Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Perry liabilities: one down, but several in the on deck circle

I remember when I first hear about Perry's order that middle school girls had to be vaccinated against the HPV virus, I thought it was a troubling expansion of government power to tell parents that their daughters under 14-years old had to be vaccinated for a sexually transmitted disease. It isn't a disqualifier, as far as I'm concerned, for Perry's nomination. I'm more worried about his use of government power to reward his donors.

But at least Perry had the political smarts to frankly acknowledge that he'd made a mistake with the vaccination order. Answers like this will get that issue behind him.
His third question from the crowd was about an issue that his critics have touched on — his 2007 mandate for girls to get vaccinated against the cervical cancer-causing HPV virus.

“I signed an executive order that allowed for an opt-out, but the fact of the matter is I didn’t do my research well enough to understand that we needed to have a substantial conversation with our citizenry,” he said. “I hate cancer. Let me tell you, as a son who has a mother and father who are both cancer survivors.”

Perry said he’d invested government resources in cancer cures, adding, “I hate cancer. And this HPV, we were seeing young ladies die at the early age. What we should have done was a program that frankly should have allowed them to opt in, or some type of program like that, but here’s what I learned — when you get too far out in front of the parade they will let you know. And that’s exactly what our legislature did..."
He's exactly right. Schools could have offered the shots and let parents decide if they wanted their children to get the vaccination. I'm glad he learned his lesson, though I wondered why a supposed small-government conservative hadn't figured this out by himself.

Jazz Shaw has a spirited defense of the original policy.

But that isn't the only liability for Perry. The Austin Statesman helpfully supplies us with a primer on controversies in Perry's record. Note how four of the controversies are related to giving favors to campaign donors. If his GOP rivals don't make something of these stories, you know the Democrats will. Of course, Obama has his own stories of sending federal money to his supporters. Those stories just don't get the MSM as excited because Obama's supporters are Democratic organizations such as laboHow Barack Obama Is Bankrupting You and Enriching His Wall Street Friends, Corporate Lobbyists, and Union Bossesr unions or environmental groups. But it's just as sleazy and dismaying. In fact, Timothy Carney has written a whole book about it: Obamanomics: How Barack Obama Is Bankrupting You and Enriching His Wall Street Friends, Corporate Lobbyists, and Union Bosses


Pat Patterson said...

They weren't middle school but any girl entering public schools before twelve years of age. All states have vaccination programs for first time students. I'm not sure what everybody is excited about, Gardasil and Cervarix have only 66 deaths charged to the the vaccines and some of those deaths were car accidents or preexisting conditions. In California any child coming into a public school has to be vaccinated for polio, diptheria, rubella, tetanus etc. Incoming foreign students have to have the panel for TB or no school. Quick, check your upper arm as practically everybody born before 1966 has a scar from the small pox vaccine. No shot, no school.

Considering the deadliness or disfigurement caused by small pox, the near fatal or permanent handicap of polio the saving of any fraction of the 3,700 women who die of cervical cancer seem worth the intervention of the state.

Greg said...

Here are the problems with Perry’s actions in this situation.

1) He acted unilaterally, with no consultation with members of the legislative branch.

2) It is questionable whether or not Perry had the authority under the Texas Constitution or statutory law to impose the requirement.

3) Perry and his aides argued that not only did he have the right to issue the executive order, but that the Texas Legislature lacked the authority to overturn his actions or prohibit the use of state money to fund the vaccination program.

4) HPV is different from every other disease for which the state of Texas requires vaccination as a condition of enrollment in school. The others can be easily passed in a normal classroom setting in the course of the ordinary activity of going to school. HPV, on the other hand, is not ordinarily passed under such conditions — therefore the nexus between school enrollment and the vaccine is lacking.

5) If Perry’s reasoning is accepted as legitimate, then there is no legitimate barrier to a future governor issuing an executive order mandating that girls receive Norplant as a condition of enrolling in school beginning in sixth grade. After all, given the multitude of societal problems caused by teen pregnancy and the negative impact on the future of girls who do become pregnant, there is a compelling argument that such a mandate is beneficial to society and the girls — religious, moral, legal, and constitutional questions notwithstanding — and that argument is every bit as compelling as the argument for Gardasil (actually more so, given the number of teen pregnancies every year).

Besides, I think that the commercial that the manufacturer put out at the time really offers the best critique of Perry’s misdeeds in this case. It said “ask your doctor if Gardasil is right for you” — but nowhere suggested consultation with your governor or other elected officials. It is therefore clear that Rick Perry’s decision to play doctor with the little girls of Texas was the wrong one.

Pat Patterson said...

Same arguments vs polio, tetanus and small pox vaccinations. Add some constitutional confusion (Texas law is very unclear on who can order the vaccines which by requiring meant that the insurance companies and not the state had to pay for them), a few bogus claims of hundreds or thousands of deaths, repeat endlessly that the vaccines have mercury in them and then add the same kind of foolishness that kept, "Fluoride Is A Communist Plot," billboards up for years. Voila igorance passing off as a Constitutional crisis.