David Roberts, who writes for leftist enviro rag Grist, has a recent post looking at the message challenges facing the Democrats.
In order to inoculate themselves against attacks on Solar Trust of America, Bright Source, Solyndra, LSP Energy, Energy Conversion Devices, Abound Solar, A123 Solar, UniSolar, Azure Dynamics, Evergreen Solar, and Ener1 (collectively, let’s call these “Obama’s green failure or OGF for short), the Dems have been using a “them too” attack that says Romney supported green tech, too.
That very act, says Roberts, is a bad move for the left.
When Konarka is called “Romney’s Solyndra,” I suspect political elites do not hear “Romney’s civic-minded attempt to support clean energy.” They hear scandal and vulnerability. They hear that funding clean-energy companies is a dark secret to be embarrassed about; that government support for clean energy is always cronyism; that solar is not a viable business, even with subsidies. [emphasis mine]
Roberts is exactly right on that point. The left has, with its rebuttal attacks, done two things. First, it has authenticated the hits on OGF. It has acknowledged that Obama has bet big on big losers and cost the taxpayers a staggering amount of money. It gives full-throated support to the idea that they have tried to pick winners and failed.
Second, and perhaps more importantly, as Roberts suggests, it has made greentech investments by government the poster children for government waste. It sets such investments up as a shining example of how both parties have pursued that idea, and both parties have failed.
If anything, Romney supporters (not the campaign, mind you) have a huge opening to make the case that Romney’s is the right message – “I tried greentech and found it wanting, so my position evolved into opposition.” The President and his minions, however, will double down on the idea that more, not less, government dough should be dumped into the wastebin that is solar.
There is a big opening for Romney to focus on the laundry list of OGF. His supporters, in the meantime, could use the very investments Obama has attacked as a sign of a wiser, and more experienced politician – one who learns from his mistakes rather than doubling down on failure.
One of the biggest criticisms the left had of Bush was his insistance on staying the course in the face of abject failure. Romney’s backers would be wise to make that the rallying cry against Obama’s tenure as well. OGF are a great place to start.