Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity
Posted at 4:53 PM ET, 03/10/2011

Lightbulbs, toilets, and Rand Paul's potty mouth

By Alexandra Petri

Rand Paul's toilets don't work, and he knows who's to blame. Not Aqua Buddha. The Government!

"I've been waiting for 20 years to talk about how bad these toilets are," Rand Paul (R-Ky.) exclaimed during a hearing on energy Thursday morning.

"Frankly, my toilets don't work in my house, and I blame you, and people like you," said Mr. Paul to Kathleen Hogan, deputy assistant secretary for energy efficiency at the Energy Department.

"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. I really find it troubling, this busy-body nature, that you want to come into my house, my bathroom, my bedroom, my kitchen, my laundry room -- I just really find it insulting."

He had a lot to say about the new toilets: "We don't even save money! We flush them 10 times! They don't work!"

I guess one of the perks of being an elected official is that you get to show up at hearings and complain about your toilets. This makes me want to run for office, because I have a lot of problems with my toilet, and the American people need to know! Also, the McDonald's near my home no longer carries the McRib, and I think my cat has a rash.

And I blame the government! It is always showing up at my house to replace things that I like with things that I like less. It does this through a process it likes to call "regulation" and I like to call "unnecessarily confiscating my pet giant lump of burning dirty plutonium-coal-toxic-waste." One afternoon I came home and noticed that The Government was in my kitchen filling all my mayonnaise jars with Miracle Whip. That's the kind of nonsense up with which I will not put!

The Government loves interfering with all my hobbies, which are roughly described by the phrase "using endangered animals to hunt other endangered animals while leaving my faucet running." But it's gone too far! First they came for the toilets, making them more efficient and less exciting, for thrill-seekers like me who liked to feel we were doing our business on something that could, if required, engulf the city of Detroit in a single flush.

But light bulbs -- well, that's a bridge too far. I may not be burning twice as bright and half as long, but I'd like my light bulbs to have that opportunity! Thomas Edison didn't do all that perspiring so The Government could come replace my bulbs with the little pig-tailed ones.

So Paul really spoke for me. "I can't buy the old light bulbs," he railed. "I can't buy a toilet that works!"

I think Paul's point was that energy efficiency standards affect the kind of products in the market, and that he thinks only the market should determine the kind of products in the market, but nobody else seemed able to figure that out over all the toilet-related exclamations."I can help you find a toilet that works," Hogan offered at one point.

Maybe it's an objection worth exploring. But ranting about his toilet might not be the way to get that point across -- it's the kind of debate that exudes more heat than light. But hey, that's what the old light bulbs used to do, and we all know how he feels about them.

By Alexandra Petri  | March 10, 2011; 4:53 PM ET
Categories:  Congress, Petri, That's awkward  | Tags:  Rand Paul, light bulbs, toilets  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Newt Gingrich's patriotic urges
Next: Evan Emory's YouTube debacle: real vs. online community


"Would the gentleman yield for a question?"


"The chair recognizes the gentleman from Maine."

"Has my distinguished colleague yet attempted to jiggle the handle a little bit, and then hold it down for five seconds?"

Posted by: purpledrank | March 10, 2011 5:54 PM | Report abuse

Does he object to the requirement for indoor plumbing? Connections to water and sewer lines? His use of "too much water" requires his neighbors to pay taxes to build water systems. My low-flow toilets work just fine, maybe R.P is full of shtt!

How about blood tests for marriage licenses? High-phosphate detergents? Fluorocarbon-free refrigerants? Just let a few ruin it for everyone? Great credo.

Posted by: thebobbob | March 10, 2011 6:36 PM | Report abuse

That was one of the best performances I've ever seen from a politician. You didn't print the best part after she said she could help him find a toilet, he didn't miss a beat asking if she'd pay for it too cause it would cost thousands of dollars.

if you dont like toilet talk in congress, get the f out of our bathrooms.

Posted by: rhysz | March 10, 2011 6:40 PM | Report abuse

The Federal government has been hounding me for over 20 years with questions about MY toilets. Why don't they make that a headline?
"Feds Obsessed with Smith's Johns".

Posted by: RayEstonSmithJr | March 10, 2011 8:12 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps Rand Paul should try leaving smaller dumps in the bowl.

Posted by: fudador | March 10, 2011 8:20 PM | Report abuse

Rand Paul is a such a retard. His sheer hatred of women is obvious.

