­rent En­ergy sec­ret­ary, was the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s “des­ig­nated sur­viv­or” — the Cab­in­et mem­ber as­signed to hide in an un­dis­closed loc­a­tion in case, heav­en for­bid, the worst were to oc­cur while Con­gress and the rest of the ad­min­is­tra­tion as­sembled for the State of the Uni­on ad­dress.

But what would the Mon­iz ad­min­is­tra­tion have looked like?

For one, it would have been the first cap­tained by a phys­i­cist: Pri­or to join­ing the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion in 2013, Mon­iz was a pro­fess­or of phys­ics and en­gin­eer­ing at the Mas­sachu­setts In­sti­tute of Tech­no­logy. He also holds a Stan­ford Uni­versity doc­tor­ate in the­or­et­ic­al phys­ics. And if past is pro­logue, Mon­iz wouldn’t shy away from talk­ing sci­ence.

His latest post on the En­ergy De­part­ment blog is titled “Wide Bandgap Semi­con­duct­ors: Es­sen­tial to Our Tech­no­logy Fu­ture.” Those look­ing for light­er fare can refer to his earli­er work: “New Steps to Strengthen Our En­ergy In­fra­struc­ture.”

Mon­iz is not a politi­cian, but he’s not a novice to gov­ern­ing either. He served as the En­ergy De­part­ment’s un­der­sec­ret­ary dur­ing the second half of Pres­id­ent Clin­ton’s ten­ure. And in his policy, he’s been the type of com­prom­iser who makes just about every­body mad: En­vir­on­ment­al groups have been wary of his em­brace of nat­ur­al gas, while he prob­ably didn’t en­dear him­self to the Right by de­clar­ing that he’s “not in­ter­ested in de­bat­ing what is not de­bat­able” when it comes to hu­man-in­duced cli­mate change.

More than any­thing else, however, Mon­iz has drawn at­ten­tion for his hair, which is a mix of Pres­id­ent Wash­ing­tonBack to the Fu­ture‘s Doc Brown, and Javi­er Bardem’s seri­al-killing char­ac­ter in No Coun­try for Old Men.

Ben Geman contributed to this article.
What We're Following See More »
GAVE COMMITTEE A “ROAD MAP” OF NAMES, PLACES, AND LEADS
Fusion GPS Founder Alleges Trump-Mafia Connection
1 hours ago
THE DETAILS

The House Intelligence Committee voted to release the November 14 testimony of Glenn Simpson, the man at Fusion GPS who oversaw the creation of the now infamous Trump-Russia dossier. Simpson's testimony includes a number of startling claims, including that Russia infiltrated conservative political groups prior to the election, and that Trump had "long time associations" with the Italian Mafia," and that he "gradually during the nineties became associated with Russian mafia figures." Simpson also testified that Trump called off a post-election meeting with Alexander Torshin, the deputy governor of Russia’s central bank and a longtime member of the NRA, currently under investigation by the FBI for money laundering. Simpson said that the discoveries were so alarming that he felt compelled to go to the authorities. The full text of the transcript can be read here.

Source:
RYAN SAYS HOUSE WILL VOTE TONIGHT
Senate Dems Say They Can Block Spending Measure
3 hours ago
THE LATEST

House Speaker Paul Ryan says he has the votes to pass a short-term spending bill tonight, but "Senate Democrats said they're confident they have the votes to block the stop-gap spending bill that the House is taking up, according to two Democratic senators and a senior party aide. And top Senate Republicans are openly worried about the situation as they struggle to keep their own members in the fold."

Source:
BILL HAS BIPARTISAN SUPPORT
House Introduces Sexual Harassment Overhaul
4 hours ago
THE LATEST

The bipartisan legislation, known as the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995 Reform Act, means taxpayers will "no longer foot the bill" for sexual harassment settlements involving members of Congress." The legislation "would require members to pay such settlements themselves." It also reforms the "cumbersome and degrading" complaint process by giving victims "more rights and resources," and by simplifying and clarifying the complaint process. The legislation is the first major transformation of the sexual harassment complaint system since it was created in 1995.

Source:
HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS IN SUSPICIOUS CHECKS FLAGGED
Mueller’s Team Scrutinizing Russian Embassy Transactions
5 hours ago
THE LATEST
PRO-TRUMP SPENDING COULD VIOLATE FECA
FBI Investigating Potential Russian Donations to NRA
5 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"The FBI is investigating whether a top Russian banker with ties to the Kremlin illegally funneled money to the National Rifle Association to help Donald Trump win the presidency." Investigators have focused on Alexander Torshin, the deputy governor of Russia’s central bank "who is known for his close relationships with both Russian President Vladimir Putin and the NRA." The solicitation or use of foreign funds is illegal in U.S. elections under the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) by either lobbying groups or political campaigns. The NRA reported spending a record $55 million on the 2016 elections.

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login