Solyndra has reached a turning point for President Obama. It has legs, and it is becoming a metaphor. Too many officials in the administration and friends of the White House are facing contradictions about what they knew and when they knew it.

It is a political problem because Solyndra reinforces people's negative perceptions of government, including wasted taxpayer money, payoffs to contributors and infighting within the highest levels of the Obama administration. It further erodes Obama's desired image as Mr. Clean, and it is even a setback for sincere, if misguided, clean-energy programs

The narrative is so compelling that, even though congressional Democrats won't vote for subpoenas to further the investigation, very few of them are willing to defend the White House or the Energy Department. They don't know what's going to happen next. They aren't sure the president does either.

It’s not just because of Solyndra, but not one Democrat could be confident in saying that the White House chief of staff, the energy secretary, the attorney general, the homeland security secretary and the treasury secretary will still be in their jobs by the time of the Democratic National Convention next summer. Yet, with so much disarray, the president can't clean house without revealing the extent of the chaos and thereby prompting full-scale panic, causing almost every Democrat on the ballot in a 2012 swing state to decide that it is time to fend for oneself.

The Solyndra fiasco is one more reason for Democrats to find their independent voice and discover an excuse to be elsewhere any time the president campaigns in their state.