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."
"Michele Bachmann an anti-vaccine wingnut?"
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.
"Bachmann asks: Can Gardisil make your kids retarded?"
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."
"Cuckoo pants, demagoguery, and Jenny McCarthyism"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- After Ferguson: Stop deferring to the cops
- Is it now OK to have sex with animals?
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- Ferguson riots were terrible — but this racist reaction was worse
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- Diagnosing the Home Alone burglars' injuries: A professional weighs in
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- 10 things you need to know today: November 27, 2014
- In Ferguson, Michael Brown lost his life — and America's police lost the benefit of the doubt
Subscribe to the Week