Michele Bachmann: Embracing Teh Lefty Anti-Vaccy Crazy?

Look, let’s start off by me noting I didn’t care for the way that Congresswoman Bachmann went after Governor Perry over Gardasil last night, frankly: I recognize that there’s a core issue there about choices for your kids, but the central issue is more complicated than either side wants to admit, and it’s heavily partisan-tinged at this point.  But put that aside.  This isn’t beanbag.  Forget it, Moe: it’s politics.  And, as Erick Erickson originally pointed out, it’s effective politics, too.

This (via @bdomenech*), on the other hand, is not politics, effective or otherwise. If the Congresswoman really believes this, it’s crazy-time.

And this time, Bachmann added a bracing story that she said a woman told her in Florida overnight.

“I will tell you that I had a mother last night come up to me here in Tampa, Fla., after the debate. She told me that her little daughter took that vaccine, that injection, and she suffered from mental retardation thereafter,” Bachmann said.

She continued: “The mother was crying what she came up to me last night. I didn’t know who she was before the debate. This is the very real concern and people have to draw their own conclusions.”

Video here.  OK, Congresswoman Bachmann. Here’s my conclusion: the anti-vaccy people are nuts.  The side-effects of Gardasil are well known, and do not support a result of ‘mental retardation;’ and if this is merely a garbled version of the old anti-vaccy ‘vaccinations causes autism’ nonsense… well, that one has been taking some hammer hits, too.  Enough of them, in fact, that this entire issue is now firmly in the field of ‘kooky conspiracy theory:’ and, honestly?  As I’ve said before: if people aren’t vaccinating their kids because of said conspiracy theory, then I want them to stay far away from mine.

So the question becomes: are you one of those people, Congresswoman Bachmann?

Moe Lane (crosspost)

*Whose daily Transom you really should sign up for, by the way.



  • Gina says:

    Stay far away from yours? What, do you think people can catch autism or HPV like a common cold?

    • Moe_Lane says:

      Nah, I just don’t trust those idiots not to get their kids vaccinated for things like mumps and measles, either. So they can stay out of breathing range until my kids get all their shots and boosters, thanks.

  • Rob Crawford says:

    Vaccination is most effective if there are few, or no, potential carriers. Even those vaccinated don’t always “take”, so an unvaccinated person could infect those who WERE.
    So, yeah, if you’re scared of something George Washington asked the soldiers to do, stay away from the kids in my family.

  • Gina says:

    It takes an “idiot” not to want the government mandating a brand-new vaccine injected into their teenage daughter, when the president of the Texas Medical Association was questioning the decision? Um, okay . . .

    You’re the one that said this issue was complicated. So how exactly does the simplistic act of name-calling help clarify it?

  • DaveP. says:

    My problem isn’t the vaccine itself, it’s that Perry mandated it as an act of the executive… a very Obama-ish thing to do.
    If we were talking whooping cough or measles, something with lethality and the potential to become an epidemic, I would understand it- the faster you move the fewer body bags.
    But… genital warts?! Are you seriously telling me that Perry was afraid there’d be a massive, life-threatenting plague of genital warts?
    That’s the sort of thing you handle with a public-awareness campaign and a bill in the Statehouse, not an executive order making a legal mandate.

    “Obama-ish”? Everyone here- including the parents- would have flipped their lids if that EO had come from the White House.

    That being said… Bachman is running down the wrong road with her line of arguement. She could be making a very good case about Perry’s fondness for the powers of big government, but instead she’s running off into the fever swamps with a scientifically-unsupportable claim. That’s the sort of thing Democrats do.

    • Moe_Lane says:

      DaveP: the Gardasil thing in and of itself is a legitimate issue to bring up. As it happens, I think that it’s been made into a partisan stalking horse, and the pushback on it is already starting (for example, the situation of parental consent for Hepatitis B vaccinations in Minnesota)… but I came to this debate late, because I was hanging out with Pawlenty, and so I don’t have much to add to the discussion that’s new.

