Solyndra Becoming Hot Topic in Presidential Race
Once upon a time, not so long ago, Solyndra was a little known solar development firm. Based out of silicon valley, the company was working to manifest its budding technology.
In 2009, to help it achieve this goal, the United States Department of Energy (DOE) under the guidance of the Obama Administration granted Solyndra a $535 million loan guarantee to construct the first phases of a new manufacturing facility. The company was the first to receive a loan guarantee under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
Now, just over two years later, Solyndra has become a spark for political warfare. Following its bankruptcy in September 2011, the solar panel manufacturer is being used as political fodder by the Republican party. The GOP has taken the little known firm and placed it in the political spotlight -- presenting it to Americans as a glowing example of President Obama's incapacity to move the economy forward.
Additionally, Republicans are using Solyndra in another, possibly more devastating, manner, in their campaign against the President. Right wing pundits claim the situation highlights political cronyism -- something Obama vowed to eliminate when he took office. President Obama is being framed as just another politician in bed with lobbyists and campaign supporters -- like billionaire George Kaiser who both invested Solyndra and is a Obama supporter.
In the ramp up to November's federal election clear shots have been fired using Solyndra as the cannon ball. As Ken Thomas writes in the Washington Post, both parties have already spent millions of dollars in ad campaigns related to Solyndra funding.
Americans for Prosperity, a conservative think tank and advocacy group linked to billionaire oil industry executives Charles and David Koch, helped pumped the tires of the Solyndra message last month when it dropped $6 million into a minute-long ad, which it aired in six states considered crucial to Obama’s re-election map: Iowa, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin.
The ad accused Obama’s administration of using American workers as pawns in a political game. It alleges Obama's campaign raised money from Solyndra investors in exchange for the large federal loan, which couldn’t prevent the bankruptcy and job losses; meanwhile refusing to disclose this information until after the 2010 elections.
The Obama administration through a counter-punch ad, which Thomas explains "told voters the president was under attack by 'secretive oil billionaires' and defended his record on energy. The ad — at a cost of $2.5 million — ran in the same six states where Americans for Prosperity aired its ad."
Interestingly enough there is very little talk on the political platform of the president backing Southern Co. with a $8.3 billion loan guarantee - 12 times the size of the Solyndra loan - for the construction of the nation's first nuclear reactors in 30 years.
Image credit: Conservative Outlooks
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