Earlier this week on TRMS, Rachel Maddow did a segment on how a few Republican politicians have been caught catering to the anti-science anti-vaccination position. Chris Christie and Rand Paul were the main offenders of this piece, but Rachel also drew a parallel between their anti-vax attitude and Michelle Bachmann’s 2012 post-Republican debate debacle in which MB shared an anecdote about a woman who said that her daughter developed mental retardation after getting the HPV vaccine. She got smacked down by everyone for that – even Rush Limbaugh! If you’re a right week nut and you can’t even get Rush Limbaugh on board, then maybe you should rethink your
Why are some Republican presidential hopefuls dancing around the topic of vaccination science right now? Why with pertussis – and now a freaking measles resurgence – are they mixing in small government rhetoric and getting mealy-mouthed about whether they think parents should vaccinate their children? I’m not saying liberals and Democrats aren’t guilty of holding anti-science viewpoints (we know that many in the anti-vax crowd are likely to be liberal Democrats). But I think some Republican politicians are trying to take advantage of anti-vax and anti-science viewpoints for a different reason.
I think it’s because they have no confidence in the modern Republican voter. They think that Republican voters are big, whiny babies who only go to the polls to hate-vote so that they can lash out with a “You can’t tell me what to do!” attitude. Hey – it worked for the Affordable Care Act (Obama can’t tell ME that I have to get health insurance!). It worked for climate change denialism (You can’t tell ME how to use energy!). It continues to work for even the slightest bit of gun control legislation that’s introduced (You can’t tell ME that I can’t have guns whenever and however I want them!). Why not vaccines? (You can’t tell ME to vaccinate my kids!) I mean, just what does the government think they’re doing by taking a stance on a subject when individual citizens might want to do something different even if it’s a huge public health concern!? Science be damned! Facts be damned!
So yeah, thank you select Republican politicians for showing the world that you’re willing to sacrifice the health and lives of children in order to pander to your anti-government base. That’s awesome. Here’s why pushing the false equivalence of arguing against vaccines is a shit deal: Over 100 reported cases of measles in the US right now. Over 100. Over 100 cases of a disease that was declared eliminated from the US in 2000. Jerks. Cowards.
This craptastic non-issue is trying to becoming an issue, the next pillar in the “individual rights” platform. Non-existent god damn you to non-existent hell, politics.
But really, for all of my ire, I don’t think it will go too far – even Marco Rubio, John Boehner and Bobby Jindal are supporting vaccination. Measles may be one of the few times since 2008 that we have strong bipartisan support on an “issue.” For those few dodos who are trying to raise votes through fear mongering – please let voters be smarter than some of their elected officials think they are. Any politician (Republican, Democrat or Independent) who says vaccines are up for debate or cause illness should be laughed out of political races and/or office.