Last week, moved by some ineffable stirring from deep within, Rick Perry decided the hour had come to resign as secretary of energy under Donald Trump. Who can say why? Who claims to know the inscrutable clockwork of the human soul? We know only this: after a wild two weeks during which Perry suddenly became a central figure in the Ukrainian kerfuffle, beginning with Trump publicly trying to pin the whole mess on him, and ending with his being served with a subpoena, Perry simply concluded that his work here was done. Presumably there came a moment of introspection while accompanying President Trump to Dallas, wherein Perry gazed out the window of Air Force One, looked at the rolling expanses of home, and thought about how much he’d like to be back on Texas ground. And so, he jumped.
So what comes next for Rick Perry, provided he doesn’t wind up in jail? Where does one go after leaving, as he put it in his resignation announcement, “the coolest job in the world” for… reasons? How do you follow the waking dream that must be getting to head the very department you always fantasized about eliminating, once you were reminded it existed? How can you build on the incredible legacy you created there of commendably not triggering a nuclear apocalypse, while also stealthily avoiding any major scandals, except the one that might bring the whole administration crashing down? The world is truly Perry’s oil-slicked oyster now, if he can just get out of Washington, D.C., without accidentally incriminating himself. Let’s consider his options.
Run for governor (again).
Technically, Perry could still run for that fourth term he denied himself back in 2013, when our own personal Jay-Z announced his first “retirement.” But, obviously, that would require challenging Greg Abbott, who seems all but guaranteed to seek a third term (and beyond) himself. As sweet it might be to reclaim the throne, the risk of splitting the kneejerk-name-recognition vote and ending up with some Democrat is probably too great.
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Run for president (again).
There’s also nothing that says Perry can’t take another whack at a presidential campaign, just as there’s nothing in the rules that says a dog can’t play basketball. In a post-Trump world, Perry’s folksily charming version of political ineptitude and slightly more abashed venality could even seem kinda warm and appealing. Still, he already got to live in Washington, D.C., for a few years and (allegedly!) give all his fossil fuel buddies huge breaks. What else is there for a president to accomplish?
The third one…sorry.
Go back to Dancing With the Stars.
The clear highlight of Perry’s post-political career (and, some might argue, his political one) was that time he shook off a second failed presidential bid with a spin on ABC’s celebrity dance competition. At last, Rick Perry could lay his famed silver tongue to rest and let his body speak, fumblingly and confusingly, before America once again rejected him. But after all this time, surely the dance still lives inside him?
Become the Phantom of Dancing With the Stars.
Alternately, Perry could don a mask and cape and retreat to a subterranean lair beneath the ABC studios, spiriting Sean Spicer away to groom him as his muse. Imagine the sweet, distracting music of the night they would create!
Become a full-time GIF.
Though his stint on Dancing With the Stars was but a blip in its season, the legend has endured in the numerous GIFs of a vest-clad Perry skipping merrily about the stage—an endlessly reusable image that to this day has widespread, bipartisan support. We’re pretty sure it would have a commanding lead in the polls if it decided to run for president.
Write a tell-all book about the Trump administration.
Perry once deemed Trump “a cancer on conservatism,” although the two seem to have reached some sort of ideological detente somewhere around the minute Perry landed a cushy cabinet position. Still, it’s perhaps not too far afield to speculate that Perry could recover some of his initial misgivings about Trump’s various malfeasances, once he’s no longer benefiting from them directly. Maybe he’ll even start wondering how he could profit from condemning them again? On the other hand, that would require Perry to examine his own role in perpetuating them, so maybe…
Write the Great American Novel.
This seems about as likely as No. 7.
Go to grad school.
It’s never too late to get your master’s degree! Maybe this time, Perry could finally pass “Meats.”
Rejoin the Boy Scouts.
Perry has often spoken fondly of his time in the Boy Scouts, when he isn’t condemning it for allowing homosexuals. He even wrote a whole book about how great the Scouts are—one that, granted, quickly turned into a screed about godless liberals destroying America. But still! Who knows what kinds of exciting, taboo knots those secular heathens in today’s Boy Scouts have dreamed up since Perry’s been gone? Only one way to find out!
Build the Trans-Texas Corridor his own damn self.
Everyone doubted Perry’s proposal for a huge network of “supercorridors” traversing the state, just because it was financially untenable, threatened thousands of private properties, and everyone hated it. But now that Perry is his own man again, well, he can just take up a pick and a shovel and become a veritable Johnny Tollroad, planting the seeds for future highways and byways across this great state of ours. The original timeline to completion for the corridor was somewhere around fifty years, so he’d better get cracking.
Stockpile an enormous coal reserve on his ranch.
One of Perry’s biggest failed initiatives at the Department of Energy was obtaining subsidies for coal and nuclear plants that could show at least ninety days’ worth of fuel on site. It was voted down unanimously, but finally, here’s Perry’s chance to prove to everyone the importance of preserving fossil fuels by getting a big ol’ pile of coal going on his own property. Should a green-powered grid ever fail, Perry can then swoop in as a hero—or even fashion himself into some sort of Mad Max-like imperator, doling out coal at his cruel discretion. In the meantime, Perry can invite families to come play on Coal Mountain for $5 a head. He can’t lose!
Open an antiques store in Round Top.
This is all people do in Round Top, right?
Sit on his porch and veto things for fun.
Rick Perry loves vetoing stuff, having rejected more acts in a single legislative session than any other governor in Texas history back in his “salad” days. Why, Perry loves vetoing so much, he even got indicted for it, only to be turned loose with the understanding that trying to take away Rick Perry’s veto power would be akin to tying a wild stallion. Now that he’s running free again, Perry can sit and veto to his heart’s content: he can veto breakfast, veto his wife’s sweater, veto the sunset. Who’s going to charge him now?
Become a full-time crusader against sexual assault.
One of Perry’s most memorable moments as energy secretary came in 2017, when he appeared at an energy policy event and suggested that fossil fuels could prevent sexual assault. Perry’s reasoning was that, by supplying power to African villages, fossil fuel would become the “light that shines—the righteousness, if you will” on those heinous acts. This is clearly an issue that Perry cares about deeply, and certainly not just a somewhat dubious means of promoting the industries that feed him. And now that he has all this time on his hands, we can’t wait to see how else he plans to fight!
Begin a penitent, monastic contemplation of the irrevocable damage inflicted upon the world by mankind’s avarice, the shortsighted and heedless thirst for wealth and power that has threatened the very sustainability of life itself.
There are lots of good meditation apps these days.
Disappear into the wilderness and become a shadow, a whisper on the wind.
Whenever another wily coyote turns up dead, the locals will gaze serenely at the horizon and murmur, Thank you, Rick.
Join the executive board of a natural gas company.
Become a full-time Fox News contributor.
You know, maybe.
Get some new glasses.
Private Sector Rick needs some new lenses, baby! What about red?