September 15, 2011

WHEN EVEN LEFTWING RAGS ACCUSE YOU OF LEFTWING NUTTERY:

Michele Bachmann moves to the left (on crazy conspiracy theories): The suddenly flailing 2012 candidate adopts the popular liberal myth that injections are dangerous (Alex Pareene, 9/15/11, Salon)

But this isn't your typical right-wing conspiracy theory, about climate scientists plotting to destroy capitalism, or the U.N. using bike-share programs to institute a world government. This, this is a liberal conspiracy theory.

The "vaccines cause autism" lie is as liberal as conspiracy theories get. Crunchy coastal elites, panicky about the health of their babies in a world full of "toxins," are the ones not getting their kids vaccinated these days, because of something they read on the Internet (or saw on "Oprah"). The story has traction in part because it's anti-corporate. It insinuates collusion between the government and those damned pharmaceutical companies that are only out for profit. (The scientists, too, are in the pockets of big pharma!) This stuff doesn't get much play on the right, because it doesn't tap into the foundational myths of the conservative movement or play on their tribal fears. Right-wingers are more concerned about their babies being exposed to the mental toxins of liberal indoctrination than, say, mercury.

This is why Ace of Spades is mocking her. It's why Rush Limbaugh said she "jumped the shark." It's why the Corner featured multiple posts strongly decrying Bachmann's "dangerous flirtation with the anti-vaccine movement." Conservatives oppose giving girls the HPV vaccine because they want premarital sex to have (potentially deadly) consequences, not because they think vaccines are inherently dangerous.

But vaccine panic is big. It's specifically big with mothers. With Rick Perry sucking up Bachmann's support, she needs to branch out a bit. This is her version of "moving to the center." Michele Bachmann moderates her message by adding liberal conspiracy theories to her repertoire.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 15, 2011 9:29 PM
  
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