Dueling Ricks

by Shannen W. Coffin

Rick Santorum scores the biggest body blow on Perry on the issue of forced immunization for cervical cancer.  Santorum points out that Perry’s admission of error is limited to process — that he should have gone to the legislature, rather than go it alone through executive order.  Santorum argues forcefully that Perry’s mistake was one of substance — of overriding parental decision-making and interfering with the liberty interests of 12 year old girls and their parents.  It is “government run amok.”  This may not be the biggest issue facing Perry, but it does raise questions about his views on the role of government in its relationship with the individual — a fundamental challenge to his claim of conservatism.   Santorum is in his comfort zone when talking about these issues and is a forceful defender of individual liberty.  Perry was very uncomfortable in responding, and failed to deal with Santorum’s challenge.

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