Why Rick Perry Won’t Unite the Republican Party


Conor Friedersdorf
The Atlantic
August 18, 2011

Before Gov. Rick Perry entered the race for the Republican nomination, the conventional wisdom held that unlike other candidates, he would be acceptable to every constituency on the right. Early polls confirm that GOP voters are tentatively supportive as they get to know him, his issues, and his record. But the scrutiny that comes with a presidential run often persuades voters to reconsider their initial assessments. And it is important that they do so with Perry. Information that has emerged or garnered new attention in the few days since he entered the race suggests that, contrary to the conventional wisdom, almost every constituency on the right can find something about his record to be upset about. Is Perry’s early appeal all hat and no cattle?

SOCIAL CONSERVATIVES

They’re upset that in 2007, Perry mandated that all sixth-grade girls in Texas receive the vaccine for HPV, a virus that leads to cervical cancer and is most commonly transmitted via sex. The Texas legislature ultimately overruled Perry, and he has since apologized for what he says was a mistake he made because of his hatred for cancer. (Really.) Michele Malkin is among the right-leaning pundits who aren’t ready to forgive. “The PerryCare executive fiat was not simply a one-off mistake explained away by lack of ‘research,’” she writes. “It exposed a fundamental lapse in both political and policy judgments, an appalling lack of ethics and a disturbing willingness to smear principled defenders of limited government who object to the Nanny State.”

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