President Obama may be seeing some bad mojo in internal polls. He has pivoted hard from massive fundraising a week ago, including five fundraisers on Friday alone, to a trip to Oklahoma to tout half a pipeline that he has publicly fought against, and swung through Nevada to tout solar energy and recommit his efforts to bankroll alternative energy via taxpayer dollars. If you oppose those efforts, said the president, you might belong in a “flat earth society.”
From there the president has attempted to spin one of his most visible failures as, well, not his fault. Solyndra, says the president, was really the other guys’ problem.
The solar energy start-up Solyndra, which had been the poster child of Obama’s initiative, went bankrupt in 2011, putting 1,000 employees out of work. It had received more than $500 million in federal loan guarantees through a Recovery Act program. The loan process is now the subject of a congressional investigation.
“Obviously, we wish Solyndra hadn’t gone bankrupt,” Obama said. “But understand: This was not our program per se.”
“Congress — Democrats and Republicans — put together a loan guarantee program because they understood historically that when you get new industries, it’s easy to raise money for start-ups, but if you want to take them to scale, oftentimes there’s a lot of risk involved, and what the loan guarantee program was designed to do was to help start up companies get to scale,” he said.
Solyndra applied for a government-backed loan during the Bush years, and was rejected. It returned and applied for a similar loan after Obama’s inauguration, and was accepted. Solyndra’s main financial backer, George Kaiser, had personally donated $53,000 to Obama’s presidential campaign. He and other Solyndra officials visited the Obama White House on several occasions. Obama returned the favor and personally visited Solyndra’s HQ to announce the government loan, a visit that some administration officials warned could turn out to be an embarrassment for the president. The president did not listen to those advisers. The loan that Solyndra got came from Obama’s stimulus package. It also fit with his overall agenda to push America over to alternative energy sources regardless of the cost or whether those sources are ready to bear the load of our modern economy.
In the background as Solyndra fell apart, Obama White House officials worked with Solyndra on its public relations. Solyndra people offered a White House official a corporate gig. The Obama Department of Energy wanted to give Solyndra even more taxpayer money.
Solyndra is Obama’s scandal alone. Its failure is his failure. Its waste of our money is his, too. If the Tatler was SportsNation, I would put Barack Obama up on the Liar Board for trying to spread the blame for this expensive debacle. He deserves a pile of Pinocchios for it.