We have survived the summer of our discontent. Weathered all the natural disasters: hurricanes, floods, and wildfires, even an East Coast earthquake.
But we certainly have not weathered nor resolved all of our other disasters and discontents -- the ones of politics and government that we cannot blame on Nature, so we blame on each other. All those woes -- from economic anemia to dysfunctional governance -- didn't go away when Washington went on vacation.
Indeed, when Official Washington traipsed back to town after Labor Day, it saw, staring it in the face, one of the capital's ugliest, paint-by-the-numbers big pictures:
Zero jobs created in August. 53 percent of Americans telling pollsters they disapprove of the job President Barack Obama is doing. 62 percent disapproving of his handling of the economy. 68 percent disapproving of the way Republicans in Congress are doing their jobs.
So began the season of New Plans, as our politicians began issuing new plans for fixing all our old problems. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor and former GOP presidential frontrunner (replaced by Texas Gov. Rick Perry) issued his plan. (Lest you think that just because Romney looks like he fell off a wedding cake he is not a man of substance, he made sure it included "59 specific proposals," as he wrote in USA Today op-ed column.)
And of course, President Obama set aside this Thursday to issue his long-promised jobs plan.
No wonder wise Americans knew to prepare to get hit by a new blizzard -- a blizzard of economist buzzwords: "Jump start the economy ... shovel-ready jobs ... economic stimulus ... infrastructure ..."
We've been here before. When it comes to politicos, we know their words and we know their ways. Indeed, some of us remember back to May 26, 2010, when a beaming and optimistic President Obama went to Fremont, Calif. to celebrate the success of a green-green twofer -- an economic-energy federal government loan of $535 million to a solar energy panel company named Solyndra, Inc. The loan made it possible for Solyndra to hire 1,000 people and build the plant where Obama was extolling the virtues of private enterprise and government assistance.
"The true engine of economic growth will always be companies like Solyndra, will always be America's businesses," Obama said. "But that doesn't mean the government can just sit on the sidelines."
If you are a patriotic American, you surely hope and pray that President Obama will succeed in all his endeavors to finally get America's economy going full throttle. You don't want to hear any more about how it all started back in the years of the George W. Bush deficit expansion. You just want things to get better and you want the pols to quit fighting over credit and blame.
If so, you may have been sad to learn what happened to Solyndra Inc. and its 1,000 new workers on just a week ago. But you probably weren't as sad as President Obama. For Solyndra filed for bankruptcy, closed its factory and fired its 1,100 newly hired workers. The company said it could not compete against Chinese solar companies that are government-subsidized.
For not only did this happen right when he was about to try to convince Americans to trust his judgment and leadership, but it gave his Republican opponents an arsenal-full of new political ammo. For Solyndra, the company his advisers chose to share the presidential spotlight in 2010, was backed in part by billionaire George Kaiser, who is a big Democratic campaign contributor.
House Republicans had already been investigating whether Energy or White House improperly helped Solyndra get its loan. Interestingly, the company first applied to the Energy Department for its loan in 2006, and its application, stamped "Confidential," contains a section titled "Advancing the President's Advanced Energy Initiative" -- a reference to then President George W. Bush. So it is unclear whether Team Obama bent any rules, but it is very clear that this one stimulus effort worked like a fine exploding cigar.
Poor Obama. These days he must be wondering which is worse -- his timing or his luck.
Martin Schram writes political analysis for Scripps Howard News Service. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.