So when does an anti-government conservative switch sides? Answer: When a drug company bent on government requiring use of its products offers support.
The flap over Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s executive order to vaccinate teenage girls against cancer usually misses the point. Some say it proves he’s a big government believer, but the truth is more complicated: It proves he’s for sale.
Perry signed an executive order a few years ago to administer a drug made by a company, Merck, that just so happened to be one of his biggest political supporters and cash contributors. Conservatives then and now bristle at the notion of government mandating drug injections. Perry, who typically advocates such anti-government rhetoric, had his reasons to veer from that course:
Associated Press (2007): Merck is bankrolling efforts to pass laws in state legislatures across the country mandating its Gardasil vaccine for girls as young as 11 or 12. It doubled its lobbying budget in Texas and has funneled money through Women in Government, an advocacy group made up of female state legislators around the country. Perry has several ties to Merck and Women in Government. One of the drug company’s three lobbyists in Texas is Mike Toomey, his former chief of staff. His current chief of staff’s mother-in-law, Texas Republican state Rep. Dianne White Delisi, is a state director for Women in Government.
Perhaps this is a warning sign for conservatives and potential comfort for liberals. For the right price Rick Perry is not a right wing ideologue after all.