MIKE BROWNFIELD, HERITAGE FOUNDATION
Up is down, left is right, good is bad, and day is night. If you wander inside the Washington, D.C., beltway, you’ll enter a bizarro world where, at times, commonsense is replaced by a localized logic that is completely divorced from the reality.
The latest example of political gobbledygook comes courtesy of White House press secretary Jay Carney, who yesterday lapsed into rambling rhetoric when asked to explain how President Obama can defend the failed Solyndra solar boondoggle, yet attack private sector investments that sometimes fail but oftentimes succeed. Here’s his response:
Look…there, there, there is the…the…difference in that, your overall view of what…huh, your responsibilities are as president and what your view of the economic future is.
And the president believes as he’s made clear that a president’s responsibility is not just to, ah, those who win but those who, for example in a company where ah, there have been layoffs or a company that has gone bankrupt, that we have to ah make sure that those folks have the means to find other employment, that they have the ability to train for other kinds of work and that’s part of the overall responsibility a president has.
Got all that?
For the duration of his Administration, President Obama has dished out billions of dollars to politically favored companies in pursuit of job creation and a new “green” economy. It’s taxpayer-funded crony capitalism that has neither created new jobs nor produced the green-energy payout that the president was looking for. In fact, it’s a policy that has failed miserably, leading to bankruptcy after bankruptcy. Yet despite all the failures — and zero successes — the president and his Administration are defending the indefensible and standing by a policy that has squandered taxpayer money.
In one instance, President Obama committed $465 million of taxpayer money to Tesla, which was founded by a campaign mega-donor and the 63rd richest man in the world, Elon Musk, to build a $130,000 battery-powered sports car that becomes permanently inoperable if left uncharged for 30 days.
It’s gotten so bad that Congress is launching probes of federal green energy programs, including the Energy Department loan program, over concerns that lawmakers fast-tracked approval for politically connected companies. Heritage’s Lachlan Markay reports that according to a Republican aide on the Senate Budget Committee, “Politically favored, and often connected, renewable energy plans [receive] less rigorous review than traditional energy projects.” In one program, of the $20.5 billion in loans granted, $16.4 billion went to companies linked to donors who contributed to Obama and the Democratic Party.
At the same time the president is defending his taxpayer-funded failures, he’s attacking free enterprise, including in private equity and venture capitalism — enterprises in which investors voluntarily put up their own money to invest in new ideas and rescue existing companies. Sometimes those ventures fail, sometimes their inevitable failure is delayed but temporarily saves jobs amid restructuring, but many times they succeed — generating profits and producing new jobs.
When Carney was asked to justify the president’s defense of one, but criticism of the other, he just couldn’t do it. That’s no surprise, in that the two positions are logically inconsistent.
This episode calls to mind a quote from George Orwell, a frequent and pointed critic of modern political discourse:
In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defence of the indefensible… Thus political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness… the great enemy of clear language is insincerity. Where there is a gap between one’s real and one’s declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms …
Maybe Jay Carney’s confused speech is the result of the unbearable heat and humidity that has descended on Washington all too early this year. Or maybe it’s a bad case of Potomac fever. But no matter the cause, the results are the same. In Washington, the Obama Administration is hard at work defending the crony capitalist machine while lambasting the free market system — and it shows no signs of letting up.
This article was originally published at Heritage.org. Used with permission.