Political Animal


September 22, 2011 10:05 AM GOPers ‘don’t seem to understand their hypocrisy’ on green jobs

By Steve Benen

In their zeal to exploit the Solyndra “controversy,” House Republicans have planned a high-profile hearing today on the Obama administration’s clean-energy agenda. But the lingering hypocrisy issue is a hurdle the GOP doesn’t know how to clear.

In the wake of Solyndra’s bankruptcy, Republicans want to make a larger indictment against clean-energy programs in general. This, however, looks pretty foolish when the same Republicans complaining about the Department of Energy’s loan-guarantees program for clean tech have also fought for funding from the same program for companies in their own states and districts.

Yesterday, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), who’ll chair today’s committee hearing, got caught with his hand in the guaranteed-loan cookie jar, and Michael McAuliffe moves the ball forward today with even more sweeping examples.

The GOP-led House Oversight Committee may be accusing the White House of a “job killing” green energy agenda in a hearing Thursday — but at least ten Republicans on the panel have signed letters seeking to land green energy jobs in their districts.

In dozens of letters obtained by The Huffington Post, the lawmakers, led by Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), argue convincingly about Department of Energy funding going to their favored projects, often touting the job-creating potential of numerous endeavors. […]

Although the guaranteed loan project began under the Bush administration, many Republicans were quick to hammer the deal as evidence of “cronyism” — and proof that Obama’s key green jobs effort was a huge bust.

As it turns out, many of the committee members set to grill Obama administration officials Thursday were plenty eager to help constituents cash in on the efforts.

A spokesperson for the committee’s Democrats told McAuliffe, “The Republicans actually don’t seem to understand their hypocrisy. They trash the entire clean energy program after writing glowing letters to commend it. The truth is the program works, which is why they want the money for their districts.”

To me, the problem isn’t just that congressional Republicans kept seeking loans from a DOE program they believe shouldn’t exist. The more glaring issue is that these same GOP policymakers insisted, in writing, that clean-tech loan guarantees would help create jobs. And yet, today, the same Republicans are pointing to the same loan program as being part of a “job-killing” agenda.

Did the GOP even try to think this though before scheduling the hearing?

Steve Benen is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly, joining the publication in August, 2008 as chief blogger for the Washington Monthly blog, Political Animal.


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  • martin on September 22, 2011 10:10 AM:

    Republicans kept seeking loans from a DOE program they believe shouldn’t exist

    As Dean Baker would say, "You can't read minds."

    What a politician says and what he believes are not necessarily the same thing. They tend to be motivated by what is in their best interest, and if getting the gravy for the district will get more gravy for the politician, they he/she will say whatever it takes to get the money.

  • Lifelong Dem on September 22, 2011 10:11 AM:

    This will only hurt Congressional Republicans if Congressional Democrats avoid tripping over their own shoelaces in their usual pathetic attempt to drive the point home. Go ahead and notch this one as a GOP win.

  • c u n d gulag on September 22, 2011 10:13 AM:

    "Did the GOP even try to think this though before scheduling the hearing?"

    'Thinking' things through doesn't matter when you 'feel' a certain way about things.

  • Live Free or Die on September 22, 2011 10:18 AM:

    @ Steve B:

    "Did the GOP even try to think this though before scheduling the hearing?"

    No. This has been another episode to simple answers to simple questions.

  • walt on September 22, 2011 10:19 AM:

    GOP attacks work not because they're based on reality but because they're incessant, loud, and coordinated. No one is really going to take time to figure out whether a complex loan guarantee has something nefarious behind it. But they will hear the words "Solyndra" and "corruption" used in tandem and arrive at the predestined conclusion.

    Why do you think we obsessed about Whitewater for eight years without anyone ever being able to explain the crime?

  • Live Free or Die on September 22, 2011 10:21 AM:

    damn steve, you are quick on these new threads. Sorry if you have read this:


    "As for the White House, I still maintain that they largely pivoted to this policy for electoral reasons. In all their statements regarding deficit reduction and "grand bargains" I have never heard a coherent statement supporting job creation as an essential component of deficit reduction."

    Who cares why they are finally doing the right thing? I, for one, do not care. I have been bitching about the WH on this blog for the last year. Now that they are doing what I want, I am behind them and somewhat hopeful. I could care less about their motivations behind the shift. Sometimes when I there are problems dealing with a company, I ask the person if I could talk to their superior. This often leads to the person changing his/her opinion and giving me what I want. Do I care whether that person actually truly believes in my position or is scared of his or her boss as long as I get a satisfactory resolution? Fear is a great motivator. Not the best one, but in this case it will the job done.

