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Wednesday, August 01, 2012

CRONYISM OR COINCIDENCE?

“I’m a political beast and playing the political card is something that when the time is right we’re going to play very hard… You call in your chips when you have a specific project you want to go after.”

Solydnra
There is an article at Dustin Stockwin's site which examines the repeated incidence of government money being thrown at Democratic Party donors under the Obama administration. Democrats in congress keep voting for bills to benefit Democratic Party donors as well. The list is quite extensive, and as Stockwin says, while Solyndra is the most obvious and well known example, it is just the tip of the iceberg.

Stockwin lists example after example:
  • Gevco Fuels chosen for Air Force fuel (at almost $60 a gallon), owned by Dem donor Vinod Khosla.
  • Khosla also owned Range Fuels, which got a$64 million dollar guaranteed loan from government before it went bankrupt.
  • The Navy is overpaying for biofuels from a company owned by Diane Feinstein's husband.
  • Ecotality got $125 million from the government for car chargers, again a donor.
You can look down the entire list of "green" technology bankruptcies that got funds under the Obama administration and Democrat-controlled congress (the dozen or so), and every one of them is a big Democratic Party donor.

Now, as I've mentioned in the past, this doesn't have to be some corrupt favor trading or cronyism. It doesn't meant that the Democrats in power are helping these companies because they are donors. These companies might be donors to Democrats because they happen to like that part of politics, and believe these "green" technologies are the future. And conversely, Democrats might choose these guys because they think these are good investments.

President Obama has been reported to be confused by how his investments in 'infrastructure' ("green" tech like Solyndra) wasn't creating jobs as he expected. He genuinely figured this would turn the economy around, that these companies weren't doing well because they weren't given a chance. So he gave them a chance and... well they collapsed anyway because they made a poor product that nobody wants except politicians and academics. For other people mind you, they don't personally want these products.

So you get this perfect coincidence of leftist-run companies donating to Democrats, and Democrats supporting leftist-run companies due to an intersection of interest.

Yet that doesn't seem to be the whole picture. Take BP, for example. They went all in for "green" advertising, donations to alternative energy, promoting ecological causes, environmentalism, they even changed their logo to a green sun. They poured money into Democratic Party causes and politicians. Now, I have no doubt that at least some of the people in BP thought this was all right and good.

But I also have no doubt that the bulk of the reason behind it was good publicity and sales. "Green" was big back in 2008 or so, and that was pretty much the height of the global warming scam. BP was working public opinion in their favor. They wanted at least a few customers to come to their gas stations for their fuel because of some kinship of ideas and love of "green" politics. It was entirely a business decision, like big time Democrat donations. In 2006, Dems were on the rise, so BP backed them. And in return, they got special treatment by the federal government.

So I suspect that there's no one answer. I think its a mix, that they are both coincidentally supporters of the same ideas and also its good politics to donate to people in power who then reward your donations by giving you access, attention, and even government contracts. That exchange has been going on for centuries in all sorts of governments and nations, and there's no reason to presume that it wouldn't take place in America under Democrats.

Yet peoples' tolerance for this kind of cronyism seems to be reaching their limits. When people start taking to the streets in frustration and rage over what you do as a politician, its time to step back and reconsider that next chance.

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