'Cause I Said So…

Missing The Point On The Gardasil Story

By now we have all heard something about the 2007 decision of Governor Rick Perry (R-TX) to sign an executive order mandating the Gardasil vaccine for all girls entering the sixth grade in Texas schools receiving money from the State of Texas. One of the most fair and comprehensive articles on the web about this incident has been written by Ben Howe (@Ben_Howe) at RedState.com (@RedState), Vetting Rick Perry (http://www.redstate.com/aglanon/2011/08/17/vetting-rick-perry/).

I’m not going to rehash everything in Mr. Howe’s article. What would be the point? Read it. It’s very good. Instead, I’m going to use Mr. Howe’s article as a jumping off point.

The trouble with almost all the reporting and opinion writing I’ve seen on the incident is that they all seem to miss the point of why this is important, if not necessarily fatal, when looking at the presidential candidacy of Gov. Perry. How did I get it and few others seem to? I don’t know. Maybe because I have no personal ax to grind. No, I’ll admit it, I am not the biggest fan of Gov. Perry; however, I did vote for him in every general election in which he ran. So, I can’t exactly be seen as his biggest detractor, either. So, let’s get to it.

The important thing about this incident is not the vaccine itself. Though I understand the problems many people have with vaccines, I am an advocate of necessary vaccines.

The important thing about this incident is not the mandate. Though I understand the concerns of libertarians and parents’-rights activists, many other vaccines are required to enter Texas’ state-funded schools. (However, I must say that mandated vaccinations for venereal diseases does push the envelope a bit much, and I would be opposed to it.)

The important thing about this incident is not allegations of influence peddling. Though I share the concerns of many regarding this candidate’s history of bending to corporate interests, there has been no evidence given of anything more than garden variety campaign donations and corporate lobbying involving Merck. (I don’t like the way it smells, but it’s perfectly legal.)

No, the most important thing about this incident is executive overreach by Gov. Perry.

The executive and the legislative branches have completely different duties and authorities. Governor Perry by-passed the Texas State legislature when he signed that executive order. Instead of having someone sponsor the desired legislation and letting it go through the appropriate process, he basically amended State Law by his own, independent action.

Did Gov. Perry have any right under the Texas constitution for such an act? Did Gov. Perry have any administrative authority under state law for such an act? No to both. As a matter of fact, his order was widely understood to be both constitutionally and legally dubious. Amongst the public furor arising from the order’s announcement, both houses of the state legislature passed measures denouncing Perry’s order, and not just for the publicly controversial parts. The legislature knew their authority had been commandeered by the Governor.

Now, Gov. Perry did rescind the order, after the public uproar. He did apologize for the nature of the order, the particulars concerning the vaccine and the mandate. However, he never apologized for assuming the authority to make the order in the first place. He never tried to explain why he had assumed such authority, except to say “I hate cancer”. (Well, don’t we all?)

So, why do I consider this the most egregious part of the entire affair? Circumspection.

When picking a candidate for President, we have to consider their experience. In this incident, Gov. Perry has shown a disregard for the constitutionally defined duties of his office. We are all too aware of our current President’s disregard for limits to his power, with his signing of executive orders and his appointment of “Czars”. How can we criticize President Obama’s actions, but accept out of hand similar actions done by our own candidate? Wouldn’t that be hypocritical of us?

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Old News Is Still News

Just a thought for the Mensa members out there who think they can counter every argument against their candidate by saying it has been covered in the past. That only works for the national media’s favored Democrat candidates. If it pertains to a Democrat, reporters will yawn when shown something which has previously been covered. “That’s old news.”

Unfortunately, the same standards do not apply for Republicans. For Republicans, there is no “old” news. When did they bring up G.W. Bush’s arrest for DWI? The weekend before the election. When did they bring up the fake AWOL papers? During the convention. Nothing ever goes away for Republicans, and when it is brought back up, reporters treat the story as if it has never been seen before.

So, the primary season  is our only opportunity to completely vet our candidates. We need to go over every questionable action as if it happened today. For every one of those actions we need to demand satisfactory answers, and not settle for excuses. If we know about it, then so does the Democrat opposition, and their friends in the national media.

So, if not now, we know when. When it will do the most damage.

I Would Like A Real Explanation, Governor Perry

Remember when you were a kid, and you were busted for doing something you weren’t supposed to? What was the first thing you would say? It was probably “I’m sorry!” If you had a smart-alec like my Father, you would have been asked “Sorry for what you did, or sorry for getting caught?” With my Dad, you had better know the difference.

Well, guess what? I want to know why Perry apologized for his actions. Was he “sorry” because people didn’t like the policy, or was he “sorry” because he over-stepped his constitutional authority as governor? There is sure as heck a difference between the two.

In 2007,  Governor Perry’s (R-TX) issued an executive order mandating every girl going into sixth grade in a Texas public school to receive the Gardasil vaccine. He then quickly rescinded his order, when public opposition grew too great. Every explanation I’ve read was merely an attempt to justify his actions. “He was sorry for upsetting parents, but his motives were pure.” Well, I have another of my father’s favorite sayings: “The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.”

So, one more time for those riding the short bus, what is his explanation for subverting the constitution of the State of Texas? Why did he think he could pass law without the state legislature? Why couldn’t he have had a bill sponsored in the legislature? What does this tell us about his attitudes concerning executive power, before he possibly ascends to the highest office in the land?

Is he sorry because he did it, or because he got caught?

If we truly believe in the “rule of law”, are these questions really inconsequential?

