You know, because he’s the smartest president in history (at least that’s what Tingles thinks).
Steven Chu is a Nobel Prize-winning physicist, a brilliant innovator whose research fills several all-but-incomprehensible paragraphs of a Wikipedia entry that spans his achievements in single-molecule physics, the slowing of atoms through the use of lasers and the invention of something called an “optical tweezer.” President Barack Obama even credits Chu with solving the 2010 Gulf oil spill, claiming that Chu strolled into BP’s office and “essentially designed the cap that ultimately worked.” With rare exception, Chu is the smartest guy in the room, and that includes the Cabinet Room, which he occupied uneasily as secretary of energy from 2009 to the spring of 2013.
But the president’s aides didn’t quite see Chu that way. He might have been the only Obama administration official with a Nobel other than the president himself, but inside the West Wing of the White House Chu was considered a smart guy who said lots of stupid things, a genius with an appallingly low political IQ—“clueless,” as deputy chief of staff Jim Messina would tell colleagues at the time.
In April 2009, Chu joined Obama’s entourage for one of the administration’s first overseas trips, to Trinidad and Tobago for a Summit of the Americas focused on economic development. Chu was not scheduled to address the media, but reporters kept bugging Josh Earnest, a young staffer, who sheepishly approached his boss, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs, with the ask. “No way,” Gibbs told him. […]
But as the United States fell deeper into full-fledged recession, Obama diverted his attention to assembling a crisis team to deal with the crumbling economy. Soon after his team was in place, he had the management epiphany every president experiences during his first weeks in power: He was drowning in data and chicken-pecked by aides asking for input. He privately groused that Emanuel was overwhelming him with requests to make decisions, so he issued a standing order to Emanuel and all future chiefs of staff, one of them told me: “Cut down on the number of decisions I have to make.”