Solyn-drama: Obama Warned Not to Visit Failed Solar Panel Plant

Posted: Oct 03, 2011 4:35 PM

More trouble for Obama in his solar-powered paradise. The Washington Post reports that he was warned ahead of his visit to Solyndra that the company's higher-ups were worried about its solvency (or lack thereof), and feared embarrassing the president:


A Silicon Valley investor and senior administration officials warned the White House to reconsider having President Obama visit a solar start-up company because of its mounting financial problems, saying he might be embarrassed later. 

“A number of us are concerned that the president is visiting Solyndra,” California investor and Obama fundraiser Steve Westly wrote to Obama senior adviser Valerie Jarrett in May 2010. “Many of us believe the company’s cost structure will make it difficult for them to survive long term. . . . I just want to help protect the president from anything that could result in negative or unfair press.” 

The memo was among several copies of e-mails released Monday morning by Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which is investigating a government loan to the now-bankrupt company. 

Obama’s Energy Department had provided Solyndra with a $535 million government-backed loan in 2009 and wanted to highlight the investment to show taxpayers how their stimulus dollars had been put to work. Westly said that if Obama proceeded with the visit, he should be careful about touting the company’s future. 

“If it’s too late to change/postpone the meeting, the president should be careful about unrealistic/optimistic forecasts that could haunt him in the next 18 months if Solyndra hits the wall, files for bankruptcy, etc.”

If Valerie Jarrett knew about this, then the president sure did, too. However, the president stuck up for Solyndra when responding to a question posed by George Stephanopoulos regarding the growing scandal, claiming that he felt confident it would succeed. In his first comment on the matter, he shrugged off any culpability for the massive misuse of taxpayer funds in his familiar pass-the-blame rhetoric:



Obama said the loan guarantee program is working well overall, despite the fact that "not every single business is going to succeed."

If the U.S. wants to compete with other countries that are subsidizing "industries of the future," Obama said, the government has to make sure American companies "get a shot" to compete.

"Hindsight is always 20/20," Obama said. "It went through the regular review process and people felt this was a good bet."

So by Obama's own words, he didn't feel any apprehension about the visit--no indeed, he felt confident that Solyndra was a good idea! Well, that or he believed his "it's-the-free-market's-fault" excuse could hold up.

Ah, yes. Ever the convenient capitalist. He lambasts the free market and claims government must rescue failed enterprises because the free market is too unpredictable...except when his political credibility is on the line. Then, well. Solyndra failed. Some businesses do. That's just the way the market works!

Talk about opportunistic.

Of course, mounting evidence suggests that Solyndra was most assuredly not simply a victim of the unpredictable market, but was doomed to fail from the start. The company was fast tracked to receive funds after improper vetting, it violated the terms of its loan, and spent taxpayer money on ludicrous, unnecessary extravagances.

Furthermore, Obama was fully aware of the risks--so the idea that this loan was "a good bet," or that it was simply a casualty of the free market is laughable.

Try again, Mr. President.