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