Last month, former Congressman Barry Goldwater, Jr., namesake of the man who came to help define the modern conservative movement with his 1964 presidential candidacy, addressed the state legislature in Indianapolis about a pending bill that dealt with how energy users are charged if they employ solar energy devices. Goldwater, who self-identifies as a “conservative,” was in the Hoosier State not to advocate for a free-market approach, but rather as a member of a growing group of so-called conservatives who have become so beholden to — or enamored of — solar energy technology, that pressing for protective legislation and government subsidies has come to define for them “conservative governance.”
Were this not serious in terms of increased government regulation of an important segment of our economy and a serious drain on taxpayers, it would be funny. But it is not. It masks a serious challenge to the energy marketplace and to the very definition of the conservative movement.
Goldwater, for example, currently serves as Chairman of an organization named “Tell Utilities Solar won’t be Killed,” which self-identifies by the acronym “TUSK,” accompanied by a cartoon logo of a red and white striped elephant. The irony of running to a state legislature to mandate continued interference in the electricity market place in order to skew markets in favor of solar, appears lost on the “conservative” TUSK Chairman.
But Goldwater’s visit to Indianapolis has come to define the weird, make-believe world in which “conservatives” can, with a straight face, advocate for government help to promote an industry that has — since the Jimmy Carter Administration in the 1970s — failed to make serious inroads in the energy marketplace despite billions in direct and indirect taxpayer subsidization.
With substantial funding from liberal sources like George Soros and Michael Bloomberg, groups like Goldwater’s and other on-the-surface conservative organizations, are engaged in a serious push to not only continue but increase state and federal subsidies — in both money and regulatory protection — for solar energy projects. As noted recently by Paul Driessen in townhall.com, several conservative-sounding organizations have coordinated their pro-solar drive under the umbrella group the “Conservative Energy Network.” According to Driessen, this group includes among its membership “the Young Conservatives for Energy Reform, an environmentalist Christian Coalition of America, Citizens for Responsible Energy and Conservatives for Clean Energy (CCE).”
As chronicled by Driessen, these and other solar advocacy groups have benefitted greatly from funds received from a variety of leftist donors with ties to liberals including Bloomberg, Nat Simons, Tom Steyer, and others, including foreign sources. The success of such efforts, including coopting individuals like Goldwater and so-called conservative organizations…