NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Chalk up one more victory for the Tea Party muscle within the Republican Party in its battle against all things green energy. On Thursday night, omnibus spending legislation approved by the House and Senate to avert a government shutdown removed light bulb efficiency standards that would support the adoption of higher-efficiency bulbs.
The light bulb issue -- the government plans to require higher-efficiency bulbs that would lead to greater adoption of compact flourescent and LED bulbs starting next year -- caused a light bulb to go on above the heads of the Tea Partiers, who realized late in 2010 that it was one more way to call President Obama a totalitarian dictator: The man had the gall to dictate what kind of light bulbs Americans use in their homes. Not on the Tea Party's watch!
|As president, Michele Bachmann will defend your right to use an outdated light bulb.|
As Daniel Weiss of the Center for American Progress noted in a previous conversation about the politics of the light bulb (when this issue first came to prominence last year) the totalitarian light bulb state is just one more wedge issue in an election cycle, in the same way that the right to bear arms is a great way to get the masses excited, or to get people out to the polls or for the big oil and gas lobby to raise money for the Republican party ahead of elections across the country. The right to choose your own energy-sapping, outdated light bulb is at the heart of the basic tenets of the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness on which this nation is founded, at least according to the Tea Party. Mind you, it's not likely that Founding Father, scientific tinkerer and electricity pioneer Benjamin Franklin would have approved of a society that barely updated a light bulb in a century and then continued to resist innovation.
According to a report in The Hill, Senate Democrats didn't support the language, but it made it into the final version of the bill.In truth, the light bulb "ban" does no such thing, and as written into law during the presidency of George W. Bush, only requires traditional incandescent light bulbs to be 30% more efficient starting in 2012, as opposed to being replaced entirely.