      But the issue here is being anti-vaccination itself. That I have views on, and one of them is: the Congresswoman doesn’t want to go there. 🙂

  • John says:

    Gina, I think the ‘idiot’ part refers to the OMG-vaccines-cause-retardation aspect, not the public health aspect. As ML says, it is a core issue of freedom of choice versus herd immunity, and it isn’t a slam dunk for vaccines without trampling on individual choice.

    Having said that, there is serious overlap between the OMG-vaccines-cause-retardation camp and the CO2-is-killing-Gaia camp, with the former ignoring Science and the latter lacking essential Scientific skepticism. The left could capsize a flatboat with all the random lurchings to extreme positions on either side.

  • […] RELATED: Well, if demagoguing Social Security wasn’t bad enough, Michele Bachmann may be torpedoing her own campaign by seeming to join the “Jenny McCarthy Anti-Vaccination Club for Kooks.” Even if if she’s only repeating misinformation she heard, it’s still bad. Her campaign needs to get this clarified, fast. See also Moe Lane. […]

  • Kay B. Day says:

    Bachmann did what she had to do politically, but her correlation between Gardasil and mental retardation is, as noted above, completely without substance.

    Furthermore, Perry included an opt-out clause, and I believe that is key. That opt-out does not excuse the lack of wisdom in issuing an executive order for such a matter. I wrote about Gardasil at length and we refused the vaccine for my then 14-year-old daughter after talking to her at length.

    What media, Bachmann and others overlook is the context. There was a huge push by activist groups and Big Pharma to accept this vaccine because it does confer some protection against certain types of cancer. In Perry’s state, there is a significant at-risk population for that cancer.

    It should also be noted that what he did as governor would not fit with his policy as president. It is one thing to push for a vaccine at the state level. Perry has repeatedly endorsed states’ rights, so as a national issue, Gardasil is a non-issue except on the manner Perry handled it in.

    After I wrote columns expressing concerns about lack of testing in children (there is little testing of anything done in children for obvious reasons), I received hate mail and angry comments from people accusing me of putting my daughter’s life at risk.

    I agree that Bachmann should have stopped with the points she scored in the debate. The last thing we need are parents who because of scare tactics pass up tried and true vaccines for their children.

  • John says:

    Those of us with boys would appreciate it if those of you with daughters would be more open with your decision to let your daughters go without the vaccine. Even though the AAP now recommends it for boys (in part because the herd immunity effect), the risks to males from HPV are so low that it isn’t worth the cost and the very, very slight risk if girls aren’t going to join in for herd immunity protection. We are doing it basically for your daughters, but if you don’t care, then why should we?

  • Reg says:

    Bachman’s a demagogue and should be consigned to the nut bin with R.P. She shouldn’t be in the race. She almost made a good critique on Perry, but blew it by her crazy claims about retardation.

    On HepB and HPV, I hear different things about transmitability, so it’s hard to discern the good science from the kookery. We tried to avoid early HepB vaccines (due to egg allergies and it being completely unnecessary for kids) but MN makes it such a royal pain, we gave in. Resented it too. It is a liberty issue.

    “Gardasil thing in and of itself is a legitimate issue to bring up”

    Good on you and Erickson for saying that, (as you must, as Jonah Goldberg, Andy McCarthy, Michelle Malkin, and other mainstream conservatives agree) but your Redstate compatriots seem to disagree, judging by the 10+ frontpage articles trying to destroy any distinction between legitimate and crazy vaccine views. (and my being banned (!) for raising the issue).

    • Moe_Lane says:

      I thought the name sounded familiar. And, frankly, there’s very little daylight between me and my ‘RedState colleagues’ on this topic, and a hell of a lot between me/Erick and, say, Michelle Malkin.

      But I distinguish between behavior over there and behavior over here, so enjoy the site and don’t push your luck.

  • Kay B. Day says:

    For those most at-risk from cancer via certain HPV strains, take a look at information posted by NIH or CDC. The numbers are probably less than those for Hep. I just view this as a personal decision best made by the individual and the parents.

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