I have to think that one of the reasons it can be difficult to get smart people to work in the government is because you regularly encounter people who are shockingly dumb, decrying efforts at educational attainment as "elitism" and wearing idiocy as a badge of honor. It's pathetic, but true. Consider this video, via Wonkette, of Energy Secretary Steven Chu's encounter with Joe Barton, Representative from Texas.
Barton basically asks Chu to take six seconds to explain HOW ALL THAT THERE OIL GOT UNDER ALASKA. Chu, who momentarily laughs, because Barton is a full grown man and...my God, this is the sort of question a CHILD would ask, the sort of question that would call upon the answerer to stare with beatific grace into the eyes of a SMALL, DUMB, CHILD, all the while attempting to remind oneself, that THIS CHILD can be taught...THIS CHILD need not wander the earth in simpleminded confusion forever and ever, ceaselessly stumbling into a crushing wind of stupidity.
So Chu explains, correctly, that oil is formed through complex geological processes. And Barton is basically like: SO HOW'D IT GIT UNDER ALASKA, ARE THERE MAGIC TEXAS OIL PUMPS. And Chu basically says, no, there's this thing called PLATE TECTONICS. And then Barton's like, "WHOA, PLATES? THAT DOESN'T SOUND LIKE WHAT JESUS WOULD DO?"
I seemed to have baffled the Energy Sec with basic question - Where does oil come from? Check out the video.
Yes. Please check out the video, which Barton's office uploaded to YouTube. Watch it. STARE AT IT.