At first I worried that Obama embracing vaccines would have the regrettable effect of making pro/anti-vaccines a political issue per se. The old saw about Obama killing off the opposition with an address in favor of breathing is silly but it’s not that silly. But maybe it won’t happen after all. So far I have been pleased to find that fewer people than feared need to re-up their common goddamn sense booster. Instead Republicans have sorted out into basically three categories, with the most worrisome also being easily the smallest.
On the one hand you have this boojum brigade of predictably excitable noisemakers who jump feverishly on a chance to throw themselves into the national dialogue. Michelle Bachman headlined this crowd, as she so often does, when she summarily disqualified herself from a Presidential debate with made-up facts about the HPV vaccine. In fact the HPV vaccine proved a kind of gateway drug for conservatives, with its connotations of sex without painful or deadly side effects, drawing in folks like Glenn Beck who never miss a chance to compare a hilariously unscientific idea with they-laughed-at-Galileo*. An award for special achievement in boojum goes to single-issue fanatics like Alabama’s Mo Brooks who stipulate that their personal bugbear (in his case, hispanics) lie behind any negative externality that could, has or will occur in the lifespan of our universe.
In the middle you have the choice caucus, a group not obviously deranged like the boojum brigade but still reckless with public health. Chris Christie and Rand Paul, take a bow. For reasons ideological, pandering or both these folks feel that vaccines are just one of those decisions that parents make, like SpongeBob versus Dora or whether to let small children play in traffic. It would be more tempting to forgive folks in the choice caucus if these exact same people had not literally just competed to come up with the most Soviet answer to a public health crisis during the previous election.
The last and largest bin is a Frum forum of pundits and politicians who will get in a clown car this loopy but no loopier. I was surprised and pleased to see Ben Carson, a certified physician but also a man with a legendary taste for boojum, speak about as strongly as a person could (that being his usual speaking voice) in favor of vaccines and public health. Some applause also goes to Bobby Jindal and Marco Rubio for taking an unambiguous and positive stand. Megyn Kelly and Steve Doocy also deserve credit for correcting some of the frothier guests and/or hosts on their illustrious network.
At this point my spider sense tells me that Republicans will mostly sort themselves into the Frum forum with some allowances for those beset by voices, single-issue maniacs, the politically maladroit and Sarah Palin. Thanking god for small favors it looks like preventable diseases of the 18th century will not become an issue in the 2016 Presidential election.
Meanwhile, so far as I can tell there is one kind of Democrat. Maybe a pundit or two (Bill Maher, predictably the moron’s advocate) but otherwise it’s one voice. Vaccinate your kids.
(*) Sadly, no. Experts embraced Galileo’s superior explanation for eccentric planetary orbits pretty much right away. The Church mostly complained that he published his work in Italian, allowing the discussion of heavenly affairs to enter the public realm rather than keep such ideas cloistered among the Latin-speaking priesthood like Copernicus had done.
Gosh, I really wanted the pres to take a stand against rat poison.
If I’m not mistaken, Copernicus published only at the very end of his life, when he was pretty sure he was going where the Church couldn’t get its hands on him.
Thanking god for small favors it looks like preventable diseases of the 18th century will not become an issue in the 2016 Presidential election.
This is early presidential season. A bunch of this kind of shit is going to flair up, and then disappear and be forgotten.
(I’m with TBogg – whaddya expect? The ‘I can’t believe they’re saying that!’ reaction is kinda late to the show. The right way to look at it is that Republicans (like Wall Street) will say (or believe!) anything to get more money for rich people (that is, themselves), if, that is, it doesn’t offend slope-headed mouth-breathing rock-ribbed Baptists who don’t like black people. This would not be unfamiliar to the Americans who inhabited the early 19th or late 18th centuries.)
[‘Not much else to it.’]
The post needs some editing? Some passages are, let say, obscure,, to the ordinary understanding of words.
I think the GOP will jump into clown cars on various issues that come up between now and the 2016 general election and it will hurt them.
And I think Christie showed his ineptness and cynicism (a combination I admire in a GOP politician).. Sooner or later someone will call him on it. Maybe someone will confront him on his contrasting reactions to the Ebola panic and measles vaccination and ask for an explanation. That question will be problem since there is no explanation except simple ineptness, and ineptness at being cynical, maybe this issue will burn out to quickly for that to happen. When that happens, I predict a meltdown, or at least an ugly moment.
