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With HPV Vaccine Rumors, Michele Bachmann Is The New Joe McCarthy

Joe McCarthy knew how to rile up the base. He knew his political hot buttons. He knew how to stoke fear and create a movement. He knew how to build a following by ratcheting up the rhetoric, the facts be damned.

Sadly, Rep. Michele Bachmann has followed in his mold: questioning the  patriotism of members of Congress, fanning the flames of hatred of gays  and lesbians and, now, attacking the vaccine to prevent cervical cancer.

This  HPV political maneuver may be her last. This should be her “have you no  sense of decency” moment, just as the Army-McCarthy hearing was in the  1950s.

Somehow, the anti-vaccine movement has gained steam in the United  States. Rumors that traditional vaccines caused autism began to spread.  They were disproved but not before many parents declined to vaccinate  their children.

A Science Times article in the New York Times (“Remark on  Vaccine Could Ripple for Years”) points to a three to four year drop in  vaccination rates after such publicity. Diseases such as measles and  whooping cough, supposedly under control, have seen outbreaks. According  to the Times, “measles cases in the United States reached a 15-year high last spring. ”

The  HPV virus is, unfortunately, far too common. More than 25 percent of  women 14 to 49 have been infected, 44 percent in the 20 to 24 age range.  Not only can HPV cause cervical cancer but it can cause other cancers  as well.

Last year only 32 percent of teenage girls had been given the vaccine.

If Michele Bachmann’s scare tactics prove true to form, there will be  a drop in the number of girls and women protected. By putting out false  information, by repeating the statement of someone at the debate that  the vaccine caused mental retardation, she set back the effort to save  women’s lives. Hardly a pro-life position.

In fact, the vaccine can prevent unnecessary surgery for several  hundred thousand women a year and even allow women to successfully carry  a pregnancy to term.

Over 35 million doses have been distributed without any serious side  effects. Thank goodness doctors and clinics and reputable research  organizations moved quickly to take on Michele Bachmann.

But,  make no mistake, she even stayed on the issue in Thursday’s debate. This  woman won’t quit, no matter the facts or the implications of her  actions.

She sees a political opening and she takes it, she sees a chance to  rile the base and she seizes it, she sees a good sound bite and off she  goes.

If, in fact, the experts are correct and this will set back  vaccinations for years, Bachmann will need to do more than apologize for  her McCarthy-like tactics. As he ruined innocent lives, she may  responsible for doing the same. She will have to look herself in the  mirror and know that her actions led to more women losing their lives.

By: Peter Fenn, U. S. News and World Report, September 23, 2011

September 24, 2011 Posted by | Congress, Conservatives, GOP, Health Care, Ideologues, Ideology, Politics, Republicans, Right Wing, Teaparty | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Michele Bachmann: ‘Anti-Vaccine Wingnut’?

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) earned glowing reviews for her performance in Monday’s CNN/Tea Party presidential debate. Her perceived finest moment: Hammering Texas Gov. Rick Perry over his (quickly  overruled) 2007 executive order mandating that “innocent little  12-year-old girls” in Texas get vaccinated against the sexually transmitted infection HPV. Bachmann didn’t fare as well, however, in her  post-debate media blitz, ill-advisedly repeating the cautionary tale of a mother who claimed her daughter “suffered from  mental retardation” because of the HPV vaccine. Has Bachmann “jumped the shark” (as Rush Limbaugh suggests) by attacking vaccines instead of just Perry?

Bachmann is sabotaging herself: Bachmann’s odd assertion sounds a lot like the “thoroughly debunked” claim that childhood vaccines cause autism, says Doug Mataconis at Outside the Beltway. And as with the autism “nonsense,” there is no evidence that the HPV vaccine has ever caused anything like “mental retardation.” Bachmann really blew it here, quickly fleeing the debate’s winner’s circle for the fringe camp of “anti-vaccine wingnuts like Jenny McCarthy.”

This is just Bachmann being Bachmann: “News flash: Vaccine luddism is rather widespread,” says Dave Weigel at Slate. And the fact that it’s Bachmann who’s tapped into it is “totally unsurprising,” given her penchant for “endorsing or ‘just asking questions’ about dark theories that she’s overheard.” Really, such claims are just par for the course with Bachmann.

Whatever her reasons, this will cost Bachmann: “I liked Michele Bachmann. A lot,” says Lori Ziganto at RedState. That ends now. I don’t care if she’s “actually cuckoo pants or if she’s just lying and using children and the fears of their parents to score political points,” but this “tall tale” about a 12-year-old absurdly “catching” mental retardation — something you’re born with — tells me all I need to know: Bachmann’s “not very bright” and she’s a “Jenny McCarthyist.” Let’s not forget: “Vaccinations save lives.”

By: The Week, Opinion Brief, September 14, 2011

September 15, 2011 Posted by | Conservatives, Elections, GOP, Health Care, Ideologues, Ideology, Media, Politics, Public Health, Republicans, Right Wing, Tea Party, Voters | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


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