By MARC McDONALD
To hear the TeaBaggers tell it, the ban on incandescent bulbs is a good example of "Big Government" interfering with the lives of ordinary citizens.
At first glance, it might appear that the Tea Party has a point. After all, what right does the government have to tell us what type of light bulbs to buy?
However, the reality, is that the light bulb "controversy" is nothing more than a red herring. It's designed to distract the dim bulbs who constitute the ranks of this AstroTurf movement.
In reality, the TeaBaggers have no problem with the government legislating how people live their lives. After all, they support Republicans: a party that constantly micromanages every aspect of ordinary citizens' lives---even our personal morals.
You hear a lot of talk about "freedom" at TeaBagger rallies. But while TeaBagger/GOP types talk a good talk about freedom, they have nothing but contempt for real freedom for ordinary citizens.
The GOP supports outlawing everything from gay marriage to a woman's right to choose. It supports a "lock them up and throw away the key" approach for even casual drug use. Indeed, most TeaBaggers I've talked to would support the government embracing an evangelical right-wing theocracy and ramming it down the throats of the rest of us. So much for less "government intrusion" into our lives.
Indeed for all the rage the TeaBaggers claim to have toward Big Government, it's clear that (as usual) they have no idea what they're talking about. Polls have even shown that a majority of TeaBaggers support programs like Medicare (although they seem to be ignorant of the fact that it's a government program). They seem to be clueless that the GOP would abolish Medicare in a heartbeat if it only could muster the votes.
Despite all this, the TeaBaggers continue to rage against "Big Government intrusion into people's lives." The interesting thing is that, their "Exhibit A" of such intrusion is always the light bulb issue.
But is the light bulb ban really an "intrusion" by government into people's lives? Actually, it's the very opposite.
After all, the new compact fluorescents use 75-80 percent less electricity than incandescent bulbs. If every U.S. household bought just one CFL and used it in the place of an ordinary 60-watt bulb, the energy saved would be enough to power a city of 1.5 million people. It'd be the equivalent of taking 1.3 million cars off the roads.
Here's where the TeaBaggers are clueless about "government intrusion." If everyone uses CFLs, America will save millions of barrels of oil a year. And let's face it: that just increases the odds that our nation won't be involved in further oil wars in the Middle East.
Speaking of "government intrusion" into people's lives, the Iraq War alone is expect to cost U.S. taxpayers around $3 trillion.
As usual, the TeaBaggers and GOP can't see the forest for the trees. They want to save us from "government intrusion" by banning CFL bulb laws. But they have no problem with the U.S. government forcing taxpayers to cough up trillions for wars to steal other countries' oil.
Actually, if the U.S. was more energy efficient, we could easily live off the oil we produce right here at home. And we could do it with off-the-shelf technology that already exists. For example, Japan already gets an astonishing three times as much economic activity per barrel of oil than the U.S. does. If the U.S. were as energy efficient as Japan, we'd save many millions of barrels of oil per year.
Bottom line: the light bulb "issue" is nothing more than a red herring, aimed at distracting the ignorant TeaBagger crowd into believing that the leaders of this AstroTurf movement are actually acting in their interests.
To be sure, the real leaders of the Tea Party movement (like the billionaire Koch brothers) are indeed against government intrusion. But they don't give a damn about government intrusion into the lives of ordinary citizens. No, the government intrusion they oppose is any and all regulations against multinational corporations.
If the rich and powerful interests who really control the Tea Party had it their way, corporations would face zero government regulations. Corporations would be free to rape and pillage the planet as they pleased. They'd even be free to continue gorging themselves on corporate welfare. The latter, of course, is one Big Government program that the TeaBaggers have no problems with.
I've yet to see a single sign at a TeaBagger rally that condemns corporate welfare. Or a sign that condemns TeaBagger darling Michele Bachmann's family from hypocritically gorging on our tax dollars. Or a sign that condemns the U.S. spending trillions of our tax dollars to invade other countries to steal their oil.
It's clear the whole light bulb issue is nothing more than a fake "controversy," cynically contrived to mislead the American people, and the mainstream media, about the real intentions of the Tea Party movement.