Michelle Malkin on Perry, Gardasil , and a “Really, Really Stupid Attack on Palin”

by Whitney Pitcher

Some members of the conservative blogosphere have begun to grasp at bendy straws when it comes to Governor Palin’s spot on claims regarding Governor Perry’s crony capitalism and his horribly misplaced Gardasil vaccine mandate. One such blogger is noted Perry supporter, Bryan Preston. Michelle Malkin takes these strawmen builders to task for what she  calls a “really, really, stupid attack on Palin.” Enjoy!:

Former Hot Air alum and former Texas state GOP communications director Bryan Preston, now at Pajamas Media, notes that during the tenure of Sarah Palin (who rightly criticized the appearance of crony capitalism in the Perry/Gardasil debacle last night), Alaska took federal funds to expand access to Gardasil:

( Juneau, Alaska) ? 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.

Preston writes:

This isn’t quite the same thing as mandating (and being overturned on, so it didn’t actually happen) a vaccination, but taking federal funds for Gardasil doesn’t quite square with Palin’s hot shots at Perry on Fox last night. I admire Sarah Palin quite a bit (and Bachmann too), but aligning herself with Bachmann’s precious bodily fluids gambit is a huge mistake on her part. Both of them are flaming their own credibility over an issue that, in the grand view of things, ought not to matter much. It hasn’t mattered much to some of the most conservative voters in America, over three gubernatorial elections running now. Both Palin and Bachmann are coming off as ill informed, unreasonable and desperate.

It “isn’t quite the same thing as mandating.”

Gee, no. Ya think?

It’s a freakingly obvious night and day difference — Perry’s MANDATE on families and the MANDATE on insurers going over the heads of the state legislature versus the Palin administration’s decision to accept federal subsidies to increase access to those who choose to take it. (Note: Gardasil is not and never has been mandated in the state of Alaska.)

Preston also objects to indirect costs imposed by the Palin administration’s program on taxpayers outside the state.

Newsflash: The Perry executive order would have ordered Texas health officials to use federal Medicaid funding to cover the vaccine for young women — a cost that would have been born by millions of taxpayers outside Texas.

As for the gobsmackingly ridiculous claim that this revelation about Palin makes her guilty of the crony capitalism Perry is marinated in, another flashback:

Pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co., responding to pressure from parents, pro-family organizations, and medical groups, announced on February 20 that it was immediately suspending its lobbying campaign to persuade state legislatures to mandate that adolescent girls receive the company’s vaccine against human papillomavirus (HPV)-related cervical cancer as a requirement for school attendance.

A February 2 executive order by Texas Governor Rick Perry that made Texas the first state to require that schoolgirls as young as 11 get vaccinated with a three-dose regimen of Merck’s Gardasil before entering sixth grade had provoked a storm of outrage from pro-family groups.

A January 31 AP report that tied Merck & Co. to Women in Government, an advocacy group made up of female state legislators around the country, added fuel to the fire by revealing a blatant conflict of interest. The report observed that a top official from Merck’s vaccine division sits on Women in Government’s business council, and members of Women in Government have introduced many of the bills around the country that would mandate compulsory Gardasil vaccinations. Merck had also admitted donating an undisclosed amount of money to lobbyists promoting such legislation.

A follow-up report by AP’s Liz Austin Peterson on February 21 noted that Governor Perry’s chief of staff, Deirdre Delisi, met with Perry’s budget director and three members of his office for an “HPV Vaccine for Children Briefing” on October 16, the same day that Merck’s political action committee donated $5,000 to Perry’s campaign.

A spokesman for the governor, Robert Black, described the timing of the meeting and the Merck donation as a coincidence, but Cathie Adams, president of the Texas Eagle Forum, remains skeptical. “We have too many coincidences,” said Adams. “I think that the voters of Texas would find that very hard to swallow.”

Now, read this from the National Institute for Money in State Politics:

Among gubernatorial candidates who received contributions from Merck, Perry was second only to former California Gov. Gray Davis, who received $28,000.

Since the 2000 election cycle, the drug company has contributed $2.46 million to state-level candidates and party committees, doling their money out almost equally to both parties.

Democratic committees received just over $1 million and Republicans $1.4 million. Individuals employed by Merck gave an additional $2.5 million to state-level politics. Merck has helped finance races in forty states since the 2000 election cycle, when the Institute began collecting contribution data in all 50 states. Merck has focused intently on its home base, New Jersey, as well as giving in Florida, California and Pennsylvania. Combined, these four states have received more than $1 million from Merck, or 44 percent of the company’s total
contributions.

