Skip to comments.The right and wrong way to talk about Gardasil; Update: A really, really stupid attack on Palin
Posted on 09/13/2011 12:27:11 PM PDT by Anamnesis
A month ago, I was “fringe” for spotlighting Rick Perry’s Gardasil problem.
As I said then, it’s not just a “single-issue,” one-off problem. It’s about his instincts, judgment, non-apology apology, and ethics.
For everyone still catching up, here’s my column from a month ago.
Now, Gardasil is the search word of the day. And there’s a new development.
After successfully highlighting Perry’s troubling abuse of executive power during last night’s debate, Michele Bachmann risks blowing it with some factually inaccurate assertions.
She’s RIGHT on the principles, wrong on some of the details.
She needs to stay on message and stick with the facts.
The Texas state legislature repealed the order (over Perry’s hysterical objections) before any girl was forcibly vaccinated.
And while individual stories of Gardasil harm may or may not be true (Bachmann cited a mother who thinks the vaccine caused mental retardation in her child while making the post-debate rounds), it’s not the primary case she should be making.
Again: Bachmann is RIGHT on the principles, but it gets dicey citing cases where individual anecdotes need to be vetted before tossing them out on TV. She came dangerously close to using the same demagogic tactics Perry employed in obstinately defending the order even after it was repealed. Reminder:
Trampling the deliberative process. Since Day One, President Obama has short-circuited transparency, public debate and congressional oversight. How can Perry effectively challenge the White House’s czar fetish, stealth recess appointments, selective waiver-mania and backdoor legislating through administrative orders when Perry himself employed the very same process as governor?
Not only did Perry defend going above the heads of elected state legislators, but his office also falsely claimed the legislature had no right to repeal the executive order. “The order is effective until Perry or a successor changes it, and the Legislature has no authority to repeal it,” Perry spokeswoman Krista Moody told The Washington Post in February 2007.
When both the House and Senate repealed the law six weeks later, Perry did not — as he now claims — listen humbly or “agree with their decision.”
Human shield demagoguery. In response to the legislature’s rebuke, the infuriated governor attacked those who supported repeal as “shameful” spreaders of “misinformation” who were putting “women’s lives” at risk. Borrowing a tried-and-true Alinskyite page from the progressive left, Perry surrounded himself with female cervical cancer victims and deflected criticism of his imperial tactics with emotional anecdotes.
He then lionized himself and the minority of politicians who voted against repeal of his Gardasil order. “They will never have to think twice about whether they did the right thing. No lost lives will occupy the confines of their conscience, sacrificed on the altar of political expediency.” Perry, of course, has now put his own ghastly Gardasil order on that same altar — but with no apology to all those he demonized and exploited along the way.
The point is that Perry rushed to mandate the Merck-pushed order less than 8 months after it had received FDA approval. Clinical trial and safety data was extremely limited at the time. And scientific assessments are still coming in about the long-term and synergistic effects of this and other vaccines.
The Merck push is still ongoing in other states, as I’ve reported. California is pushing forward with legislation making it possible to dispense the shots through the state to children as young as 12 without the permission of their parents.
If Obama sponsored a Gardasil mandate law, took Merck money and had a staffer-turned-Merck lobbyist, it would be an issue.
Hillary Clinton lobbied for Gardasil while Merck sat on hubby’s Global Initiative board. Conservatives cared back then. Pay-for-play still matters, especially when our children are involved.
There IS a middle ground between “absolutist anti-vaccine hysteria” and mindless, unquestioning support of Nanny State.
I am not an Jenny McCarthy-esque loon for taking the time to assess the massive shot schedule & deciding what’s right for my kids and when.
It’s not “freaking out” to highlight parental sovereignty issues. And this is not merely a “social” issue instead of an economic issue. It’s both. The debate over Obamacare is in large part a debate over the limits of government in private health decisions. This is of a piece.
Former Hot Air alum and former Texas state GOP communications director Bryan Preston, now at Pajamas Media, notes that during the tenure of Sarah Palin (who rightly criticized the appearance of crony capitalism in the Perry/Gardasil debacle last night), Alaska took federal funds to expand access to Gardasil:
( Juneau, Alaska) ─ The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services announced today that an increase in federal funding will make it possible for all Alaska girls ages 9 through 18 to receive Gardasil ®, the vaccine to prevent cervical cancer, at no cost.