” Gosh, I really wanted the pres to take a stand against rat poison. ”
That would lead to an epidemic of self-induced rat poisonings among the bigot brigade and teabaggers. Obama has responsibilities, you know.
I hope they get seriously fucking hammered on this bullshit. Vaccines are a miracle, but they require full buy-in. Fucking special snowflakes can DIAF.
The hand washing thing has me truly mind boggled. If you choose to operate a business in the secular, public market place, having to obey simply rules like washing your damn hands after using the bathroom is not an infringement on anyone’s rights, not a burden to you as an owner, and is for the betterment of the public.
This to me is an example of the ultimate failure of Libertarianism. The rejection of even basic common sense in favor of 100% free-dumb. Like a conservative friend on facebook ranting about the ACA even after one of her friends responded saying she had first hand seen how the ACA had changed people’s lives for the better, that just didn’t make up for the affront to her constitutional rights.
Our constitution says you can’t be forced to buy anything you don’t want (according to her), so who cares if millions of people’s lives are improved? Never mind that she has great insurance through her employer and no one is actually forced to buy insurance. Oh well, keep riding those motorcycles without a helmet. Your traumatic brain injury salutes you.
@JPL: Can’t President Obama come out against drinking bleach?
@Violet: It does prove that there is no such thing as peak wingnut.
David in NY
I was pleased to see that Pat Robertson chimed in with fluoridation. Was wondering how long it would take to bring that up. Plus ça change …
@Hal: Does your friend realize that tax laws benefit them? Of course not.
I don’t know about Jindal, but Rubio, deserves nothing but a raspberry.
Here’s Rubio on the age of the earth:
And here’s Rubio on whether man is causing global warming:
Yet now Rubio suddenly has no concerns about not being a scientist when it comes to vaccination? If Christie and Rand had endorsed President Obama’s comments on vaccination then right now Rubio would be proclaiming that we don’t know what to believe because we are not scientists.
Rubio really is that shallow and opportunistic.
Anything that helps sort Christie and Paul into the ‘discard’ bin, I’m a-ok with. Jindal, Carson, Rubio, and most of the other loons will take care of themselves with wacky stands on other issues.
You know who we haven’t heard from yet on this issue, right? Bush and Walker.
The President really is trolling the shit out of these guys.
David in NY
I suspect that the good sense of some Fox shills about this is a tell. Murdoch is a grown-up about some things, and he’s not going to let this nonsense get in the way of low taxes on the rich.
@Jeffro: Here’s a link which summarizes the positions of some leading Republicans (but not Bush) on vaccination.
Cruz is waffling as badly as Christie, and Fiorina’s position is completely nuts.
Ted shows you people how to find a real jackalope
@Amir Khalid: That is what I figured, too!
Poor guy, putting so much time rebuilding his brand and wanting his Tour titles back – just can’t catch a break!
TPM livewire has a new Rand comment with a pic of his getting a vaccine.. Also, he never said those things he said. So, there
Nice turn of phrase.
Additionally, #TillisSigns is a thing.
I can’t help but think this New Yorker satire is exactly the response someone like Ernest would actuall give:
I do not this the vax issue hanging around as a source of either primary or secondary political energy. Nationwide, it is a symptom and not a cause.
@Keith G: It hurts Christie and Paul. Christie because of his quarantine stunt and Paul because he’s nuts.
@JPL: From the current TPM Livewire:
Rand Paul gets a vaccine.
Ben Carson blames the measles outbreak on “undocumented people.”
Lindsay Graham urges every American to vaccinate their kids.
Scott Walker says his family is vaccinated and others should do the same.
I must admit, I have very slightly mixed feelings on the issue. Don’t get me wrong, I’m pro-vax all the way – including pro-mandatory.
That said, there is a small part of me that relishes the potential schadenfreude of watching Conservative anti-vaxers Darwin themselves out of existence. Unfortunately, the enormous number of innocent victims that would be caught in the wake is just way too high.
And that would be bad how?
Mike in NC
So much redundancy there.
@David in NY:
I commented yesterday to the effect that some of the anti-vaxx comments being made by quack doctors and republican politicians were reminiscent of Dr. Strangelove. Then Pat Robertson went full Ripper.
I don’t really see how doing away with hand washing regulations fits in with the republican phobia about spending money either. A health outbreak would financially harm the restaurant and the afflicted customers who end up in the dr’s office or emergency room.
ISTR that he also presented heliocentrism as a convenient mathematical trick for calculating orbits that didn’t necessarily have any relationship to the actual movement of the planets. It was a transparent dodge, but it apparently helped to avoid theological complications.
