It's been at least a week or two since we'd last seen a Republican congressman try to squeeze Solyndra into a news cycle. But fear not; the GOP's favorite failed thin-film solar company is back—it figures prominently into Mitt Romney's latest campaign ad, which claims Barack Obama blew it on clean energy:Translation: Obama promised green jobs, but Solyndra went bankrupt, and he failed. Case closed.
As numerous reports have shown, the claims in this ad are completely absurd: The Brookings Institution found that the stimulus helped the clean energy sector grow 8.3 percent during the height of the recession; a report from the Department of Energy showed that the 1603 Treasury Grant Program supported 75,000 jobs and $25 billion gross economic activity; and a recent analysis from the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that the clean economy now employs 3.1 million people — with growth in the last few years happening in every geographic region of the U.S.The durability of the right's marathon effort to keep Solyndra relevant has been pretty impressive, especially since GOP investigations have failed to unearth a single shred of evidence of any wrongdoing. And no matter that Obama's policies have, clearly, been a major boon for the renewable energy industry. Election year politics are hardly about seeing the forest for the trees.