We Had Best Be Careful

An anti-leftist, anti-big government wave of popular opinion began rolling early last year. It has been growing steadily ever since. There seem to be no signs of it slowing down. Unless there is an abrupt change in the public mood sometime during the summer the Democrats in Congress are going to get thumped, big time come November. The Democrats are in for considerable losses in the House and the Senate. These predictions are assuming Republicans are able to block so-called “Health Care Reform.”

The Democrat leadership seems determined to get its health care plan passed. It doesn’t matter to these “leaders” that the people are opposed to it, with opinion growing only more against them. The way it is looking, they can only get their plan passed by going “all in” and forcing their members to vote in favor. If that happens, particularly if they use undemocratic tactics (i.e. faux reconciliation, the “Slaughter” rule), then all bets are off. We may see a change in control of one or even both Houses of Congress before this is all said and done.

So, using the most conservative predictions of the November elections, Republicans will winnow down the Democrat majorities in both Houses to a bare minimum. What contingencies are in place for being in a close-to-parity minority? The Democrat leaders may be completely unchastened by their losses and continue pushing forward with their present agenda. Most of these leaders are from unbelievably secure districts. They have used (or entertained using) undemocratic tactics in the past to pass legislation. What will we do? How will we forward our agenda?

If the most optimistic predictions for this fall’s results are realized, the GOP will gain narrow majorities in the House and the Senate. Sure, the majority can easily move measures through the House, but passage in both chambers is necessary to go to the President. Sixty votes are required in the Senate to get a floor vote on non-budgetary legislation, and reconciliation will have to be done. Assuming Republicans are able to get legislation passed, the President must still sign it. Do you think he will have any compunction against vetoing bills which repeal his agenda items?  What’s the plan? Is anybody even working on one?

The “mainstream” media has of course been less than “fair and accurate” in its coverage of the growth in conservative/ populist opinion, the self-described “Tea Party” movement. Just get ready for the barrage of media reporting about the “Do Nothing” Congress. Big media already has a built-in statist bias. Additionally, reporters in D.C. are there to cover the news which means “action.” If nothing is moving forward, then there is no action. Something has to be reported to justify their existence. The story then becomes about what isn’t being done. It’s already been written – Young, Idealistic Leader Opposes Reactionary Forces.

We’ve lived through this before in ’95 after the Republicans took control of Congress. The big difference this time is the man in the White House. There is no denying Bill Clinton’s left-of-center pedigree; however, he was a politician in the worst sense of the word, one who’s biggest worry was being re-elected to office. Clinton could read the political winds and saw his best course was best to tack to the right. He may have fought for certain of his programs and against some of the Republicans, but he always followed the polls when push came to shove, such as eventually signing welfare reform.

We’re dealing with a completely different political animal this time. President Obama may have run as a moderate, but he has shown no signs of moderation during his time in office. As examples, where Clinton dropped health care and compromised on gays in the military, Obama has pushed forward with both in the face of growing opposition. I don’t think we can expect Obama to accept a little thing like an election as a reason to change his priorities. He will go forward with his agenda and undermine Republican initiatives at every opportunity, and the “old” media will be with him every step of the way, singing his praises.

So, the right-of-center coalition, which represents the views of the majority of Americans, goes into November and beyond knowing how the story will be played. As usual, we will be portrayed as against the poor, minorities, children, women, aged, sick, et al. We will have a President and a media opposed to everything we propose. We will have a movement whose agenda will be stymied and efforts will be impotent. We will be in the worst of possible worlds, except we will have stopped the worst of his plans.

The media will try to take advantage of one of the American people’s strangest habits, the practice of tearing down those we’ve built up, and its converse. Obama’s acolytes will begin to rehabilitate his reputation by blaming all that went wrong during his first two years on the Democrats in Congress. His fingerprints are nowhere on any of the health care legislation or anything else done in Congress. If you’ve noticed, he has assiduously distanced himself from all the machinations of Reid and Pelosi. Like Carter, and unlike Clinton, he has stood back in the White House and let all of the legislative activity and horse-trading take place on Capitol Hill.

We need to be prepared for this eventuality. We need strategies in place to counter the full court press of the pro-Obama media. Every news story must carry our message. Every Obama press event must have its opposite from us. Our leaders must be everywhere. Our take on events must be publicized. We have to get our word out.

The moderates in the Party must be steeled against the seductive influences of the media to cooperate with the Administration. They must know that any sliding into the mushy middle will result in a primary challenge from their right. Many of them will have already been replaced (Lord willing), but some will have made it through. They have only survived thus far by pulling right. They have to know there is no going back.

Once the immediate danger of further socialization of the economy is past, we will begin to lose the feelings of fear and urgency which have motivated many of those newly active in the movement. Like all those new to politics they will begin to feel frustration and anger with the slow pace of change in the direction of government. They will feel used and tricked, as have many in the past, if those they have supported fall back into the old, comfortable habits of Washington. The mistakes made by Republicans during the Bush years, whether they see it that way or not, cannot be repeated without risking an additional four years, at least, of a Democrat running the Executive branch of government.

Some of you may think I’m getting a bit ahead of where we are. What am I doing raising these kind of concerns with the elections over six months away? Then you are the exact ones to whom I am speaking. How do you propose to keep a fractious movement of populists, libertarians, conservatives, and anti-socialists together beyond this fall? Don’t you realize Obama, the Left, and fellow travelers in the media are not about to roll over even in the face of defeat? Look at their behavior now? Think it’s going to be any better in six months?

These questions and others need to be considered. Plans must be made. For over a year now, we’ve been flying by the seats of our pants. Yeah, we’ve had protests, meetings and convocations. We’ve done polling, blogging and tweeting. Beyond just winning elections, how much thought has been given to actual governance? The future is almost here. Will we be ready?