When Republicans criticize Solyndra's loan guarantees, they tend to focus on the specifics of this company. The Romney campaign, for example, likes to pretend the federal assistance was an example of "cronyism."
The GOP, however, tends to shy away from condemning loan guarantees themselves, and with good reason -- they've enjoyed bipartisan support for years. Indeed, Mitt Romney backed identical efforts in Massachusetts and the Bush administration supported Solyndra loans, too.
But Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) brings a very different perspective to the table. Igor Volsky flagged this exchange from CNN this week.
As Johnson, the right-wing freshman sees it, federal officials investing in alternative energy companies is roughly the same thing as "the Soviet Union and other socialist nations." When Soledad O'Brien asked, "You're surely not suggesting that the idea and the concept behind Solyndra and other green energies like Solyndra is comparable to the Soviet Union and Cuba, right?" the Republican senator replied, "No, I am suggesting that."
O'Brien noted that Mitt Romney backed the same loan guarantees, at which point Johnson changed the subject.
I don't expect much from Johnson -- he's the one who seems to think the Internet is a contraception-dispensing machine -- but for him to equate federal aid to American energy companies with the Soviet Union is pretty twisted. This is, after all, the same senator who supports federal aid to oil companies and even accepted government aid for his own business in Wisconsin.