This isnt quite the same thing as mandating (and being overturned on, so it didnt actually happen) a vaccination, but taking federal funds for Gardasil doesnt quite square with Palins hot shots at Perry on Fox last night. I admire Sarah Palin quite a bit (and Bachmann too), but aligning herself with Bachmanns precious bodily fluids gambit is a huge mistake on her part. Both of them are flaming their own credibility over an issue that, in the grand view of things, ought not to matter much. It hasnt mattered much to some of the most conservative voters in America, over three gubernatorial elections running now. Both Palin and Bachmann are coming off as ill informed, unreasonable and desperate.
It “isn’t quite the same thing as mandating.”
Gee, no. Ya think?
It’s a freakingly obvious night and day difference — Perry’s MANDATE on families and the MANDATE on insurers going over the heads of the state legislature versus the Palin administration’s decision to accept federal subsidies to increase access to those who choose to take it. (Note: Gardasil is not and never has been mandated in the state of Alaska.)
Preston also objects to indirect costs imposed by the Palin administration’s program on taxpayers outside the state.
Newsflash: The Perry executive order would have ordered Texas health officials to use federal Medicaid funding to cover the vaccine for young women — a cost that would have been borne by millions of taxpayers outside Texas.
As for the gobsmackingly ridiculous claim that this revelation about Palin makes her guilty of the crony capitalism Perry is marinated in, another flashback:
Pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co., responding to pressure from parents, pro-family organizations, and medical groups, announced on February 20 that it was immediately suspending its lobbying campaign to persuade state legislatures to mandate that adolescent girls receive the company’s vaccine against human papillomavirus (HPV)-related cervical cancer as a requirement for school attendance.
A February 2 executive order by Texas Governor Rick Perry that made Texas the first state to require that schoolgirls as young as 11 get vaccinated with a three-dose regimen of Merck’s Gardasil before entering sixth grade had provoked a storm of outrage from pro-family groups.
A January 31 AP report that tied Merck & Co. to Women in Government, an advocacy group made up of female state legislators around the country, added fuel to the fire by revealing a blatant conflict of interest. The report observed that a top official from Merck’s vaccine division sits on Women in Government’s business council, and members of Women in Government have introduced many of the bills around the country that would mandate compulsory Gardasil vaccinations. Merck had also admitted donating an undisclosed amount of money to lobbyists promoting such legislation.
A follow-up report by AP’s Liz Austin Peterson on February 21 noted that Governor Perry’s chief of staff, Deirdre Delisi, met with Perry’s budget director and three members of his office for an “HPV Vaccine for Children Briefing” on October 16, the same day that Merck’s political action committee donated $5,000 to Perry’s campaign.
A spokesman for the governor, Robert Black, described the timing of the meeting and the Merck donation as a coincidence, but Cathie Adams, president of the Texas Eagle Forum, remains skeptical. “We have too many coincidences,” said Adams. “I think that the voters of Texas would find that very hard to swallow.”
Now, read this from the National Institute for Money in State Politics:
Among gubernatorial candidates who received contributions from Merck, Perry was second only to former California Gov. Gray Davis, who received $28,000.
Since the 2000 election cycle, the drug company has contributed $2.46 million to state-level candidates and party committees, doling their money out almost equally to both parties.
Democratic committees received just over $1 million and Republicans $1.4 million. Individuals employed by Merck gave an additional $2.5 million to state-level politics. Merck has helped finance races in forty states since the 2000 election cycle, when the Institute began collecting contribution data in all 50 states. Merck has focused intently on its home base, New Jersey, as well as giving in Florida, California and Pennsylvania. Combined, these four states have received more than $1 million from Merck, or 44 percent of the companys total
…At $360 for the three-shot Gardisal regimen, Merck could generate billions in sales if it is successful in its efforts to persuade the states to require the use of the vaccine.
MERCK CONTRIBUTIONS TO STATE POLITICS, 2000-2006
* 2006 data collection is ongoing; totals may increase.
