Solyndra, Inc., the NorCal solar company that just blew through a $535 million loan from the federal government and is being probed by the FBI, had a lot more to lose than the money. (Hell, what's $535 million, anymore? Just this year, President Obama blew the same on a few more border agents and some spy drones. Look how far that's gotten us.)

When Solyndra went bankrupt this summer, the company did more than fail the taxpayers and let down Obama's big eloquent PR hopes (see right) that America had the clean-energy smarts to win the future.

Nope: It gets worse. Solyndra has given Republicans just the leverage they needed…

… in the political battle over clean-energy investment.

Local reporter John Schwada posted this video of West L.A. Congressman Henry Waxman giving the opening statement at the Energy & Power Subcommittee hearing on Solyndra yesterday. In it, he points out the threat that one weak company's failure has posed to the nation's political (and, uh, actual) climate:

He explained that Republicans' new vigor in opposing “government investment that promotes clean energy alternatives” will be “an egregious blow to our future prosperity.”

Waxman is rightfully worried that Solyndra will reflect on the entire green industry, like a more Earth-friendly Enron or Wall Street.

“Science deniers” in the Republican party often grapple, to hilarious effect, to find talking points against saving the planet. But this gives them a home run: The rush to support solar and clean-energy business in America — almost “blindly,” as Schwada notes — has resulted in an embarrassing lack of oversight.

The Obama administration is, in turn, arguing that it was Bush who supported Solyndra in the first place — but that only makes the left look more defensive, and won't do much to halt the momentum against him.

Let us take this moment to say: It was a shame to see Fox11 dismiss one of L.A.'s most beloved and outspoken newscasters this summer. But it has been perhaps just as great, over the last few weeks, to see veteran ball-buster Schwada get free reign on media blog LA Observed.

He likewise spoke on the Solyndra collapse, and its aftershocks, last night on KCRW:

“Republicans see Solyndra as perhaps their version of Enron, and a chance to take some big broad swipes at the Obama administration,” Schwada said. “And there seems to be plenty of fodder for them to work with.”

In addition to the loan, Solyndra received sales-tax exemptions from the California government. This is especially humiliating because, if anybody had conducted even a semi-rigorous review of the company, they would have quickly realized it was a ticking time bomb.

“Solyndra seemed to be filling lots of bills,” Schwada said. “One, it was going to create jobs, and it was going to create green jobs. So it was like a double whammy.”

Just goes to show: Everybody's trying to make money, whether they be part of the Big Oil or Big Green machine, and all corporations require the same level of scrutiny when being handed a $535 million check with America's signature on the line.

Not that it'll stop the Republicans on their anti-Obama, anti-ozone crusade.


LA Weekly