…At $360 for the three-shot Gardisal regimen, Merck could generate billions in sales if it is successful in its efforts to persuade the states to require the use of the vaccine.

MERCK CONTRIBUTIONS TO STATE POLITICS, 2000-2006
CYCLE TOTAL
2000 $550,894
2002 $764,126
2004 $641,082
2006* $504,250
TOTAL $2,460,352
* 2006 data collection is ongoing; totals may increase.

MERCK CONTRIBUTIONS BY STATE, 2000-2006*
STATE AMOUNT
New Jersey $317,600
Florida $256,000
California $251,439
Pennsylvania $249,775
Texas $158,143
Virginia $135,750
New York $118,025
Illinois $96,925
Ohio $93,570
Georgia $85,807
Missouri $57,500
West Virginia $52,250
North Carolina $48,000
Washington $47,850
Kansas $47,753
Arkansas $44,390
Louisiana $40,450
Kentucky $40,225
Alabama $36,000
Mississippi $31,700
New Mexico $31,300
Nevada $27,750
Oregon $27,500
Oklahoma $25,600
South Carolina $24,150
Utah $21,250
Indiana $17,000
Idaho $16,150
Maryland $13,650
Iowa $8,550
South Dakota $8,200
Colorado $8,100
Connecticut $7,250
Vermont $6,100
North Dakota $3,250
Nebraska $2,550
Delaware $1,350
New Hampshire $800
Maine $600
Montana $100
TOTAL $2,460,352

Note: Alaska does not appear on this list. It was never a lobbying target for Merck. Nor did Palin have an ex-chief of staff lobbying for Merck or a staffer’s mother-in-law serving as a state director of an advocacy group bankrolled by Merck to push legislatures across the country to put forward bills mandating the Gardasil vaccine for preteen girls.

Moreover, Palin is on record in 2008 e-mails expressing her general opposition to certain vaccine mandates.

It’s a pathetic and ill-informed act of desperation to try and turn the crony capitalism charge on Palin, which is a telling measure of how effective her voice is on this topic — and why so many would rather silence her.

***

As a sidenote, Perry lowballed the amount of money he took from Merck. See here.

And a final point: A friend points out that Perry supporters sabotage their own defense of Perry. If Perry was simply “erring on the side of life” and would simply have pursued the policy of increasing access to Gardasil in a different way, then he most certainly would have no objection to what happened in Alaska — e.g., making the vaccine available to people who wanted it without mandating it by acccepting existing federal dollars.

Read Malkin’s whole piece here.


5 Comments

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5 responses to “Michelle Malkin on Perry, Gardasil , and a “Really, Really Stupid Attack on Palin”

  1. Republi.Chiqui

    The thought of junior high kids engaging in sex is unbelievable to me. I dislike Gardisil. But brow beating Perry on it is wearing thin. Most, if not all states have vaccine mandates. Perry said he went about it the wrong way, and it was a mistake.
    Until Sarah Palin bellies up to the bar and declares her candidacy, her comments hold little sway with many conservatives. She can talk crony capitalism all she wants, but her time in the spotlight has garnered her and her family some nice plums. You cannot bite the hand that feeds you without looking insincere. Many of us championed Palin as she ran for VP. But she is conducting herself in a way that alienates her from the very base she needs to support her run if she ever decides to. Was her appearance for Perry’s re-election sincere, or not?

    • Gary P

      You want some cheese to go with all that whine?

      It ain’t about the vaccine, it’s about the corruption that surrounds Rick Perry.

      It seems Sarah Palin has plenty of sway. Until she started talking about it reporters couldn’t even spell crony capitalism. Now you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting someone talking about it.

      Sarah’s entire career has been built on taking down corrupt politicians and she has changed the entire nation debate for the 2012 election.

      Us Texans are looking for our own Sarah Palin to take Rick Perry down as Governor and reform Texas’ out of control corruption.

  2. This is especially sweet coming from RinoAir’s Boss Emeritus.

  3. Pingback: Michelle Malkin on Perry, Gardasil , and a Really, Really Stupid | ALL Best News

  4. Pingback: Hey If National Enquirer Says It, It Must Be So! | Revolutionary Media

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