MERCK CONTRIBUTIONS BY STATE, 2000-2006*
New Jersey $317,600
New York $118,025
West Virginia $52,250
North Carolina $48,000
New Mexico $31,300
South Carolina $24,150
South Dakota $8,200
North Dakota $3,250
New Hampshire $800
Note: Alaska does not appear on this list. It was never a lobbying target for Merck. Nor did Palin have an ex-chief of staff lobbying for Merck or a staffer’s mother-in-law serving as a state director of an advocacy group bankrolled by Merck to push legislatures across the country to put forward bills mandating the Gardasil vaccine for preteen girls.
Moreover, Palin is on record in 2008 e-mails expressing her general opposition to certain vaccine mandates.
It’s a pathetic and ill-informed act of desperation to try and turn the crony capitalism charge on Palin, which is a telling measure of how effective her voice is on this topic — and why so many would rather silence her.
As a sidenote, Perry lowballed the amount of money he took from Merck. See here.
And a final point: A friend points out that Perry supporters sabotage their own defense of Perry. If Perry was simply “erring on the side of life” and would simply have pursued the policy of increasing access to Gardasil in a different way, then he most certainly would have no objection to what happened in Alaska — e.g., making the vaccine available to people who wanted it without mandating it by acccepting existing federal dollars.
Good article. Lets see what those excusing Perry for this have to say.
One thing you can say about Michelle is she is a bulldog and does her research.
Perry f’d up.
"When both the House and Senate repealed the law six weeks later, Perry did not as he now claims listen humbly or agree with their decision.-----
Human shield demagoguery. In response to the legislatures rebuke, the infuriated governor attacked those who supported repeal as shameful spreaders of misinformation who were putting womens lives at risk. Borrowing a tried-and-true Alinskyite page from the progressive left, Perry surrounded himself with female cervical cancer victims and deflected criticism of his imperial tactics with emotional anecdotes.
He then lionized himself and the minority of politicians who voted against repeal of his Gardasil order. They will never have to think twice about whether they did the right thing. No lost lives will occupy the confines of their conscience, sacrificed on the altar of political expediency. Perry, of course, has now put his own ghastly Gardasil order on that same altar but with no apology to all those he demonized and exploited along the way."
Rick gets funny when you start messin with his money.
I’d say Malkin really hates Perry. I’d also say this whole issue has really been overblown. Wasn’t there an “opt-out” on this vaccination deal?
Please see post #6
>>There are more important things to worry about that 100 times bigger than this innuendo crap. <<
You certainly have the right to delude yourself and live in denial, if it makes you feel better.
But facts are stubborn things.
“Id say Malkin really hates Perry”
Ah, the “hate” card. Can’t deal with facts, so pull out the “hate” card.
>>The facts as you perceive them. <<
No, facts are facts. But go ahead and try to deny them. Maybe they will go away.
Yes, but the process for executing the opt out requires approval by the state; and ONLY the original approval, issued by the state, is effective.
It's not a form one simply signs at the doctor's office, or at the school.
Hey Rush. That's your boy.
That what people claim, but it's not entirely true. Texas has an "opt out" system in general, but the EO to mandate Gardasil references it only in directing the health department to make the form avaialble via the Internet. There was no Gardasil-specific opt out clause.
Exactly. I have little respect for morons who are willingly blind, and actually hostile to the truth.
It’s stupidity like that that got us McCain.
Or is the issue the sending of money to a faceless evil corporation to provide an unnecessary and dangerous product to innocent children?
If it's the latter how is what Perry did any different than what Palin did? Alaska provided $$$ to Merck for them to make vaccinations available for every girl 9 through 18, a point about which the Palin administration boasted
Nobody is objecting to Perry being criticized for the EO. What some of us are concerned about is Palin squandering nearly all her reputation (and Bachmann basically losing every bit of respect many of us once held for her) by making unsupported innuendos that Perry is a vile criminal.
The smart thing for the Sarah defenders to do would be to back off and encourage their girl to apologize.
Or spell out the charges in detail.
If going to call someone a moron, at least have the balls to do it to his or her face.