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NEW YORK (
TheStreet) -- When President Obama was given the nickname President Zero by some Republicans in reference to the fact that in August the U.S. economy created no new jobs, it was just more propaganda from opponents. When it comes to green energy, though, the president now does deserve to be called President Zero.
Why? Well, here's the number of times President Obama mentioned green energy during his major jobs speech on Thursday night: zero. That's right, and that's a pretty big change for a president who has made the formula "green energy=jobs" a major component of previous economic stimulus rhetoric and policy.
The reason for Obama's sudden silence on green energy is as simple as one word --
Solyndra. It's the gift that just keeps on giving to opponents of green energy investment from the government.
If you aren't familiar with the Solyndra debacle by now, it's a U.S. solar company that announced its bankruptcy last week. Before its demise, Solyndra was the most high-profile, and notably the first, project funded by the Department of Energy's loan guarantee program, as part of Obama's first economic stimulus initiative. Pictures of Obama touring the Solyndra plant in 2010 and saying it was a model for green energy=jobs are now everywhere in the press. Claims that Solyndra was a pork project of big Obama boosters -- a solar panel to nowhere, which have been around for months -- are now back in the spotlight, with White House logs requisitioned showing the proverbial "nights that Solyndra execs spent sleeping in the Lincoln bedroom" shortly followed by an FBI raid on Solyndra's offices on Thursday. The gift that keeps on giving to opponents of green energy kept on giving on Friday afternoon, when it was revealed that the FBI had extended its raid to the homes of Solyndra's CEO and other top executives.
You can try to make the case that having spoken so much about green energy in past speeches Obama was moving on to new ideas, but plenty else in the speech was boilerplate. So if you heard about Solyndra and have an interest in green energy, and you asked yourself the question, "What is the impact from the Solyndra bankruptcy going to be for the Obama administration?" last night's Obama jobs speech provided an answer. The impact exists, plain for all to see in the fact that a president who had previously always linked green energy to job growth struck any mention of it from a major jobs speech.