Rush: Bachmann really jumped the shark on Gardasil

posted at 3:25 pm on September 13, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

After my earlier post strongly objecting to Michele Bachmann’s attempt to link the Gardasil vaccination to “mental retardation,” the response has been nearly unanimous among commenters — and as it turns out, pundits too.  The Boss Emeritus, whose rational objections to Perry’s Gardasil mandate threaten to be overwhelmed by Bachmann’s demagoguery, tries offering Bachmann some advice on how to deal with the issue in the future.  Rush Limbaugh, on the other hand, concludes that while Bachmann had an otherwise strong showing in last night’s debate, she “jumped the shark” last night and today by repeatedly using an attack that Rush says deserves “shame.” 

First, Rush defends Perry to some extent on the issue, calling it a “giant distraction“:

If you want to get directly to the “jump the shark” quote and see Rush deliver it, click the image to watch:

If Bachmann’s listening, here is Michelle Malkin’s advice, in part:

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The Texas state legislature repealed the order (over Perry’s hysterical objections) before any girl was forcibly vaccinated.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close to using the same demagogic tactics Perry employed in obstinately defending the order even after it was repealed.

The main issue for Perry’s actions were the way he attempted to impose the mandate (by executive order) and the connections to Merck, both of which are fair game. As long as critics both inside and outside the race stick to those points, it’s an effective attack.  If the debate broadens to Gardasil itself as Bachmann tried to do, Perry may not be the only governor who will have to answer questions about Gardasil itself, however.  Pajamas Media’s Bryan Preston reaches into the Wayback machine and discovers the state of Alaska cheerfully accepting federal funds in order to distribute Gardasil for free during Sarah Palin’s tenure as Governor:

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.

Earlier this spring, the department had said it could provide free Gardasil only to Alaska girls who met certain eligibility requirements. Since then, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provided additional funds for Alaska to obtain more vaccine. This boost in federal aid will enable more Alaska girls to receive Gardasil. Distribution of this vaccine to providers is just beginning, so state health officials suggest calling providers before visiting local clinics to find out if the vaccine is available.

“We are thrilled that this unanticipated funding will allow us to provide the vaccine for all eligible girls,” said Laurel Wood, Alaska’s immunization program manager. “Although we have no guarantee that this funding will be available in future years, we hope to immunize as many Alaska girls as possible while we have this unique opportunity.”

The Boss Emeritus calls this a “really, really stupid attack on Palin” in an update to the linked post above, but I’m not entirely convinced. In the same post, Michelle argues:

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.

If the argument is that Gardasil was not ready for large-scale usage, then it’s not just about the mandate or the connections to Merck. The same argument against the mandate also apply in this case to taxpayer funding for massive vaccinations, do they not? And in this case, it’s the taxpayers who didn’t get to decide whether they wanted 12-year-old girls injected with a supposedly questionable vaccine at their expense, for a virus that isn’t easily spread through mandated proximity such as school attendance.

It’s not a problem on the same scale as Perry’s, but it’s not an unfair question to raise, either, if Gardasil itself is the problem, as it seems it is for some Perry critics.

Update: Worth noting — Perry actually has received nearly $30,000 from Merck over the past decade. Also worth noting — that doesn’t put Merck in the top 200 of Perry’s donors during that period. Seriously.

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And what if that “crap” is true?

steebo77 on September 14, 2011 at 2:37 AM

It’s not.
I disagree w/ Perry about the vaccine. You attack the issues-not the man. The girls were making it personal.
Palin’s line of attack on Greta speaks volumes about her LACK of character. Bachmann attacked in a way that didn’t surprise me-except her rabid anti vacc BS. I expected better from Palin. Why-I have no idea.
She’s not a saint-she’s a politician. Nothing more.

annoyinglittletwerp on September 14, 2011 at 3:57 AM

Malkin has a blind spot on this issue, which leads her to leap into the cloud:

The Boss Emeritus calls this a “really, really stupid attack on Palin” in an update to the linked post above, but I’m not entirely convinced. In the same post, Michelle argues:

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.

Sorry, that’s just silly. Once the drug is approved for use – not trial use – there is no reason NOT to use it. I don’t know what she considers “limited” data but the results were in and spectacular. The ratio of effectiveness to side effect is almost immeasurable because there are only mild local side effects noted and it is virtually 100% effective in immunizing against the targeted viruses. Not only is that remarkable for a vaccine, but for any drug.

