Obama's Energy Policy Isn't 'Crony Capitalism'

A majority of the energy companies who have received funds under Obama are thriving

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The president's approval rating is up to 50 percent again. Unemployment has dropped consecutively for four months. Congress doesn't have anything left to filibuster and Republicans are unhappy with their choices in candidates....so what do Republicans do? They jump onto a Washington Post article and come up with an ad to paint the president as a hypocrite who gives federal funding to his campaign donors.

What we're talking about specifically here is clean green energy companies. The president is being attacked because his administration has provided federal grants to companies with ties to venture capitalists that backed and continue to back the president not just ideologically, but financially.

[See a collection of political cartoons on energy policy.]

The president promised when campaigning to take action to build a foundation for a clean energy economy and that's what he is doing. The administration has made it clear that the funding is based on merit, not politics. So let's look at some of the recipients: although Republicans love to tout Solyndra's failure, the majority of those who have received funds are still thriving.

BrightSource was named one of the top green energy start-ups in the world. They used the funding to create and save 86 operations, which created and saved jobs. And with the plans for a thermal power plant in Coyote Springs, they will be creating more jobs.

Tesla builds cars twice as energy efficient as a Toyota Prius. They employ 900 people. They had 6,500 orders for their cars being built here in the United States and this year, have plans to open a new plant in Fremont, Calif., which will create more jobs.

[Read the U.S. News debate: Should the Government Invest in Green Energy? ]

In 2001 when then President Bush and former Vice President Dick Cheney sat down and met with companies such as the American Petroleum Institute or with James Rowe of Exxon and, of course, with Enron, the Republicans remained silent. Now they're accusing President Obama of the same things. Democrats were angry with the practices of the former administration in this regard. They have very short memories.

  • Check out the U.S. News energy blog.
  • See a slide show of 10 Obama green jobs winners.
  • See a slide show of 10 cities adopting smart grid technology.