Posted by: ExConservative | March 10, 2011 8:34 PM | Report abuse

What's pathetic is that childlike fools like Rand Paul are considered legitimate now. China is laughing their backsides off.

Posted by: ExConservative | March 10, 2011 8:42 PM | Report abuse

Rand Paul's right to have a wigglypootittywalker is being denied by the private sector. WHY WON'T THE MAKE ONE FOR RAND PAUL??! WHY ARE THEY RESTRICTING HIS CHOICES?!!

God, this guy is such a moron. If he can be a politician, then there's hope for anyone.

Posted by: ExConservative | March 10, 2011 8:47 PM | Report abuse

Rand Paul is an idiot. Neither one of the problems he complained about were initiated by the current administration.

Posted by: tater1 | March 10, 2011 9:08 PM | Report abuse

Poor right-wing Republican idiots. They can only talk crapp. Is the only subject they are well versed on.
I wish we could just wiggle his handle and flush him out for good.

Posted by: analyst72 | March 10, 2011 9:11 PM | Report abuse

Like Rand Paul, I often stop up my toilet with a massive feculosity. Mr. Paul and I are both men of the highest caliber.

Unlike Mr. Paul, though, I was able to find a "pressure" toilet that worked. I named my toilet, "Deepthroat" (no relation to frequent commenter deepthroat21).

William Shakespeare described my toilet best when he said, "She could suck the chrome off a bumper through a 100 foot garden hose," or maybe that was Snookie. Anyway, I was never able to stop it up, even when I tried. One time, it required 2 flushes to handle the 500 baby alligators I tested it with, but that was the only time.

But, alas, Deepthroat was a "screamer" almost as bad as my ex-wife. My kids started doing countdowns to "blast off" whenever I went to the bathroom.

Sadly, I had to uninstall Deepthroat when one of the kids almost got sucked down to alligator land.

So if Rand Paul needs a toilet that can flush down a barrel of tea in one massive kaboom, Deepthroat is available!

Posted by: divtune | March 10, 2011 9:21 PM | Report abuse

Rand Paul should have the right to shoot cannon-loads of atomized asbestos off his roof for his personal enjoyment, goddammit! He should be able to heat his house by burning old tires, paint and toxic waste! Anybody who disagrees is a commie muslim gay leftist illegal brown person!

Posted by: Plix | March 10, 2011 9:40 PM | Report abuse

gosh -- he is right! most of this sh*t does not work! surprise fed govt. wasting time and money and freedom of people.

Posted by: fngVP | March 10, 2011 10:12 PM | Report abuse

I'm shocked he has indoor plumbing.

Posted by: Mountaineer87 | March 10, 2011 10:20 PM | Report abuse

Rand Paul, no matter how much you jiggle and dance, the last drop will always fall in your pants.

Posted by: andycyber | March 10, 2011 11:43 PM | Report abuse

Well, it was sure worth signing in just to read all the satire! Good, guys! Keep it up!

Methinks Dr. Paul is wee bit of the (far right) deep end. Now, to be fair, there ARE such things as stifling and counterproductive government regulations, but Paul forgets that (in the USA, at least), things usually don't even GET regulated until some massive damage, sometimes involving loss of life, is done through some egregious corporate abuse. Perhaps he would prefer tainted meat and drugs, for example. Of course, the tainted meat would just give him the runs, and then we'd have to hear MORE whining about his incompetent toilets.

Posted by: post_reader_in_wv | March 11, 2011 12:21 AM | Report abuse

It's no big surprise that he can't find a toilet that meets his standards. Such is the inevitable fate of someone who is so full of sh_t.

Posted by: rashomon | March 11, 2011 12:22 AM | Report abuse

I have three low flush toilets in my house and they all work just fine.

Perhaps Dr. Paul is too cheap to buy ones that work.

Posted by: arancia12 | March 11, 2011 12:24 AM | Report abuse

I can't believe I just read about Rand Paul's 20 years of epic dumps. Actually I can't believe Rand Paul discussed his 20 years of epic dumps in front of cameras. And I think Dave Barry once wrote a piece about low-flush toilets and how they don't work, so I wonder if taking larger than normal dumps is one of those things that differentiates libertarians from the rest of us.

Personally, I have more of a problem with the women who choose to squat but not wipe down afterwards, than with low-flush toilets.