I don’t give a rat’s patootie what “some have said” – that’s a liar’s rhetorical device which Obama prefers. Anecdote is not the singular of data. Instead of parroting unsubstantiated and anonymous rumors of side effects, she could just be honest about it. There is plenty of legitimate criticism of Perry’s action and policy, but there is no evidence of serious side effects from Gardisil.

Adjoran on September 14, 2011 at 3:58 AM

She’s not a saint-she’s a politician. Nothing more.

annoyinglittletwerp on September 14, 2011 at 3:57 AM

Welcome to the real world…

Bradky on September 14, 2011 at 6:09 AM

She’s not a saint-she’s a politician. Nothing more.

annoyinglittletwerp on September 14, 2011 at 3:57 AM

That would make her equivalent to Obama. Now who’s making it personal? Retract your claws, kitten. You’ll damage the good sofa.

Extrafishy on September 14, 2011 at 6:48 AM

annoyinglittletwerp on September 14, 2011 at 3:57 AM

A perry supporter saying someone has lack of character has lost all sense of reality.

wheelgun on September 14, 2011 at 7:00 AM

Its obvious that both Rush and Hannity are eager and ready to begin carrying Rick Perry’s water just as they did for GW Bush. And it looks like Ed Morrisey also has a bucket in his hand with RP written on the outside of it…. Darvin Dowdy

Darvin Dowdy on September 14, 2011 at 7:20 AM

Its obvious that both Rush and Hannity are eager and ready to begin carrying Rick Perry’s water just as they did for GW Bush. And it looks like Ed Morrisey also has a bucket in his hand with RP written on the outside of it…. Darvin Dowdy

Darvin Dowdy on September 14, 2011 at 7:20 AM

Hardly, those are some pretty manners you have, insulting your host Mr Morrisey. Obviously you haven’t been raised right.

Dr Evil on September 14, 2011 at 7:47 AM

It’s not.

annoyinglittletwerp on September 14, 2011 at 3:57 AM

How can you say that with certitude?

steebo77 on September 14, 2011 at 9:19 AM

In February 2007, “the Associated Press reported that Texas Governor Rick Perry, who had just required HPV vaccinations for all girls entering sixth grade, had accepted $5,000 from Merck’s political action committee the same day that Perry’s chief of staff met with key aides about the vaccine.”

The AP reported this back in 2007, and Rick Perry stated the same thing at the CNN TEA party debates.

Dr Evil on September 14, 2011 at 9:26 AM

But that was the clear inference from Bachman and Palin. Quid pro quo. Corruption. Dirty politics. Unfounded and uncalled for. Shame.

Elisa on September 13, 2011 at 11:31 PM

If Palin’s the nominee-I prefered Palin over MB-I was going to actively campaign for her. Not anymore. That crap she said on Greta has cost her with me. She’ll get my vote(Duh!) but that’s ALL she’ll get from me. If she runs in the primary I will actively campaign against her.
Maybe we could start a petition campaign to pressure Jindal into running.
You with me?
*sigh*

annoyinglittletwerp on September 14, 2011 at 1:41 AM

Jindal as President. I think I’m getting the vapors. lol

If only. Maybe one day. But how would I choose between Jindal and Rubio in the future?

I know how you feel. But I know I would put Palin’s bumper sticker on my car (and risk it being scratched here in NJ) anyway.

But you are right. After that interview with Greta, my heart won’t be in it and I see her differently. Also when she wouldn’t praise Cain enough in that interview.

Elisa on September 14, 2011 at 10:08 AM

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.

Malkin is correct. Bachmann didn’t need to expand her argumnet beyond parental rights. I have seen a few speeches where Bachman went steroid when she didnt have to

However, Perry jumped the shark in my pond with his lame explanation of in state tuition for illegals – that you had a choice of educating them or having them on the dole, We have 8 million unemployed citizens, many wishing they could be on the dole. Does perry believe the public buys that in-state tuition keeps illegals off the dole?

Bachmann might believe what she said, but I do not believe Perry was giving an honest answer, not his answer about the fence not being buildable near a river

Of the two, Perry was fudging for sure

entagor on September 14, 2011 at 6:37 PM

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