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The Night the Lights Went Out at the Super Bowl

Jennifer Kerns
Taxpayer Advocate & Republican Communications Strategist

While millions of Super Bowl fans watched the halftime show last night in New Orleans, I became more interested in the show that immediately followed halftime: the one where the lights went down once again on President Obama’s taxpayer-funded green agenda.

Just two days after the Obama Administration boasted that Sunday night’s game would be “the greenest Super Bowl in history,” the lights went out at the Super Dome for more than half an hour – potentially endangering the safety of nearly 80,000 fans and almost altering the outcome of the world’s most watched football game.

While engineers were still scrambling as of press time to determine the exact cause, one can’t help but draw the connection between the energy outage and the Administration’s perpetual desire to return us all to the dark ages.

In this official press release on Friday, the Energy Department touted the Super Bowl’s green attributes. In it, the Energy Department announced proudly that green energy would power the event, at least in part, via the use of new LED stadium lights that would draw “only 10 kilowatts of electricity — equivalent to the amount of energy used by a small home — and the lights are expected to last for many years before needing replacement.”  Perhaps the press release was supposed to say hours, not years.

The Energy Department went on to boast, “To make this the greenest Super Bowl, the New Orleans Host Committee has partnered with fans and the community to offset energy use across the major Super Bowl venues” and to “maximize sustainability practices to the fullest.” They reported that 1,200 light fixtures had been changed in government buildings across the city in preparation for the day. But as usual, while the Obama Administration was fiddling with light bulbs, Rome was burning. And the Romans were sitting in the Coliseum in the dark.

Sunday night’s power outage seems an appropriate metaphor for this Administration’s green agenda. Just last week, embattled Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced he is resigning from his post after harsh criticism from California Congressman Darrell Issa and others for blowing more than $90 billion on wasteful green energy programs which did little more than give perks and taxpayer funds to President Obama’s cronies in the industry. (Link for the $90 billion figure was in the NY Times over the weekend. It is a whopper.)

Among Obama’s politically-connected friends who received handouts, then subsequently went belly-up, are California-based Solyndra which is notorious for being the $500-million-dollar mistake heard ‘round the world; Beacon Power which received $43 million in funding but filed for bankruptcy shortly after; EnerDel which received $118 million in Obama’s stimulus funds but then abruptly got suspended from NASDAQ last summer over its financial filings; Nevada GeoThermal Power, a politically-connected startup which received $79 million in loan guarantees and another $70 million in grants; and another reported Obama favorite, electric vehicle battery builder A123 Systems which received $249 million in federal grants but has also filed for bankruptcy.

I’m willing to concede that one of these failures alone could be considered a fluke, as I’m sure the Administration will say of Sunday night’s Super Bowl power outage.  Yet all of these failures put together represent a dangerous pattern of failure that bodes ominously for the future sustainability, if you’ll pardon the pun, of the green energy industry.

What’s worse than Sunday night’s power outage is that the Obama Administration has left taxpayers in the dark, leaving the media and taxpayer watchdogs with the responsibility to shine the light where it needs shining. In the coming weeks, Congressman Issa will be burning the midnight oil to examine thousands of pages of subpoenaed documents in an effort to get to the bottom of whether Solyndra and other companies inappropriately received billions of dollars in government handouts – and whether the highest officials in the White House knew about it. Forget Beyonce’. Now that is a show that will be worth watching.

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