Politics

Solyndra Stonewall Gets Autumn Off to Silent Start

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Brian Harrison and W.G. "Bill" Stover take the fifth.

Solyndra executives Brian Harrison and W.G. "Bill" Stover made their much-anticipated Fifth Amendment pleas before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce this morning. 

C-SPAN has a recording of the whole appearance up, and I have to say that for a show whose outcome you knew all along, it's still kind of a disappointment. 

Some reactions:

1. I hope Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colorado) is taking something for that cold.

2. Why partisanship is good for America: Tiny Rep. Henry Waxman (D-California) is in full Republicans-did-it-too mode, but his recitation of GOP congresspersons who begged for green pork in their districts (starting around the 22-minute mark) is pretty great. 

3. Rep. Michael C. Burgess (R-Texas) has the day's best grandstanding around the 33 minute mark: "I only wish we could have invested a little more money in crime-scene tape and taken it down there and encircled their building." 

4. Where is Nobel laureate Steven Chu while all this is going on? As I noted earlier this week, the two Department of Energy officials who testified last week had no connection to the approval of the Solyndra loan. Sending them to the House was an insult. The Secretary of Energy needs to get in there and take his clean-energy lumps. 

5. For that matter, where is Valerie Jarrett, the Prof. Moriarty of the Obama Administration? 

6. Waxman's claim that committee members are "badgering the witnesses" by asking Harrison and Stover to answer questions is, well, pretty rich.

7. Enjoyable as this spectacle is, it makes me a little sad. I've worked for a bunch of startups over the years, and the excitement and optimism when you're putting a company together doesn't really exist anywhere else in grownup life. True to the statistical norm, all my startups (so far) have ended in tears, and there's usually some supply of second guessing and hard feelings involved as well. (There's already some of that among former Solyndrites.) But to see a company end in this level of shame and public humiliation is moving, even though the shame and humiliation are well deserved.