Indeed, this type of policy-driven scandal can be the trickiest kind for presidents to navigate, said Gil Troy, a historian at McGill University in Montreal who has written a book on Ronald Reagan’s presidency.Well, some media are making an issue of it while many others simply ignore it. I guess that's how scandals die down. They simply are ignored.
When important policy goals become entangled in a controversy’s “scandalous tidbits,” Troy said, any efforts to stay the course run the risk of feeding the fire. Meanwhile, the president’s opponents gain an opening to argue that the policy itself is morally wrong, not just misguided.
Unlike former President Bill Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky scandal, Obama can’t simply claim that the Solyndra controversy is unrelated to his performance as president.
“Clinton’s argument was: ‘Let me go back to work. Let me do my job,’” Troy said. “For Obama, when clean energy and green energy are so central to his agenda, it’s not a viable option for him to boot it. He has to separate his policy from this particular mess. It’s one of those items that requires a paragraph, not a sound bite.”
The upside for Obama, though, is that “so far he and his administration have been squeaky clean,” Troy said — unlike Clinton, who had been embroiled in years of special prosecutor investigations before the revelations of his affair emerged.
Troy said Obama is also fortunate the scandal doesn’t involve an issue like health-care reform that is truly central to his presidency.
Still, he said the Solyndra affair has probably cost Obama something: Clean energy has been “a safe and happy place he likes to go when he’s politicking” — a relatively nonideological cause that could recapture some of the “Yes We Can” spirit of his 2008 campaign.
“This is one of the initiatives that Obama loves that now will be tarnished,” Troy said. “It was apple pie for him, and now it’s souring and potentially poisonous.”
Julian Zelizer, a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University, said it will be difficult for the president to stay mum about Solyndra while the Republicans and the news media keep making it an issue. On the other, he said, “the White House is also savvy enough to know that scandals die down.”
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