Victory in the Battle of Solyndra

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
March 28 2012 1:48 PM

Victory in the Battle of Solyndra

Democrats are seriously grooving on a Darren Samuelsohn article, chained behind a Politico Pro paywall, about the slow fade of the Solyndra scandal. Here's the part Democrats like.

"Is there a criminal activity? Perhaps not," Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa told POLITICO after last Tuesday’s showdown with Energy Secretary Steven Chu. "Is there a political influence and connections? Perhaps not. Did they bend the rules for an agenda, an agenda not covered within the statute? Absolutely."
Advertisement

In so many words: "We got nothin'." No heads will roll. There's nothing to roll them with. But in the next graf, Samuelsohn gets at something important: Republicans have "turned Solyndra into a four-letter word, vilified the Nobel laureate Chu and left a popular DOE program in shambles."

Yes, and this was just the most visible part of a three-year effort to toxify the newest version of environmentalism—the "green jobs" version. It started by poking holes in the stimulus. It continued with the defenestration of Van Jones, a "green socialist" (according to critics, who could cite Jones's old confessions of radicalism). The Solyndra story, which is coming up on a year anniversary, hasn't shown up in polling yet. The last polls I see, from September, show opinions of "clean energy" pretty much unmoved. But those polls predate a multi-million dollar campaign by Americans for Prosperity that hyped the scandal, and a long Republican primary campaign where Solyndra was a shorthand for "liberal morons are throwing money at solar while your gas bill goes up." I'm not ready to call this a Republican win, but it's been a smart, concerted campaign against something that was wholly uncontroversial three years ago.

David Weigel, a former Slate politics reporter, is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

TODAY IN SLATE

Medical Examiner

Here’s Where We Stand With Ebola

Even experienced international disaster responders are shocked at how bad it’s gotten.

Why Are Lighter-Skinned Latinos and Asians More Likely to Vote Republican?

A Woman Who Escaped the Extreme Babymaking Christian Fundamentalism of Quiverfull

The XX Factor
Sept. 22 2014 12:29 PM A Woman Who Escaped the Extreme Babymaking Christian Fundamentalism of Quiverfull

Subprime Loans Are Back

And believe it or not, that’s a good thing.

It Is Very Stupid to Compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice

Building a Better Workplace

In Defense of HR

Startups and small businesses shouldn’t skip over a human resources department.

How Ted Cruz and Scott Brown Misunderstand What It Means to Be an American Citizen

Divestment Is Fine but Mostly Symbolic. There’s a Better Way for Universities to Fight Climate Change.

  News & Politics
Over There
Sept. 22 2014 1:29 PM “That’s Called Jim Crow” Philip Gourevitch on America’s hypocritical interventions in Africa.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 22 2014 5:38 PM Apple Won't Shut Down Beats Music After All (But Will Probably Rename It)
  Life
Atlas Obscura
Sept. 23 2014 9:01 AM Tristan Da Cunha: Life on the World's Most Remote Island
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 22 2014 7:43 PM Emma Watson Threatened With Nude Photo Leak for Speaking Out About Women's Equality
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus
Sept. 22 2014 1:52 PM Tell Us What You Think About Slate Plus Help us improve our new membership program.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 23 2014 8:46 AM How Men Talk About Relationships in Rom-Coms: While Playing Sports
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 22 2014 6:27 PM Should We All Be Learning How to Type in Virtual Reality?
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 23 2014 7:00 AM I Stand with Emma Watson
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.