Some people may request inoculation from having to be hoisted into the 2016 presidential cycle so quickly. To those people I say, too late, just enjoy it, the side effects don’t last forever. The recent outbreak of measles, originating from the Disneyland park in California, has now created a political issue with some 2016 contenders weighing in.

Report from Fox News:

The remarks by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul were not a departure from previously stated positions, but drew widespread attention as public health officials try to cope with a major measles outbreak that has infected over 100 people in several states.

Christie, who spoke Monday after making a tour of a biomedical research lab in Cambridge, England, said that he and his wife had vaccinated their children. However, the governor added, “I also understand that parents need to have some measure of choice in things as well. So that’s the balance that the government has to decide.”

Later Monday, Paul said in a radio interview that he believed most vaccines should be voluntary.

“I have heard of many tragic cases of walking, talking, normal children who wound up with profound mental disorders after vaccines,” Paul, an eye doctor, said in a subsequent interview while suggesting vaccines were “a good thing.” ”But I think the parents should have some input. The state doesn’t own your children.”

Both men’s staffs later sent out statements clarifying their remarks. Christie’s spokesman said the governor believed that “with a disease like measles there is no question kids should be vaccinated.” The statement from Paul’s office pointed out that the senator’s children have all been vaccinated and added that Paul “believes that vaccines have saved lives, and should be administered to children.

Hillary Clinton, the leading Democratic contender for the party nomination in 2016, couldn’t resist taking a dig at the GOP hopefuls on Twitter.

“The science is clear: The earth is round, the sky is blue, and #vaccineswork. Let’s protect all our kids. #GrandmothersKnowBest.”

Medical experts and political consultants from both sides joined in the criticism.

Let me suggest for everyone involved the first rule of politics. The third rail isn’t topics like social security or abortion, it’s mixing children with divisive issues. The vaccine question is a recipe for statements, clarifications, restatements, misstatements and mistakes all rolled into one emotional topic.

Everything a candidate says on this topic is parsed in many ways. Take Rand Paul for example. I’m sure his deep-down answer from his libertarian self is that vaccines are a state responsibility. It is not mentioned in the constitution, so the states should decide what is mandatory and what parents can do to opt-in or opt-out. However, try selling that as a mainstream position when we’ve been programmed not to question whether parents should have the ultimate authority on this topic.

In short, no one wants to be responsible for telling people not to vaccine when we know that ultimately, vaccines save lives. They also don’t want to support unfettered government mandates which cede power from parents. I don’t envy being forced to take a stand in this arena one way or another.

22 COMMENTS

  1. Why are Senator Rand Paul and Governor Chris Christie taking questions on the subject of school
    vaccines in a presidential campaign. There are no federal laws on vaccines for children. All states have laws for specified vaccines for students that vary from state to state. All States, with the exception of West Virginia, have immunization laws that grant exemptions to school children for religious reasons. State laws are a mixed bag on philosophical exemptions. Some states believe that the statutory language does not restrict the exemption of purely religious or spiritual beliefs. For example, Maine
    allows restrictions based on moral, philosophical or other personal beliefs, California allows objections based on simply the parents beliefs. Missouri philosophical exemption applies only to daycare, preschool and nursery school. This is a state issue.

    • It is a state issue. But, I’d be interested to see a poll of the general public which asks questions like whether they’re familiar with the federal law about vaccinations, etc…

      I’m betting a majority would assume there are federal laws requiring vaccines for school, etc..

    • It is obvious the people that were interested in the vaccine thought it was a federal issue. With the exception of Ted Cruz who brushed lightly on the subject, no one offered to enlighten the general public on the state laws and how they are applied.

      • Remember the last Republican primary when Michelle Bachman said a mother came up to her thanking her because her daughter became autistic. Then the media tried to find the woman and nobody could. Bachman had been caught in so many lies they had to get rid of her.

  2. The most interesting thing about this issue is that Cruz and Rubio are usually proponents of what Jindal called “the Stupid Party,” while Christie and Paul–who is a physician, for crying out loud–ordinarily take a more mainstream stance.

