The clear victor in tonight’s Republican debate, in my mind, was Michele Bachmann.
Besides watching the debate, I watched some post-debate interviews on Fox, and the one that was fascinating was Greta Van Susteren interviewing Sarah Palin. Governor Palin helped hammer home Michele Bachmann’s key jab at Rick Perry over his executive order as Governor of Texas that mandated the vaccination of 12-year-old girls against cervical cancer. Bachmann pointed out, and Palin reinforced the shady ties between Merck, a corporate supporter of Governor Perry, and the mandatory vaccinations, which resulted in millions of dollars of business for Merck. And while Governor Perry had, on the surface, a satisfactory answer, stating that he only received $5000 in donations from Merck, the whole matter has a suspicious tinge. Here is a supposedly principled conservative governor taking an uncharacteristically statist position, and when we do a little digging we find a corporate sponsor. And my suspicion is that there’s more to the story than a $5000 donation to Perry’s campaign.
I like the things Rick Perry is saying, but I must say that there are several of these areas where there is a tinge of suspicion. There is the tuition for illegals where I suspect there may have been some deals. There’s his conversion from Democrat to Republican immediately before his decision to run for statewide office in Texas. And there is the milking of the evangelical vote with his faith rally, which raises suspicions in my mind that he is using his religion inappropriately as a political tool.
And, on the other hand, we have Michele Bachmann who is extremely articulate and has yet to have to apologize for any position of any sort. The best flub anyone has pinned on her is that she didn’t know Elvis’s birthday. I simply don’t think the people who are saying she is not electable are thinking very deeply about this. Look at her performance, her smoothness, her courage, her tenacity, the clarity of her vision for the country, and how much more articulate she is than any of the serious competition.