@Mike in NC:
Now, now, don’t be cruel – Palin is maladroit and beset by voices on many, many issues.
Mike in NC
@David in NY: The 2016 election really needs to be all about protecting our precious bodily fluids, as General Jack D. Ripper noted.
B-b-b-but, it would piss off liberals!
@bemused: The Republicans have no phobia about spending money. When they’re in charge they always spend is into debt.
What the “no hand washing” thing was about was code for “heavy regulation on business” and “free market solutions.” The fact that it would cost everyone more in the long run as diseases that are easily prevented were transmitted in restaurants is immaterial. That’s like the ACA saving money because it reduces ER visits. In the wingnut mythology that’s impossible. It doesn’t matter what the facts are.
The problem is that Libertarianism hasn’t failed because it’s so obviously stupid that it hasn’t ever been seriously tried. That lets crazy Libertarians continue to believe in obvious stupidity like this.
Yeah, that would be it plus his neanderthal base loves hearing that shit.
This too. Failed Republican policies always trump the successes of liberal policies.
I think my favorite so far is “I’m E. coli and I approved this message.”
Unfortunately, measles is actually an airborne virus, so just covering your hands won’t protect you. I would like to suggest that people who don’t want to get their measles shot because they’re afraid of autism should put a bread bag over their head and secure it tightly around their neck. If they leave it in place, it should guarantee that they will not contract the measles.
Note — “boojum”, while coined by Lewis Carroll, is also a legitimate scientific term, so careful how you throw it around, especially in a post about people acting a-scientifically.
Another Holocene Human
Damn, when you’ve lost Steve Doocy…
Another Holocene Human
@Ben Cisco: Nice twitter handle/avatar. Very handsome.
Another Holocene Human
And the DOCUMENT lacking is PROOF OF VACCINATION. Damn, this lying SOB ticks me off and I hope some comedians have some fun with that. Diseases: spread by the unvaccinated, not the undocumented … guess what, most of them are … vaccinated. Because unlike Dr. Moms and Mr Pure Dads in Maricopa and Orange counties, migrant laborers don’t think of themselves as special snowflakes exempt from the slings and arrows of plebian fortune.
Another Holocene Human
@Roger Moore: But it has been tried–remember Enron?–but libertarians are too stupid to learn.
Actually it was Johannes Kepler who established the eccentricity of planetary orbits.
@Another Holocene Human: we all know where those undocumented people come from don’t we? From a country that has higher rates of vaccinations than ours.
@Another Holocene Human:
… It generally means that you’re on the right side of the issue. This just means that the general rule has an exception that may need to be researched for further implications.
Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism
@Provider_UNE_AndPlayersToBeHatedLater™: And they charged and convicted Galileo because he was an asshole.
Michael Steele just said on Hardball, re Christie and Paul: “We need to get away from the crazy.”
That from a guy who knows a thing or two about crazy statements.
@max: Yeah, pretty much exactly that. The Constitution was designed to protect rural, slave-owning states (Senate, who was allowed to vote, states get to make voting rules) and so the country has long been beholden to the worst, reactionary forces. Voting rules should be federally-determined at all levels and the Senate should be population based. Otherwise, it is just the House of Lords with a lot more power. Our democracy is dying at this point.
I love how Tillis is a-ok with doing away with the hand-washing regulation…as long as there’s a replacement regulation that says the establishment has to post a sign saying “hand-washing optional for our workers”.
Net regulation gain/loss: zero. Way to strike a blow for freedumb, Thom!
Percent of population who would rather just stick with the hand-washing regulation already in place: 73%
@Violet: I’m telling y’all, Walker is at least a little strategic about these things. Line up all of their statements and tell me who’s covering enough of the base to win the primary, while still staying viable in a general election.
David in NY
@Mike in NC:
Yup. Looks like 2016 is the new 1964, if not 1905 (when the Supreme Court approved mandatory vaccination).
David in NY
Actually, I’m a little disappointed that this may dim Christie’s chances of hanging in there. I really want this to be a replay of 2012, with each crazy getting his 15 minutes of leading the pack, and some exhausted borderline-sane candidate falling over at the finish line.
Mnemosyne (iPad Mini)
@Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism:
Yep. “Galileo’s Daughter” is a very readable account of the whole thing. Galileo probably shouldn’t have used a thinly disguised version of the guy who was gunning for him as the borderline-retarded character in his three-way discussion.
Obligatory Carl Sagan quote about (almost) Galileo.