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Lights!

Did you know you can still buy an old-fashioned, incandescent light bulb? I thought they were gone, a victim of the big, bad, over-reaching, nanny-state loving federal government that hates the free market.

But they’re still here. I’m not surprised if you’re surprised. Conservatives made a lot of noise about the “ban” on bulbs and that’s all most of us heard. But there never was a ban, just new federal efficiency standards, and the story behind the story is a sad commentary on the toxic state of our politics.

Michigan Republican Fred Upton is Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and was chairman of the committee back when Congress passed and President Bush signed the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.

Here’s what Upton said about that bill at the time: “Current incandescent bulbs on store shelves are obsolete and highly inefficient — only 10% of the energy consumed by each bulb is for light with 90% wasted on unnecessary heat. Today’s incandescent bulbs employ the same technology as the bulbs Thomas Edison first created over 120 years ago.

This common sense, bipartisan approach partners with American industry to save energy as well as help foster the creation of new domestic manufacturing jobs. By upgrading to more efficient light bulbs, we will help preserve energy resources and reduce harmful emission [sic], all the while saving American families billions of dollars in their electric bills — and the benefits will be as easy as a flip of the switch.”

Fast forward to 2008 when we elect a socialist, bi-racial former community organizer with a dubious birth certificate as President. The far right is up in arms and Upton is in trouble.

Here’s what RedState said about what they perceived as Upton’s apostasy as he faced a primary challenge during the summer of 2012: “As late as 2007-2008 — twenty years into Fred Upton’s congressional career — he was one of the biggest supporters of green energy social engineering and climate fascism. As Ranking Member of the Energy Committee, Upton co-authored the incandescent light bulb ban that eventually made its way into the 2007 energy bill, which turned out to be the Obamacare of the energy industry. It contained mandates and subsidies for green energy on every page.”

Upton slammed on the brakes, turned hard right and attacked the law he had championed as a classic example of Big Government substituting its judgment for the free market’s. He went so far as to introduce a bill to effectively kill the light bulb portion of the Energy Act of 2007.

Hypocritical? Yes. But apparently if you flip to the right after a career of (perceived) flopping with the left, all can be forgiven. Upton survived his primary challenge from the right by Jack Hoogendyk and went on to win the general election with 55 percent of the vote.

Personally, I’m more than fine saving money on my electric bill. In his heart, I’ll bet Fred Upton is, too.

Oh, yeah. Those light bulbs. Check out Advanced Lighting Technologies of Ohio.