Critical Condition

What Should Rick Perry Say About Gardasil?

The Republican presidential primaries have been temporarily hijacked by a single incident in Rick Perry’s decade-plus tenure as governor of Texas. Despite Michele Bachmann’s ludicrous claim that Gardasil causes mental retardation, let’s recall that not one single schoolgirl was vaccinated by the offensive executive order: The legislature overturned it long before the school year began.

Furthermore, the executive order did not comprise a mandate. Like today’s Governor Perry, I agree that the vaccination should have required parental opting in, not parental opting out to avoid it. Obamacare, on the other hand, has a mandate to buy government-dictated health insurance: If it withstands legal challenges, you will not be able to turn it down by getting a note from your parents!

So what else can Governor Perry say about Gardasil?

First, he need not retreat from his position that Gardasil is good medicine. As Henry I. Miller writes, it has an outstanding reward/risk ratio.  However, conservatives know that the greater threat in a democracy comes from politicians who intend to do good things to us, rather than those who intend to do bad things to us.

So, he needs to recant the executive order in toto, not just the opting-out provision. HPV may be described as an “epidemic” but it is not communicable in normal social situations. There was no emergency — hurricane, flood, or swine flu — that demanded immediate action. If Governor Perry really thought that the vaccinations would have been good policy, he should have found a sponsor in the legislature and had it debated and voted on there. He should tell us that the blow-back has reminded him of the importance of separation of powers in our democracy.

Finally, he should remind us (once again) of the Tenth Amendment. While Texas might have the power to implement such a policy, he should declare that he sees no such power delegated to any branch of the federal government. Thus, it is not a relevant topic for his presidential campaign.

 

Most Popular

Culture

‘Epstein Didn’t Kill Himself’

It was just one more segment to fill out the hour, and thereby fill the long 24 hours of Saturday’s cable news on November 2. Or so it seemed. Navy SEAL Mike Ritland was on the Fox News program Watters World to talk to Jesse Watters about trained German shepherds like the one used in the raid that found ... Read More
U.S.

A Defining Statement of Modern Conservatism

The greatest documents in American history never lose their ability to astonish. They deserve, and repay, careful study, and inevitably have contemporary resonances no matter how long ago they were written or uttered. There’s no doubt that Ronald Reagan’s “A Time for Choosing” belongs in the top ranks ... Read More
White House

The Russian Conspiracy That Won’t Die

The Mueller report accomplished nothing. Whether you thought that the two-year, $32 million investigation was warranted or not, the report promised to establish a factual record that both sides could accept, especially on the explosive charge that Donald Trump had conspired with the Russians to win the ... Read More
White House

Impeachment Theater of Trolls

As a boy, I used to watch a television show with a weekly gag titled “MasterJoke Theatre.” A pompous egghead smoked a pipe in a leather-bound chair in a richly appointed library, told a joke, and got a pie in the face for his trouble. What the Democrats launched on the Hill this week is their own variant, ... Read More