Maddow on Blame for Solyndra Debacle: Bush, Obama, Whatever

Bankrupt solar panel maker Solyndra made a fleeting appearance on the Rachel Maddow show Monday night, just long enough for Maddow to assure her viewers that this too can be seen as Bush's fault.

Maddow did her best to put a shine on the situation, suggesting the Bush administration was at much at fault for considering Solyndra's application for a $535 million federal loan as the Obama administration was -- for approving it. (video after page break) --

To the extent that Washington's talking about alternative energy right now at all, that talk has to do with a failed government loan to a company called Solyndra, a maker of solar panels. In 2009 Solyndra got a loan for more than half a billion dollars from the US government. This month the company closed its plant, laid off more than a thousand people and went bankrupt. Congress called its top executives to testify last week on Capitol Hill. The executives took the Fifth.

You can argue the Solyndra case any number of ways, whether President Bush was responsible for it since the loan started under him, or whether you want to blame President Obama, whether either administration should have known better to lend to Solyndra or whether this was just a bad bet in one of those public-private partnerships that are never a sure thing, but that nevertheless elected officials are always saying we need more of.

"Whether either administration should have known better" -- in other words, equal culpability for both. Unfortunately for Maddow, the administration that didn't know better was the one led by Barack Obama and Joe Biden. That's why clips of both men touting Solyndra's alleged capacity for job creation are only clicks away at YouTube while one will search in vain for George W. Bush and Dick Cheney gushing on the same subject.

More from Maddow on Solyndra --

Solyndra made headlines last week in the latest round of funding for rural electrification. It's of course the dirty word of clean energy anymore. And this week the conservative weekly The Weekly Standard put President Obama on its cover as 'President Solyndra.' That's what they want to call him, trying to reduce his whole presidency to one loan to one failed maker of solar panels.

Maddow deserves credit for even mentioning Solyndra, sensitive subject that it must be at MSNBC, though her doing so was out of character. More than two weeks have passed since Republicans won special elections to fill House vacancies in New York and Nevada -- and the seldom-tongue tied Maddow still hasn't uttered a word about it.

Jack Coleman
Liberated ex-liberal from the People's Republic of Massachusetts