Posted by: dkp01 | March 11, 2011 12:59 AM | Report abuse

I am so far to the left that Karl Marx is too conservative for my tastes, but Ron Paul has a point. I, too, have to flush my "efficient" toilet three to six times and I do not see the efficiency in that. I have no problem with the new light bulbs nor with giving women the freedom to choose, but I am fed up with the nanny state tactics of my fellow liberals. Yes, conservatives are more freedom-resticting but liberals get worse by the year. It started with seat belts. I can't hurt anyone but myself if I do not wear a seat belt, yet seat belt use is mandatory now in most of the states, states that won't pay for my health care claim to be interested in my well being and that is why they force me to wear a seat belt. Do I think seat belt use is smart, more safe? Sure I do. I also think that transfats are bad for me, that smoking is bad for me, and riding a bike without a helmet is probably not the most prudent thing to do. But all of these acts hurt ONLY myself and I want to make the decision, not have it forced upon me by government regulation. Now I do believe in regulation, for clean air and water, for workplace safety etc. etc. but not in these personal acts. I find it ridiculous that I cannot open a bar which allows smoking EVEN IF I HAVE HUGE SIGNS SAYING THAT SMOKING IS ALLOWED. I want transfats information on my menu so that I can make an intelligent choice if I wish to do so, but I WANT TO MAKE THE CHOICE. As for bicycle helmets (not motorcyle, bicycle) I do not wear them so I am prohibited from riding my bike in most state parks and recreation areas.

So, although I do not often agree with either of the Paul's I see his point here. There should be anti-pollution and OSHA laws and regulations, but, when it comes to personal responsibility, let me make my own decisions.

By the way, I also think that if I am rich enough that I can afford to sit in my home and shoot heroin all day ON MY DIME that I should be able to do that too. It's my life and if I want to do stupid and dangerous things to myself it is noone's business but my own.

Posted by: nyrunner101 | March 11, 2011 1:22 AM | Report abuse

I think we are all missing the point here.

Rand Paul seems to have a vague notion of what his toilets are FOR, but apparently no one has ever showed him HOW they work. His father Ron Paul was too busy battling the government to have time for that, and his mother-- oh, I don't know, she was probably sitting on the back porch with a bag over her head so she wouldn't have to listen to Ron and Rand complain. Hell, maybe Rand's johns aren't even hooked up to the water lines. I think this whole situation could be resolved quickly if the federal government would loosen up a little and print a bathroom fixture instruction manual for all freshman congressmen.

(Congresswomen, on the other hand, do not seem to need any help in this area.)

Posted by: farmer1 | March 11, 2011 2:53 AM | Report abuse

All hail the Nanny state!

Posted by: DJ_Spanky | March 11, 2011 4:32 AM | Report abuse

"I think Paul's point was that energy efficiency standards affect the kind of products in the market,..."

No Alexandra, you missed it. His point was that the Government shouldn't be mandating these changes. When they do, their decisions are based on special interest groups. These groups may not always have the environment or the nations' best interest at heart.

One-size-fits-all solutions are rarely the best.

Posted by: MDLaxer | March 11, 2011 6:17 AM | Report abuse

What a f***ing wingnut!

Posted by: mdnc | March 11, 2011 7:34 AM | Report abuse

There is a - How to use a Toilet for Idiots - available for purchase in all Bookstores.

Posted by: bigmac1810 | March 11, 2011 7:39 AM | Report abuse

Does this guy understand that you have to push down the little chrome thingy on the right? Sometimes that transition to indoor plumbing can be tough.

Posted by: jlhare1 | March 11, 2011 7:58 AM | Report abuse

With all that is going on in this country and the world, it's disgusting that this guy is taking time to discuss his toilet. Yea, I get his point, but there are so many important issues to deal with right now, people like him should just shut up if they have nothing to contribute to solving our current problems. Kentuckians must be real proud of what they sent to Washington. He would call me a Northeast elitist (which I definitely am not), but at least our reps from MA don't waste time thinking about toilets.

Posted by: mfiori | March 11, 2011 8:12 AM | Report abuse

And what does this have to do with jobs?

Posted by: areyousaying | March 11, 2011 8:32 AM | Report abuse

We din't have these problems in Kentucky wit our outhouses.

Indoor plumbing is an Islamic Communist plot by that Kenyan Obama.