    It’s as if Christie and Paul are trying to shun the “moderate” label, and pre-empt the “crazies,” but the people they were pandering to slapped them down.

    Funny thing is, when I was a kid, parents used to bring their healthy kids over to see kids with measles, so the WOULD get the disease. The reasoning was that it’s not preventable, so you might as well get it over with.

    I’m sure that will lead people to say that we should return to the “good ol’ days,” like early in the last century, when 5,300 kids died per year, that is 26 deaths per 1,000 measles cases. . . .

      • Nate…Vaccines, like All medicines, can cause serious side effects. That Hillary and President Obama have changedtheir views from 2008 shows an open mind. Hillary didn’t speak as a candidate but as a grandmother, a very different perspective. President Obama (from
        your clip), “vaccines are also preventing huge numbers of deaths among children, and preventing debilitating illnesses like polio. And so we can’t afford to junk our vaccine system.”

        But it is immaterial what Hillary thinks, immaterial what Christie, Cruz, Rubio, Paul, Obama
        or the Surgeon General ( see my first sentence} may chose to expound. This subject should be ask of our silent Governors and their legislatures.

        • I was adding the discussion point since today, for whatever reason, the story line is “republicans skeptical of vaccines,” when in reality, many politicians of all stripes have expressed a variety of views at any given time on this topic.

          Most of the big name “anti-vaxxers” are of the liberal persuasion, from Hollywood, etc.., some currently support Hillary.

          http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/02/04/anti-vaxxers-funding-ready-for-hillary.html

          That does not reflect on Hillary, but it speaks to which ideological demographic has been driving the anti-vaccine hysteria, it’s primarily been from the left. Hillary and Obama were aware of that during the 2008 primary, which explains their non-committal answers and pandering to the anti-vaxxing crowd.

          It’s merely a case of political gamesmanship which the media was playing in 2008 and continues to play today by making candidates, running for federal office, take a stand on an issue they don’t have a direct impact on, as you pointed out.

  3. Nate: you got it right — using children is a strong lever in the disgustingly filthy field of politics.

    Free people must realize that the Gov at any level — Federal, State or Local — MUST NEVER be allowed to dictate our CHOICES, for if allowing any of this, we’ll become mere subjects to be ruled, NOT FREE CITIZENS!

    Obama has already turned All Americans into his Subjects on Healthcare — for all Americans MUST buy Obamacare, or be penalized by the IRS!

    What sad state of our Republic under Obama’s unconstitutional rule — that for the first time since 1776, we are no longer FREE People, but in the 21st Century are NOW SUBJECTED to OBEY Obama’s dictates!

    Time to Impeach Obama — and save our Nation!

    Thomas Jefferson said it best:
    “The two enemies of the people are Criminals and Government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first.”–— and that’s what Obama has become, the Legalized Criminal of our nation!

    • This quotation you attributed to Thomas Jefferson cannot be found in any of his writings. He did, once, employ the phrase “chains of
      the Constitution” in the Kentucky Resolutions of 1798.
      You are attempting to quote Ayn Rand’ in her essay, “Man’s Rights”: “There are two potential violators of man’s rights: the criminals and the government. The great achievement of the
      United States was to draw a distinction between these two — by forbidding to the second the legalized version of the activities of the first….”

      • Tess: You might want to provide the link, since Monticello.org is pretty legit:

        http://www.monticello.org/site/jefferson/two-enemies-people-are-criminals-and-governmentquotation

        But even if Jefferson had said the quote, you have to realize that he saw HIMSELF as part of the Establishment, and was always warning against giving anyone too much power. At that time, they were afraid of the establishment of a king, since it was the norm at the time. And even George Washington was seen as a horrible tyrant by the Surfishers of the day.

