Can Rick Perry Survive the Smear Merchants?
The only force of nature that is faster than the speed of light is the speed at which calumny will collide with a contender for national office. Therefore, it was to be expected that after Texas Governor Rick Perry threw his wide-brimmed Stetson into the political ring, he would immediately become a target for pundits, opponents, and potential challengers for the nomination and for the General Election.
Already there is a plethora of anti-Perry activists hurling a wide-ranging assortment of negative half-truths in an attempt to poison the atmosphere about the guy before the national electorate has a chance to hear from him and examine his record. Propaganda is a very powerful mind-manipulation device. It's why so much money is spent on political ads. Campaign managers know that most of the population will not take the time to do their own independent research on the candidates, preferring to make up their minds after absorbing a myriad of sound bites that they can regurgitate to others at social functions, making them appear knowledgeable on the issues.
How many times are we going to hear that Perry wants to secede from the Union? Democrat bomb-throwers think they have him corralled on that one. The fact is, during a rally in Austin, Texas, some attendees were yelling for secession. The governor's response was that he appreciated their frustration with the current administration, but essentially assured them that secession was not a serious proposal. Nevertheless, his innocuous statement of understanding why people felt that way was enough for his detractors to turn it into a bludgeon that they intend to clobber him with at every public forum.
Another disambiguation being leveled at the longest-serving governor in the history of Texas is the one about the state's favorable unemployment statistics being the result of so many low-paying jobs. There are several ways to dispute that allegation, but I'll begin by saying that I'd rather have a low-paying job than no job at all. Secondly, having lived here for 22 years, after moving from Long Island, New York, I can tell you that the cost of living here is considerably lower.
That's because taxes are lower for the individual and for the entrepreneur who wants to take part in the capitalist system that gave our country a standard of living that continues to be the envy of the world. A system, I might add, that is being bombarded by left-wing ideologues who believe in redistribution as the method of managing economic policy. There must be a reason why so many people are moving to the Lone Star State, and it's not because of the weather (summers are blisteringly hot and long). They move here because they have a chance to improve their standard of living without constant badgering from the government. Rick Perry has been the chief executive long enough to deserve a lot of the credit for that. With national unemployment soaring and taxes stifling business development, Perry's opponents feel they must do everything possible to attack what is probably the best gubernatorial record of achievement in the country.
Another charge that is currently being bandied about is that Perry wanted to force 11- and 12-year-old females to be vaccinated with Gardasil, a drug developed by Merck Pharmaceutical to prevent cervical cancer caused by the Human Papilloma Virus. The FDA approved the drug in 2006 and recommended vaccination in females before they become sexually active because it's not effective against an existing infection. What's not often mentioned is that Perry's executive order mandating the vaccine had an opt-out provision that parents could exercise. That matters little to the anti-Perry crowd, who continue to accuse him of trying to use the power of the state to force a drug on children. They conveniently leave out that the New England Journal of Medicine in 2007 found that Gardasil was nearly 100 percent effective in preventing precancerous cervical lesions caused by the strains it protects against. Instead, I suppose they want the public to believe that Perry was deliberately trying to harm little girls.
It's very early in the presidential sweepstakes, so I'm sure there'll be a lot more trash thrown around. Recently, a Ron Paul supporter bought a full-page ad in a Texas newspaper with the large, bold print type reading, "Have you ever had sex with Rick Perry?" The subtitle read: "Are you a stripper, an escort, or just a young 'hottie' impressed by an arrogant, entitled Governor of Texas?" Of course, such an ad hominem attack suggests sexual impropriety should be presumed, notwithstanding the lack of evidence to support it.
As a Sarah Palin fan who has watched that strong woman withstand unparalleled savagery by vicious smear-merchants, I figure, if Perry is presidential timber, he's more than capable of dealing with it too.