Search This Blog

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Bachmann Jumps Shark, Gets Bitten

At Politico, James Hohmann nicely sums up reactions to Bachmann's vaccine comments:
CONSERVATIVES TURN ON BACHMANN-The left already loathes Bachmann, so you can discount their outrage [evident in today's Gail Collins column:]. The reason this gaffe has legs is that it seems to be the last straw for heretofore friendly conservative bloggers. Three examples:

Jonathan Adler at The Volokh Conspiracy: "Even if Gov. Perry was wrong to order the vaccinations, there's absolutely no basis for suggesting the vaccine is a threat to children."

Steven Hayward on Power Line: "Up to now I've thought Michele Bachman was the most impressive performer in the GOP field, going toe-to-toe with the 'big boys' in the field... But her embrace of the wacko idea that the vaccine is dangerous or causes autism, mental retardation, or other risks is simply irresponsible... it has shifted the focus from Perry's use of power to Bachmann's scientific credibility-a lose-lose for everyone."

Steve Haff at RedState: "In the past, I have written favorably about Michele Bachmann... but now I've heard enough. There were several ways she could have attacked Rick Perry on the Gardasil Issue without resorting to snake oil worthy of a John Edwards pick-up line."
As of Thursday night, she was slightly changing her approach, as The San Francisco Chronicle reports:

On the HPV vaccine, Bachmann responded to questions about whether she regretted repeating a supporter's unsubstantiated claim that her daughter suffered mental retardation after being administered the drug. Leading pediatric, bioethical and medical groups have strongly refuted the notion, and Bachmann's campaign has since been forced to address criticism that the candidate was guilty of overreaching.

On Thursday, Bachmann maintained she was making no claims regarding the drug this week, and that she was merely trying to underscore "an abuse of power" by Texas Gov. Rick Perry in mandating the vaccine for girls in his state.

"I didn't make any statements that would indicate I'm a doctor, I'm a scientist, or making any conclusions about the drug one way or the other," she said, adding she was merely relating the concerns of a woman who was "very distraught" and who supported her view that Perry's actions were wrong.

Asked specifically if she would apologize for the HPV comments, Bachmann said, "I'm not going to answer that question."