        • Goethe…Surprised you didn’t read
          further on Monticello.org for that is where I found my reply “Status:
          This quotation has not been found in any of Thomas Jefferson’s writings.
          He did, however, employ the phrase “chains of the Constitution” at
          least once, in the Kentucky Resolutions of 1798: “…in questions of power
          then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from
          mischief by the chains of the constitution…” The quotation may be a
          conflation of Jefferson’s “chains of the Constitution” comment with
          Ayn Rand’s statement in her essay, “Man’s Rights”: “There are
          two potential violators of man’s rights: the criminals and the government. The great achievement of the United States was to draw a distinction between these two — by forbidding to the second the legalized version of the activities of the first.”

          What meaning are you attaching to the word “establishment”? Thomas Jefferson was a Diest and you can see from reading his papers and letters that he was a man of his own convictions……not subject to using the thinking of others. Although Thomas Jefferson firmly did not believe in ruling by royalty, I don’t believe he ever harbored the thought that America would have a king. One of the purposes of the American Revolution.

          I was unaware that anyone thought of George Washington as a tyrant. In fact, I didn’t know Surfishers existed in that era.

          • Tess: Yeah, I read it all. Note that it just said that they couldn’t FIND the quote, but I don’t think it’s inconsistent with Jefferson’s suspicion of authority.

            I am dubious about any quote that does not report its time and place, but this site seems to have good quotes:

            http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/t/thomas_jefferson.html

            It has Jefferson quotes Surfisher would like, such as this:

            “Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms of government, those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, PERVERTED IT INTO TYRANNY.”

            But it also has Jefferson quotes such as this, which sounds like Elizabeth Warren:

            “A wise and frugal government, which shall RESTRAIN MEN FROM INJURING ONE ANOTHER, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits. . .”

            In other words, Jefferson saw that government could be tyrannical–but also that government could be the counterbalance of the tyranny of the rich and powerful, who cannot otherwise be restrained from sucking all rights and wealth unto themselves.

            I don’t see how Jefferson could not see himself as part of the “Establishment,” having spoken and written so much of what the country would become, and even becoming president, himself. I think you are reading a post-Vietnam-era meaning into the word, “establishment.”

            To be of the “establishment” just means simply to be of “that which is established.” If you hold recognized authority, you are “of the establishment.” And I think Jefferson was very aware of that, as well as uncomfortable with it.

            As for Washington, our high school history books speak of him as if the entire public saw him as a god. That’s not true. There were many royalists who saw him as a traitor, and many anarchists, who spoke of him as “King George,” who, they cried, assumed too much power unto himself. I once saw an excellent TV dramatization, starring Barry Bostwick:

            http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0086720/

            It showed how crazy people were, and no matter what Washington did, he was condemned from one side or the other, or both. It has always been thus. People who point back so fondly at the founding times just don’t know their history. The “patriots” were just as wildly excoriated as today’s leaders–by the very same kind of “Real Americans” as today.

            But we probably “need” such “Real Americans,” as well as the ACLU to be extremists for us, to push the envelope of freedom.

            • “The Establishment” has more definitions than a cat has lives so that would prove a futile argument. By the way, what was the post-Vietnam-era definition of the Establishment?

              Royalists were faithful subjects of the English Crown so it was only natural they found George Washington an intruder.

              Anarchists seeks to overturn, by violence, all constituted forms of society and government. So, there is no question that this group would be antagonistic toward Washington.

              I have never used a movie as a basis for any realistic thoughts. A movie has no requirements for truth. A movie script takes too many liberties with “what might have been or should have been.”

              Exactly what is a Real American? I know Sarah Palin brought this term to the forefront of political expressions, along with “sixpack Joes” but she never explained her choice of wordage. According to the Constitution, if you are
              born on US soil you are a real American. This has nothing to do with character traits, good or bad.

              I am staunch supporter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). I said they give warnings without factual proof. That is true. However, the reason I
              help support the ACLU is the free legal support they give to the poor and
              underprivileged. The ACLU will freely defend the rich or the poor,
              straight or gay, black or white or brown, the pious and the atheist, regardless
              if one is American-born or foreign-born. The ACLU is founded on the belief that everyone, regardless, is entitled to the same basic rights.

