Seriously? On the very day that Obama/Carter comparisons have started to penetrate the international press?

Inevitably, someday soon, The One’s going to be away on a fishing trip as part of one of his umpteen vacations. And then, suddenly, disaster.

The White House announced today it plans to install solar panels and a solar hot water heater on the roof of the White House residence in Spring of 2011. The announcement was made by Secretary of Energy Steven Chu at the GreenGov conference this morning at The George Washington University.

”Today, we’re taking another important step. As we move towards a clean energy economy, the White House will lead by example. I’m pleased to announce that by the end of this Spring there will be solar panels that convert sunlight into electricity and a solar water heater on the roof of the White House. It’s been a long time since we’ve had them up there,” Secretary Chu said at the conference this morning.

Politico wonders: Given the Democrats’ obsession with “branding,” is this really the brand they want to wear 30 days out from what already looks to be a hellacious midterm beating?

“Jimmy Carter is a symbol of a failed president whose failure helped contribute to nearly 30 years of Republican dominance of American politics,” said Allan Lichtman, a presidential historian at American University. “He suffered big losses in the midterm elections. Solar panels [are] a great image. Jimmy Carter isn’t. And what the White House really cares about right now is the next 30 days.”…

Mayer compared the move to President George W. Bush’s T-ball field installed on the White House lawn.

“Cultural conservatives oozed with affection when he did T-ball,” Mayer said. “In the same way, environmentalists are going to feel better about the president tomorrow morning than they do today. Is that going to help match or cut the enthusiasm gap for the midterm election? Maybe in some small ways.”

Yeah, really? The total collapse of cap-and-trade in Congress and the epic failure of the climate change summit at Copenhagen will be partially undone by Obama nailing a few solar panels to the White House roof? Greens are an even cheaper date than I thought. You know, it’s not too late to implement composting at the White House too. Maybe that’ll save the Senate for the Democrats?

In case you’re wondering how much it would cost the average family to power their house with solar, this Learning Channel analysis will fill you in. The money line: “If you want to have a small room air conditioner in your bedroom, double everything.” No worries — someday the economy will turn around. I think.