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September 16, 2011

Jon Stewart Rips Obama on Solyndra

They say he's the most important man in the news, and I hope so, because I still don't find him funny.*

But he does alert the liberals and independents who watch his show that this is a genuine scandal. In between, I mean, telling them that Green Energy really is the future and this one bad apple shouldn't spoil the bunch and making some claim that only 0.3% (or something) of our government's green energy investments have gone bad.

Um, it's only been two and a half years. Give it time.

But, I guess, this is as good as we can expect from this wannabe Walter Cronkite.

Stewart points something interesting out there: One of the analysts calling shenanigans on this deal predicted the company would tap out of money... in September 2011. Actual date of bankruptcy filing: September 6, 2011.

So, to the spin "no one could have predicted this," um.

More substantive disclosures at Hot Air.

As the company was going down, you'll at least be reassured to know that the OMB -- the president's office of management and budget -- was at least focused on nothing but the prudent care for the taxpayers' money.

Wait, did I say they were worried about nothing but the prudent care of the taxpayers' money? I got that completely wrong. What they were most interested in, when debating whether or not to get another lender to pour money into Solyndra (and put the government in a subordinate position in bankruptcy, as far as recovering whatever was left), they were interested in... the optics of a default.

Not losing your money in a default (and then more due to this new, higher-priority loan). No, the optics.

. Although optics are generally out of our lane, it may be worthwhile for the Director to privately make this point to the Secretary:

Given the PR and policy attention Solyndra received since 2009, the optics of a Solyndra default will be bad whenever it occurs. While the company may avoid default with a restructuring, there is also a good chance it will not. If Solyndra defaults down the road, the optics will arguably be worse later than they would be today. At that point, additional funds have been put at risk, recoveries may be lower, and question will be asked as to why the Administration made a bad investment, not just once (which could hopefully be explained as part of the challenge of support innovate technologies), but twice (which could easily be portrayed as bad judgement, or worse). In addition, the timing will likely coincide with the 2012 campaign season heating up, whereas a default today could be put in the context of (and perhaps even get some credit for fiscal discipline / good government because the Administration would be limiting further taxpayer exposure) letting bad projects go, and could make public steps it is taking to learn lessons and improve / limit future lending.

Way to keep your eyes on the bottom line, guys.

And, of course, by "bottom line," I mean optics.

I mean, it's not as if the optics of the photo op with the Vice President had anything to do with the rush-job you did on vetting this disaster in the first place or anything.

Perhaps that's unfair to the OMB guys -- perhaps they really were focused on fiscal prudence, but they knew the only way to catch the Administration's attention was to discuss the optics of a default, and the politics of 2012.

And what does that say, I wonder.

Thanks to rdbrewer.

* Okay, I admit the set-up for each news bit -- "Well at least they didn't X," roll tape of them doing X -- was decent.

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posted by Ace at 02:53 AM

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