            • Jess, Jess, Jess. . .What have YOU been drinking? I minored in history at college and have been a student ever since, so when I pointed out the “DRAMATIZATION,” I meant that it was, you know, a portrayal of the facts, not “proof.” I offered it because we usually just get images of George standing by his desk—not putting up with politicacrap. The dramatization showed it as it probably really was.

              InfoPlease has a nice series of essays on Washington, including his enemies: Madison was a severe critic of President Washington, as noted by Henry Lee. Monroe also became a critic. Jefferson’s criticisms were so intense that Washington finally broke off all contact with him. Edmund Randolph discredited Washington by leaking damaging information. Meanwhile, the press ripped Washington. Many of the scathing articles were written by Jefferson, anonymously, while he was still Secretary of State. Typical writing in some of the newspapers of the time is, “Mr. Washington has been twice atraitor,” has “authorized the robbery and ruin of the remnants of his own army,” has “broke the constitution,” by James Thomas Callender. But the “bitterest attack” came from Thomas Paine, who said of Washington, “the patron of fraud,” with a “mean and servile submission to the insults of one nation, treachery and ingratitude to another,” with “falsehood,” “ingratitude,” and “pusillanimity;” “and as to you, sir, treacherous in private friendship, and a hypocrite in public life, the world will be puzzled to decide, whether you are an apostate or an impostor; whether you have abandoned good principles, or whether you ever had any?”

              My point was that I get sick of hearing “Real Americans” pontificate on how things “should be,” when politics has always been a cruel and nasty profession—and the people who think the way they feel would have hated Washington, as well as the other Founding Fathers.

              As for the ACLU, I was saying we need them, so why are you taking offense?? And, are you telling me, you don’t understand that using quotation marks, as in “Real
              Americans” is a way to show sarcasm?

            • Goethe…History was not my major but it has always fascinated me. I am incredibly surprised that you would reference any writings of James
              Thomas Callender. He was the TMZ of his day. He was the new republic’s most notorious scandalmonger. During the 1790s, James Thomson
              Callender published vicious attacks on George Washington, John Adams, Alexander Hamilton, and other leading political figures. Today, he is best known as the journalist who first published the story that Thomas Jefferson had a decades-long affair with one of his slaves. He was the new republic’s most notorious scandalmonger. In 1800, Callender was one of several journalists indicted, tried, and convicted. He was fined $200 and sentenced to nine months in prison.

              Madison helped George Washington set up the new federal government by offering advice on public issues, including personnel selection. Washington also frequently asked Madison to write important public addresses, including Washington’s first inaugural address. The breach in their friendship came when James Madison sought to destroy the Senate-ratified Jay Treaty, Washington used the minutes of the Constitutional Convention to refute Madison’s arguments.

              Under President George Washington, Thomas Jefferson served as his Secretary of State and supported an alliance with France during the French Revolution. Alexander Hamilton who was Secretary of Treasury favored closer ties with Great Britain. Soon Jefferson and Hamilton hated each other and then, collectively, turned their wrath on Washington.

              Thomas Paine, who didn’t spend a lot his time in America, wrote, while in a fury over the Jay Treaty,an unprecedented attack on George Washington in the pages of the Aurora. Writing from Paris, Paine called Washington a creature of grossest adulation,” a man incapable of friendship, a hypocrite in public life,
              apostate and impostor”. President John Adams said of Thomas Paine s pamphlet “Common Sense”: “What a poor, ignorant, malicious, short-sighted, crapulous mass.” I am going to adopt that word “crapulous”

              In reality, it doesn’t seem too different from present day Washington.

              Signed: Jess

            • That was exactly my point. A lot of people want to go back to idyllic times that never existed.

              The truth is that while gentlemen seemed more genteel in the 18th century, the truth is that their hostilities were just better hidden. BOTH sides of every argument, then as now, consider themselves the “Real Americans,” as opposed to, I guess, ghosts, zombies, werewolves, and cartoon characters.

              Human nature was never repealed.

            • BTW–thanks for not taking me to the woodshed for calling you “Jess.” Don’t know how that happened. Maybe auto-correct, which is “auto-error” half the time.

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