When Loan Guarantees Were Cool

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Sept. 20 2011 9:58 AM

When Loan Guarantees Were Cool

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Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

WASHINGTON - JULY 26: U.S. Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) speaks during a news conference July 26, 2011 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. A number of Senate and House Republicans held the news conference to introduce the 'Ensuring the Full Faith and Credit of the United States and Protecting America's Soldiers and Seniors Act' legislation. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Eric Lipton adds to the small but growing literature about Republicans asking for loan guarantees for energy companies -- picking winners and losers, one could say -- before they decided to scorch the administration for the Solyndra guarantee. No one who picked up a newspaper before yesterday should be surprised by "politicians caught out being hypocrites" stories. But there are two main critiques of Solyndra. The first is that the White House took too many risks with this particular company because it either held a zealous belief in the power of "green jobs." The second is that there is something inherently corrupt about using the goverment to build up a company that might fail.

If that's true, then everyone's dirty. A Democrat passes on this batch of letters send by David Vitter and other Republicans in 2009 and 2010.

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Rare earth supply! Clean coal! If I'm spinning for Republicans here, I say the very process makes fools and beggars of us all, and that Solyndra has given us religion, as the "bridge to nowhere" (eventually) baptised Republicans on earmarks. I don't quite believe the spin, but it's pretty good, if you want to scale the role of government back to what Patrick Henry wanted.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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