Posted by: areyousaying | March 11, 2011 8:36 AM | Report abuse

Ah, the embodiment of statesmanship.

Posted by: Goombay | March 11, 2011 9:19 AM | Report abuse

"I've been waiting for 20 years to talk about how bad these toilets are," Rand Paul (R-Ky.) exclaimed during a hearing on energy Thursday morning.


I don't recall rand paul campaigning on how bad his toilets are. Do you? I thought it was all about how badly Obama screwed everything up? Is this the teabag jobs creation they promised?

Posted by: fmamstyle | March 11, 2011 9:23 AM | Report abuse

He must have bought cheap toilets. Mine work perfectly!!

Posted by: fkcnorthcarolina | March 11, 2011 9:36 AM | Report abuse

My low-flushers work just fine, thanks for asking Mr. Paul. They are responsible and thrifty for this desert southwest home.

Perhaps Mr. Paul is just too full of shite...

Posted by: agolembe | March 11, 2011 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Next thing you know, this national embarassment will be defiantly holding up the tag he illegally tore from his mattress, DARING the authorities to come and arrest him.

As a sexagenerian, I think we've rounded the corner as a nation and are in for a pathetically bleak future. When a mental midget like Randy Paul can convince not only the mouth-breathing TeaBaggers, but a scad of seemingly normal people to vote for him, what hope do we have left?

Posted by: meinschaft | March 11, 2011 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Randy is mad because his wife won't give him a blumpkin.

Posted by: Observer691 | March 11, 2011 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Whatever. Just don't go fishing in the Cumberland river. Or boating. Or wading. .... In fact, just don't even look at any river in Kentucky, especially after any rain storm. Phew. Maybe Mumbai, India will 'sister city' up with Lexington, Kentucky soon.

Posted by: deepthroat21 | March 11, 2011 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Well, Mr. Paul... if you weren’t so full of, uh... fecal material, perhaps your toilets would flush just fine. I can say with certainty, I don’t know anyone who’s having your problems with toilets.

I find it quite appropriate that you pick the toilet as an example seeing as how that’s where you spend most of your time.

Posted by: 4Jaxon | March 11, 2011 10:09 AM | Report abuse

You know Mr. Paul... here’s another thing... I deeply resent you lying about “the government telling us what to buy”. You know absolutely know that’s a lie.

What the government is doing, because companies can’t be relied on to tell us the truth, is publishing guidelines to INFORM the public so they can make intelligent choices instead of getting ripped off.

What is it about the truth you don’t understand? Why do you side with those who wish to mislead the public and quite possibly, put them in danger?

Are you a sociopath? Or do you just not care as long as you can get yours before the gravy train runs out?

Politicians like YOU, Mr. Paul, ARE the problem. Go away. You’re not needed.

Posted by: 4Jaxon | March 11, 2011 10:17 AM | Report abuse

Early generation low-flow toilets were awful. However, just about any toilet made in the last 20 years works just fine. And the don't cost thousands of dollars, unless you're too stupid to find a decent plumber.

And, for those who object to government regulation of toilet water use, water is a finite resource that belongs to all of us. Your right to use a wasteful toilet ends when it affects the availability of water to the rest of us, and when it requires the rest of us to pay for the construction of additional sewage facilities to treat that wastewater (you do know that when you flush it goes to a treatment facility? - built, maintained, and operated with tax dollars, since it's the kind of thing that the marketplace will never take on).

Rand Paul is beyond stupid. A pet rock is smarter.

Posted by: luridone | March 11, 2011 10:26 AM | Report abuse

Look, dolts, he's undoubtedly talking about the govt's regulation that has forced toilet mfrs to reduce the size of the water tank over the years from 5 gals to 3.5 gals, to 1.7. Believe me, without an added electric pump, the 1.7 gal toilets don't work.

Posted by: remant | March 11, 2011 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Oh, those nasty Republican's and their public cursing. Of course, the Democrat's are home to pedophiles, houses of prostitution run out of their basements, mentally unstable clown with the morals of ferrets, a collection of nut-balls from Neil Goldschmidt to David Wu to Barak Obama to Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney. Oh, you didn't know that Gingrich, Palin and Romney were Democrat's? Remove the party labels and look at (say) their economic policies. There isn't one difference of any significance between them. Same for foreign policy, Same for "globalization", that fuzzy minded one world Neo-Marxism currently in vogue in Washington and Manhattan.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | March 11, 2011 11:01 AM | Report abuse

Obviously Rand is a crappy consumer who can't shop. There are plenty of quality toilets on the market. I'd recommend Toto toilets- the low-flush ones blow away the old "swirl and streak" ones. Also, many toilets now have two buttons on them- one for real low flush, one for your, um, solids. Then again, Rand is so full of it a portapotty cleaned daily might not be enough to handle his effluence.