  • Live Free or Die on September 22, 2011 10:24 AM:

    @c u n d gulag:

    I'd give you my info, except this is a public forum and I am already having enough problems with Google and FB as far as my privacy is concerned. Do you have any suggestions? BTW, I usually go to NYC on business a few times a year.

  • fostert on September 22, 2011 10:27 AM:

    Losing on 1% of loans is hardly a bad track record. There's not a single bank in America with a track record that good. And how about those loans for building nuclear plants? Some of those failed too. Anyone care to bitch about that? And how about the oil industry? They get a tax deduction if they drill a dry well. Given that the oil and nuclear industries are less than 100% perfect, why should we give them money? How about farm subsidies? Sometimes their crops fail. And how about the military? Sometimes they kill the wrong people. No money for them. Remember, the Republicans have set the bar at 100% perfection for the government to give anyone any money. I'd challenge them to name any spending, government or private, that meets that standard.

  • Extreme Moderate on September 22, 2011 10:29 AM:

    I agree completely with walt. the only other dynamic that I would add is to expand on LifelongDem's point: that fact that the Democrats are afraid to totally call them out on this...I've said it before and I'll say it again - the future of the democratic party will depend on the ability to raise money for an incessant stream of political ads to start framing these issues before the republicans do. In the ideal world, dems would be penning opinion pieces and running tv and radio ads in the districts of the republicans who are most loudly pressing the attack. The core problem the dems have is that they don't have the ability to make the high level of incessant noise that the republicans do. Time to change this or be the party of might have been for the next 4 years.

  • DisgustedWithItAll on September 22, 2011 11:07 AM:

    Milquetoast, scaredy-cat Dem non-response assuming the public will internalize the inside baseball hypocrisy of Republicans will assure a Republican PR rout. Soon as Republicans start a lie, Democrats assure a Republican victory.

  • June on September 22, 2011 11:09 AM:

    I get the feeling the public at large is giving a big yawn to this GOP-manufactured non-troversy.

  • SecularAnimist on September 22, 2011 11:23 AM:

    Republicans deliberately, blatantly, cynically, corruptly and aggressively LIE -- reading their LIES from a calculated, focus-group-tested, talk-radio-programmed script -- and the corporate media hammers the American people with their blatant, deliberate LIES 24x7.

    And the Democratic spokesperson whines that the Republicans "don't understand their hypocrisy".

    That's the most pathetic thing I have ever heard.

  • DisgustedWithItAll on September 22, 2011 11:31 AM:

    @June: are you in charge of Democratic messaging?

  • TCinLA on September 22, 2011 12:03 PM:

    Too bad the witness can't ask the pencil-necked Republican geek trying to persecute him what the geek thinks about the letter he wrote. Of course, pointing out that these pieces of shit are in fact pieces of shit constitutes "contempt of Congress." I always liked Dalton Trumbo's reponse to the pencil-necked Republican geek who was going after him: "Of course I hold you in contempt, Congressman, how could anyone with a brain and a conscience not hold you in contempt?" For which he went to jail for a year.

  • LL on September 22, 2011 12:08 PM:

    Oh, please.

    IOKIYAR. That's all this is.

  • c u n d gulag on September 22, 2011 12:12 PM:

    Live Free or Die,
    I guess we could ask Steve or one of the mods to intercede for us via our e-mails.

    I've done that on other sites,

  • LL on September 22, 2011 12:16 PM:

    IOKIYAR corollary:

    If I get something you help pay for, it's good. If you get something I help pay for, that's bad.

    I'm sure there has been a more professionally, morally corrupt group of politicians in human history--it's virtually inevitable that this is true--but I'm not coming up with one at the moment.

  • SYSPROG on September 22, 2011 1:20 PM:

    OF COURSE, the GOP would schedule a hearing. THEY get to ask all the questions and really, do you think someone sitting before them is ACTUALLY going to stand up and call them hypocrites? THEY control the process. The days of JOHN DOE are over with...

  • Thomas on September 26, 2011 5:56 PM:

    Ah... There's always a bigger motive or reason behind various acts of GOP grandstanding and posturing. In this case, I couldn't really put 2+2 together until reading your article. Taking this much time and effort to go after Obama isn't worth it, just for the sake of a loan that the Bush administration originally recommended. But I think your point is on target: "Republicans want to make a larger indictment against clean-energy programs in general"... There's always a reason. This is the best one I've seen so far. Good writing.