12-Year-Old Girls Could End Rick Perry’s Presidential Campaign

I’ve never really seen Rick Perry as a GOP presidential front-runner, even though many other pundits say he’s got it in the bag.  Tea partiers love him as their flavor of the moment, but he’s got so much baggage that even his most rabid supporters will eventually go running back to Michele Bachmann or Ron Paul. Or whoever else is still waiting in the wings to carry the uber-conservative banner (Chris Christie? Jeb Bush? Oscar the Grouch?)

You see, Rick Perry used to be a Democrat — a little secret he’s been trying to keep from voters like the ones who cheered loudly at the Reagan Library GOP debate as he touted the 234 executions he’s overseen as governor.  Another secret he’d rather you not know about is that he likes to reward political donors a little too well, and there’s plenty of evidence of donors getting special treatment from Perry’s office.  Turns out Sarah Palin may be onto something with her line about “crony capitalism.”

But the unexpected issue that could end Perry’s campaign as quickly as it started is tween girls.

Well, not the girls themselves, but his unilateral decision as Texas Governor to mandate that pre-teen girls in his state receive the three-shot vaccine series for human papilloma virus (HPV).  That’s the virus that causes cervical cancer.  By receiving the vaccinations, girls are protected from getting certain types of cervical cancer.   That’s right — a shot that will prevent cancer.  That’s a good thing, right?  Perry must have embraced his inner humanitarian to make sure that reducing cancer in his state didn’t get mucked up in the machinery of the Texas legislature, so he just issued an executive order which allows him to be the ‘I’m going to punch cancer in the face‘ candidate.

Or not.

It turns out that he’s stepped into some crony capitalism doo-doo mixed up with some politically conservative “no sex shots for our daughters” ideology.  Perry took some serious heat from Michelle Bachmann at the CNN/Tea Party debate not only for the fact that the HPV vaccine manufacturer has made many political contributions that help Perry both directly and indirectly, but Perry’s former chief of staff is now a lobbyist for the big pharma company that makes one of the major cervical cancer vaccines.  Coincidence?

Michele Bachmann pounced on this somewhat unusual political opportunity to attack Perry, using the cervical cancer vaccine issue to make her look like the champion of American children to Perry’s political backscratching.  But she also painted of picture of him as a somewhat unsavory character, suggesting that he’d put children’s health at risk just to make a major donor happy:

“[Forcing] little 12-year-old girls … to have a government injection through an executive order is just flat-out wrong.  … The question is, is it about life, or was it about millions of dollars and potentially billions for a drug company?”

While Bachmann has a point about the connection between Perry’s decision and connections to the drug manufacturer, she’s gone out on the deep end with claims of mental retardation side effects from the drug, which is most commonly referred to by one of its brand names, Gardasil.  While there have been anecdotal reports of side-effects, as there often are with other vaccines, most doctors consider it safe.  So if Bachmann is going to make any political hay out of Rick Perry’s actions surrounding the HPV vaccine, she might want to be careful with her conspiracy theories — because that will just make people start using that crazy-eyed photo of her again.

I have a feeling that no one on Perry’s staff or campaign team saw this coming as the monkey wrench that could take him out of the presidential race.  If it ends up having that potential, expect Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman to jump on that bandwagon.

Image by Joanne Bamberger. All rights reserved.

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9 Responses to “12-Year-Old Girls Could End Rick Perry’s Presidential Campaign”

  1. Angie [A Whole Lot of Nothing] Says:

    When they go after each other in the political realm, I just wish they’d at least get their facts correct when making an argument.

  2. Foggy Dew Says:

    I wonder how Michelle feels about the other dozen or so “government injections” everybody is required to get before they go to school? The simple truth is that vaccines – MMR, DPT, Hep A & B, polio and flu – save lives.

    It’s idiots like Bachman and her ilk scaring people into not immunizing their children who are the danger. Thankfully there’s a solution to this problem, it’s called natural selection.

  3. Michael Says:

    Michelle Bachmann – way out of line. I don’t love Perry, but let’s get the facts straight. The mandate did not force anyone to get the vaccinations. It required that doctors inform and advise tweens to get the vaccination – parents and their daughters had the choice to opt out.

    Furthermore it is incredibly upsetting to see politicians unduly stir up more ‘vaccination’ fear. Mental retardation as a side effect – I don’t think so. Michelle Bachmann has gotten the facts wrong so many times I can’t understand how she is a national player.

  4. PunditMom Says:

    So do you think she got the facts wrong or purposely misrepresented for political gain?

  5. Emily Says:

    It doesn’t sit well with me that the root of Perry’s interest in protecting girls and women from cervical cancer likely lies in his ties to pharmaceutical companies, nor do I enjoy that Bachmann would attack this issue with anti-vaccination propaganda. However it does feel refreshingly edgy that anyone in the Republican party is having a debate about female reproductive health that is abortion-related.

  6. CKZ Says:

    Some may find it refreshing that the Republican party is having a debate about female reproductive health, but when that debate revolves around putting our children at greater risk for all kinds of diseases because mis-informed Michelle Bachmann thinks that all women should be sitting at home with their legs crossed until their husbands demand to have sex with them, I would prefer that they leave it alone! All of these goons are a danger to our society, whether they have a For Sale sign on their state houses or are spreading crackpot rumors and outright lies. I for one hope that there are a million more debates between these fools so that the American people can continue to see how moronic and dangerous they really are.

  7. Debbie Owensby Moore Says:

    As a Texan, it brings me great pleasure to see all of Perry’s bad political decisions finally scrutinized. Yesterday, he justified the vaccine decision as stating he was always on the side of pro-life. Of course a record number of executions aside. As the Texas Democratic ads says, be forewarned – if you think George Bush was bad, you haven’t seen anything yet. Needless to say, I am very scared for the country if Perry becomes the Republican nominee.

  8. Michael Says:

    It’s hard to say if Bachmann purposefully gets things wrong for political gain or if she is just incredibly dumb. It could be a combination of both.

    Checkout the link for ridiculous Bachmann quotes:

  9. Douglas Dauntless Says:

    Perry did what Big Government does, or Socialist Governments do and Democrat Communist in this Country. They take over your life and make decisions for you. Freedom of choice. Ask the people first. So Perry as far as I am concerned is a Progressive Democrat/ Rrepublican like all the rest of Federal Government. Not for the Constitution of the United States of America and not for the People. He is for Illagel Mexicans, get every thing free and the tax payers pay for it. But no white male can get the time of day.

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