Posted by: DJMonet | March 11, 2011 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Senator Paul needs to improve his shopping skills. About 10 minutes with an internet search engine will help him find functional toilets that don't stop up. I just replaced some toilets from the early 1980's that stopped up constantly. My new ones (ProFlo, by Ferguson Plumbing & Supply) which meet the federal regulations he doesn't like) don't stop up. I'm pretty sure toilet manufacturers don't make bad toilets specifically for folks who oppose abortions.

Posted by: BabsinTX | March 11, 2011 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Yes, let me buy the type of lightbulbs and toilets that I want.

Posted by: MatthewWeaver | March 11, 2011 11:47 AM | Report abuse

It is unfortunate the son is not like the father. He seems to have a deep interest in small areas, ignoring the context. His ability to be the fool is unbridled. What can one expect from someone named for Sally Rand.

Posted by: alanshapiro | March 11, 2011 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Potty mouth?

From the way Rand Paul typically runs his mouth it is pretty clear that he isn't potty trained (which doesn't surprise me).

Posted by: mehrenst1 | March 11, 2011 12:25 PM | Report abuse

If Rand Paul doesn't like his toilet, maybe he should crap on a plate or dig a hole in his backyard.
By his reasoning, we should do away with clean water and air standards, we should let corporations dump toxic sludge in our swimming pools, and do away with all childhood vaccinations.
What a wonderful world we would have if the baggers had their way!

Posted by: jeffc6578 | March 11, 2011 12:41 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: danw1 | March 11, 2011 12:48 PM | Report abuse

---Personally, I have more of a problem with the women who choose to squat but not wipe down afterwards, than with low-flush toilets.

Posted by: dkp01

AMEN! What IS it with those women? Did they skip hygiene class? Or were they raised by wolves or something?

Please, women, if you are going to piss all over the toilet seat, could you at least clean up after yourselves?!!!

As for Rand Paul, he is rich enough that he could have bought a decent toilet, and hired a plumber to install it. Well, okay, it is Kentucky, he at least could buy a decent toilet...

Posted by: taroya | March 11, 2011 12:49 PM | Report abuse

It is unfortunate the son is not like the father. He seems to have a deep interest in small areas, ignoring the context. His ability to be the fool is unbridled. What can one expect from someone named for Sally Rand.

Posted by: alanshapiro | March 11, 2011 12:57 PM | Report abuse

It is unfortunate the son is not like the father. He seems to have a deep interest in small areas, ignoring the context. His ability to be the fool is unbridled. What can one expect from someone surely was named for Sally Rand.

Posted by: alanshapiro | March 11, 2011 12:59 PM | Report abuse

This is where you people don't get it. They did not just set a standard, they OUTLAWED a technology.

Would it surprise you to hear that there is new incandescent technology that approaches the efficiency of CFLs without all the toxic mercury?

This is why the government should not be involved in this. Can you imagine if the government was involved in developing the cell phone industry?! Look how long it took television to go digital! 40+ years?

Government and technology do not mix...

Posted by: mnewcomb | March 11, 2011 2:50 PM | Report abuse

I'm with Rand on this one. Low flow toilets are crap.

Posted by: jimward21 | March 11, 2011 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Seat belts don't just hurt you, more car accident injuries cause my auto and health insurance to go up. For the good of my pocketbook, please keep wearing them.

Posted by: jimward21 | March 11, 2011 6:17 PM | Report abuse

In the end, his point was very simple: people's minds and habits are best changed through persuasion, not government force. And on that note, if you want to persuade people to use more efficient lighting, point them over to this interactive cost calculator:

Posted by: OverUnity | March 11, 2011 6:55 PM | Report abuse

More fiber in your diet, Mr. Congressman. And for the kids, monitor the paper.

Posted by: michpickle | March 11, 2011 7:53 PM | Report abuse

Post a Comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.

characters remaining

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2011 The Washington Post Company