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You Are Dumb, which is not a blog, posts new columns every weekday, except for a couple of days each month when it doesn't. It is also a Twitter feed, @youaredumb, with content in a similar vein but much shorter. My spinoff food site, Forkbastard, can be found easily enough by the clever.
Archive - Dec 20, 2011
Memo to Bulb-Obsessed Teabaggers; WATT THE FUCK?
We have established, at various times in the past, that the teahadi obsession with light bulb efficiency standards is completely fucking insane. But until this week, it appeared to be a relatively normal, understandable form of sanity.
Let me explain. The teabagger credo is that everything liberals like is unconstitutional. unless Republicans are saying they like it. That's why Social Security and Medicare are unconstitutional until election years, when they must be defended at all costs. How does this apply to light bulbs? Well, it's pro-environment (BAD), government regulation of private business (BAD), and Barack Obama's idea (not actually true, but they believe it, so BAD). That is the trifecta of bad, and could only be worse if Obama mandated the bulbs be both efficient and gay.
This is, of course, knee-jerk, stupid, and crazy, but at least the first two of those are grounded in something approaching a sort of political philosophy. Teabaggers are anti-environment because businesses do better, financially, when they're allowed to pollute. They're anti-regulation because businesses do better, financially, when they're allowed to do whatever the fuck they want. So it's knee-jerk, yes. Stupid, yes. Crazy, indubitably. But it's all in service of their secret God, which is corporate profit.
And this was all well and good when the little shits were posturing, and stirring up the mouthbreathers with the lie that Obama is gonna take away your incandescent light bulbs and leave you with no option other than compact fluorescents, which, to red meat conservatives, are about as close as you can get to "efficient and gay". But something funny happened. The teabaggers accidentally accomplished something.
They got a rider into this year's omnibus spending bill stripping the enforcement money for the light bulb efficiency standards, and the rest of Congress, arguing about all the other hostages the Republicans took, let it stand. A victory for the Tea Party, a victory for the free market, and most importantly, a victory for the light bulb makers! Right? ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!
"After spending four years and millions of dollars prepping for the new rules, businesses say pulling the plug now could cost them. The National Electrical Manufacturers Association has waged a lobbying campaign for more than a year to persuade the GOP to abandon the effort." - A report in Politico, which would normally be suspect, but it's backed up with actual quotes from named sources for a change.
In other words, business associations affected by government regulations spent a YEAR lobbying teabagger Republicans in a desperate attempt to keep them from overturning the efficiency standards, because they've already spent the money figuring out how to make light bulbs, including incandescent ones, that meet the new regulations. And they don't want cheap foreign or knockoff bulbs to flood the market.
And this effort failed.
Which means the teabaggers are free of the last check and balance we thought was in place in American politics - the will of the corporate overfiends. The teabaggers are no longer honest politicians by the old Heinleinian standard - you can buy them, but they don't stay bought. Which means their crazy is unfettered by even corporate self-interest. Listen to how Texas representative Michael Burgess justified his move.
"“This wasn’t a light bulb manufacturer to me; this was an issue of the fundamental freedom of the American people and one more area where the federal government was encroaching in a place where it didn’t belong."
In other words, he's actually being guided by his insane view of what he thinks "fundamental freedoms" are, what he thinks government micromanagement is, and what he thinks the American people want. He's not just acting like he believes this in order to get more power, appease General Electric, or pull in more donations.
He's a true believer, and his true belief is a relentless anti-Obama fanaticism that ignores facts about what the standards do and whose idea they were. The three corners of his hat are spite, ignorance, and fanaticism. And his crew appear to be setting the agenda, as we're seeing with the House Republicans rejecting the payroll tax deal this week.
So everyone get out your pocket calculators and add another 12% to how fucked you thought we were.