The viewing lens of public perception. How the media will play a story. Political repercussions are all about optics. Bad optics would be giving the media or the political opposition a juicy story to play with.
"The optics of a Solyndra default will be bad," according to a Jan. 31 email from an Office of Management and Budget staffer printed in the Washington Post. "If Solyndra defaults down the road, the optics will arguably be worse later than they would be today. … In addition, the timing will likely coincide with the 2012 campaign season heating up."