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Notes on the CNN/Tea Party Express GOP debate: Night of the Texas two-step-stumble

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By Michelle Malkin  •  September 12, 2011 10:52 PM

If you subscribe to my Twitter feed, you’ve already seen all my fast and furious live-tweeting of tonight’s GOP debate in Tampa.

Go here and scroll down for the whole tweet-fest.

Speaking of Fast and Furious, it was once again skipped as a debate question — as were any major Obama scandals (Solyndra, Interior Department corruption, DOJ corruption).

Rick Perry lost big-time as he tried to do the Texas two-step on the Gardasil executive order and earned a wave of boos from the grass-roots Tea Party crowd on the Texas DREAM Act illegal alien student bailout.

Michele Bachmann, Ron Paul, and Rick Santorum effectively refuted Perry’s “err on the side of life” cop-out and offered powerful defense of parental sovereignty. Bachmann also astutely pointed out the Merck conflict of interest and Santorum emphasized the difference between vaccines for traditional communicable diseases vs. HPV. Watch the exchange here. Perry’s press team immediately sent out a rehashed press release “setting the record straight” within minutes of the exchange, prompting debate watchers to jibe that that’s what the debates are for.

When I raised the issue a month ago, I was dismissed as “fringe.”

Judging from the overwhelming negative response to Perry on this issue from the Tea Party crowd, the “fringe” is mainstream Tea Party.

I repeat:

Perry supporters continue to invoke the “opt out” clause as a defense of the Texas measure. But undergirding the Perry decree is the anti-free market belief that it is necessary and right to force private insurance companies to pay for middle-school-age children’s Gardasil injections. Under Texas law, health insurance plans must provide coverage for all mandated vaccinations. There is no “opt out” provision from this mandate. So if Perry’s EO had been implemented, every private insurance plan would have been required to pay for Gardasil vaccinations.

This is not merely a “social” issue. It goes to core fiscal and free-market principles. Forcing insurers to cover treatments is generally referred to by us limited government advocates as a, yes, mandate. Interfering with existing contracts between private companies and their clients is generally referred to by us fiscal conservatives as, yes, big government. These bottomless benefits mandates drive up the cost of health insurance and contribute to the problem of the uninsured (be sure to click that link and check out page 3, which shows that Texas has the 4th highest number of mandated benefits laws in the country). Texas, perhaps not coincidentally, also has the highest rate of uninsured in the country.

Those of us who have opposed Obamacare from day one have argued that policymakers should be trying to reduce the cost of health insurance, not increase costs by mandating coverage of every A-to-Z treatment and procedure.

I’ve already addressed the critical distinction between traditional school-age vaccines for communicable diseases such as polio and measles versus behavioral/lifestyle immunizations for sexually-transmitted diseases such as HPV and Hepatitis B. They are simply not comparable.

As a follow-up to debate over my recent Perry/Gardasil post, I’ll add a few more points.

My intellect, integrity, political motives, and sanity have all been questioned as a result of my long-held opinions on the need for vigilant scrutiny and skepticism of top-down vaccine initiatives sponsored by both Republicans and Democrats. I’ve been called “anti-vaccine” despite the fact that my kids are up to date on their plethora of vaccines with the exception of Gardasil, which I have refused for my 11-year-old daughter for now. Vaccine experts themselves admit the wear-off time for Gardasil is uncertain; some estimate it might be 10 years. Why not wait then until my daughter’s 15 or 16 instead of 11?

Unlike the old days (which some of my critics who may not have children seem to still be operating under), the current CDC vaccine schedule is clogged with more than a dozen different vaccines, many of which must be taken several times during the course of childhood. The long-term synergistic effects of all of these vaccines are unknown; as the vaccine pipeline fills up, concerns about those synergistic effects should give parents even more pause.

…Gardasil mandate-promoters glibly point to “opt out” provisions with a naivete or willful blindness toward the hostility conscientious objectors face in the government-run health care and education systems. Just ask Catholic medical providers in the Age of Obama how it’s working out for them.

I have been a staunch defender of the pharma industry against anti-capitalist attacks from the left and right. But I have refused to be coerced or bullied into anything regarding my kids’ health– especially when it comes to new behavioral/lifestyle vaccines. I cannot ignore lobbyists and politicians who provide incomplete/incorrect information and obfuscations about the duration of vaccine protection. And whether the mandate-pusher has an “R” or “D” by his or her name, his or her crony ties to Big Pharma lobbyists and donors are and will be fair game for scrutiny and exposure.

If this makes me “fringe,” I’ll wear it proudly.

If more taxpayers and patients were as immune to Nanny State schemes, imagine how much healthier we’d all be.

Perry’s second major stumble came on the DREAM Act — which he defended as a “states’ right” issue. Granting in-state tuition to illegal alien students incentivizes yet more illegal immigration at taxpayer expense. And mainstream Tea Party voters just ain’t buying it. Perry’s only saving grace was that he didn’t do as John McCain did and insult his critics as bigots.

Progress, I guess.

Oh, wait: Update. Never mind. I didn’t catch this earlier: Perry defended DREAM Act by saying the in-state tuition benefits should be awarded to illegal aliens “regardless of what their last name sounds like.” Perilously close to ethnic-baiting. Dumb move.

When he wasn’t sticking to economic issues, Ron Paul was singing from his worn “Blame America”/”Blame Israel” playbook.

Herman Cain was amiable, but stuck to his gimmicky 9-9-9 campaign line.

Jon Huntsman set off my auto-mute button every time he spoke.

Romney looked every bit the careful, calculating flip-flopper he was the last go-around and remains today.

Newt Gingrich plugged his books and websites, threw out some red meat, and prayed that the audience wouldn’t remember all his left-leaning, anti-Tea Party lurches over the last several years.

Bachmann’s strongest asset is her staunch, consistent opposition to TARP, Obamacare, and the debt-limit increase.

Questions for you, dear readers: Is that enough?

Did this debate make a difference?

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