Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) is upset that the federal government has squelched his right to own a super-toilet, leaving him with less freedom than women, who are still allowed to have abortions. It’s an unusual comparison, but it’s meant to underline his opposition to the executive branch’s involvement in encouraging energy efficiency.
In a Senate hearing, Paul laid in to Kathleen Hogan, deputy assistant energy secretary for efficiency, for imposing restrictions and fines meant to encourage people to use environmentally friendly appliances.
“It’s not that I’m against conservation — I’m all for energy conservation,” Paul admitted. “But I wish you would come here to extol me [sic], to cajole, to encourage, to try to convince me that it would be a good idea to conserve energy. But you come instead with fines, threats of jail. … This is what your energy efficiency standards are.”
Paul went on, “I think there should be some self-examination from the administration on the idea that you favor a woman’s right to an abortion, but you don’t favor a woman or a man’s right to choose what kind of light bulb, what kind of dishwasher, what kind of washing machine.”
Ideally, Paul said, the government would use a bully pulpit to persuade people to use more efficient lightbulbs, washing machines, and toilets, but not intrude in the marketplace of water- and energy-wasting products. Particularly toilets.
“I find that all of the arguments for energy efficiency you’re exactly right. We should conserve energy. Why not do it in a voluntary way?” he said. “I find this antithetical to the American way.”
It turns out Paul was flushing away decades worth of pent up anger about not being able to own a toilet that gets ‘er done in a single flush.
“We have to flush the toilet 10 times before it works,” Paul said. “I’ve been waiting for 20 years to talk about how bad these toilets are and this was a good excuse today.”
[H/T: Barefoot and Progressive]
Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight, and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.