No, Barack Obama did not write or sign the light-bulb law, and so Mitt Romney was wrong to say "Obama's regulators" had "banned Thomas Edison’s light bulb," Washington Post factchecker Glenn Kessler points out rightly today.
But Kessler then makes the odd claim that nobody has banned Edison's lightbulb -- they just made it illegal to manufacture or import. Here's Kessler's claim:
we don’t see how higher efficiency standards translates into a "ban," especially when light manufacturers have embraced the new standards.
I'll leave that "even industry likes it" line aside for today, and focus on his claim that efficiency standards cannot translate into a ban. I think this is important, because much of the media and the Left have been on a crusade to claim that the light-bulb law didn't ban anything.
The "standards" are not just "standards" that set guidelines. They are "standards" that a manufacturer must meet, or be prohibited from selling his lightbulb. If I set up a factory that turned out the traditional incandescent -- "Edison's light bulb" -- and tried to sell it, the federal government would shut me down because my bulb was illegally inefficient.
How is that not a ban?
Here's an analogy I think works:
What if Congress passed "calorie standards" declaring it illegal to sell sweeteners that have more than 2 calories per gram? Sugar as you know it now has 4 calories per gram. Would Congress not have "banned standard sugar"?
It seems to me that by any normal understanding of the word, Congress -- and, of course, President Bush -- banned the traditional light bulb that Thomas Edison commercialized.
p.s. Recently, when Chuck Schumer made the insane claim that the Blunt Amendment would "would ban contraception coverage for any woman in America whose boss has a personal objection to it" Kessler's objection was a lot gentler: "'Ban' is a strong word in this regard.