After nearly seven years of getting brownie points with their base by opposing literally everything that Barack Obama supports it is hardly worth mentioning the GOP strategy of obstructionism anymore. Oh, Obama proposed something. I wonder if Republicans will come out against it. The drama.

Nonetheless, I am getting a real kick out of seeing right-wingers jump on the anti-vaccine bandwagon. Because if Barack Obama is for something, being against it is automatically a brilliant political strategy. Whereas the vast majority of the electorate stopped paying attention to this shit sometime during Obama's first year, this one might come back to bite the GOP in the ass. Not only is there some theoretical limit to how much stupidity the voting public will endorse, but Republicans appear to be miscalculating both the size and the nature of the anti-vaccine "movement." Badly.



Pictured above: The dumbest shit you will ever see.

Try as they might to make this some kind of individual liberty vs. Big Gub'mint issue, the vast majority of the American population is not wild about the idea of their kid getting whooping cough. And some voters are old enough to remember seeing some of their schoolmates hobbling around in clunky braces and with canes after polio waylaid them. The anti-vaccine position's popularity has been inflated by the strength of the reaction against it. This isn't climate change, an issue on which 40% of the public can oppose it based on motivated reasoning alone. This is not a popular belief.


Some Republicans seem to realize this, which is why they are hiding behind contorted arguments like "I think everyone should get vaccinated but I don't think the government should be able to force you" which, when one considers that the second clause in that statement negates the first, is the kind of thing that a high school aged libertarian might think is clever.

"The opposite of whatever the black guy said" has been a pretty successful strategy for the Republicans thus far, at least among their core supporters. This time, however, their knee-jerk opposition is going to blow up in their faces. If this becomes even a minor issue in 2016 the candidates are going to rue the day they said the word "vaccine."

56 thoughts on “LOYAL OPPOSITION”

  • Considering the double-down backfire effect, I have a hard time imagining any sort of ignorance or stupidity blowing up for a Republican candidate.

    When being Republican is part of your identity, you can never be mistaken about anything. Even if your own kid gets whooping cough…papilloma virus…measles…

    Plus, gerrymandering.

    Maybe some wrongful endangerment lawsuits are in order. Or even month-long house quarantines with signs in the windows and yards, just like the 50s.

  • I wholeheartedly support the Republicans embracing an anti-vaccination platform, because A. it's the logical conclusion of their anti-science platform and B. it means they'll all die.

  • I think you're being too optimistic, I'm sad to say. I don't think the result of this will be the discrediting of the Republicans, but that it will instead be a boon to the anti-vax movement, with plenty of people who felt that vaccines were safe suddenly having doubts. I mean, "public health" is just code for "government death squads" right?

  • On this one say what we will, a number of high ranking Republicans—at least in the Senate—have come out fighting as pro-vaccination, saying get vaccinated!
    Mississippi and WVa are leading the charge in vaccination rates. Yes there are pockets of Conservative asshattery and wanna be leaders of asshats who are trying to sound cool on this subject because… Obama! or sumptin'.

    Really, it's California and other "alternative" enclaves that are putting us most at risk. These are the kinds of asshats who might hear them say such f-tardary, and be swayed to vote for them. 'Cause Hillary or a sane Republican (on this topic) iz gunna take r kidz and fill 'em with the demon juice!!

  • Current Republicanism being faith based brings one main consequences: blind and total partisanship.

    And conservatism being the authoritarian it is, any candidate who will not speak 100% party line will either be straightened out or thrown out. Period.

  • I think you way overestimate the thoughtfulness of the average Republican voter. After all, they have been voting against their best interests for decades. Vaccines can be an issue, Republican voters can agree 95% with Democratic candidates and then still pull the lever for the Republican. Because FreeDumb.

  • I'll give Priggee the benefit of the doubt and assume that he drew a bad cartoon. But neither one of those are anything close to the dumbest shit I have ever seen when it comes to cartoonists. See anything else Bob Gorrell has ever drawn (or not drawn – he's turned in MULTIPLE "cartoons" that were just empty panels with captions), or the oeuvres of the brothers Glenn and Gary McCoy, among many, many other examples. Dumb and offensive is what they do for a living, so don't assume that a given dumb and offensive cartoon is the worst, because there's always something worse. Always.

  • Wotan Nichols says:

    Agreement w/Xynzee on this. I think the anti-vaxxers who are nominally on the leftish side greatly outnumber the anti-vaxxers who are right-libertarian.
    Neither group will vote for Hilary. I only hope the Pew results in the OP are correct & that most people are being sensible, at least on this subject.

  • I see a difference between what Christie did (he blundered in an attempt to overpander–Obama did something similar but less assertive in 2008, before regaining his senses, and McCain did the same, only in a more batsh!t crazy and even more wronger way), and what Rand Paul said, which was utterly irresponsible and took off the table any possibility that Paul might turn out to be sort of sensible some day (and shamed me for believing, even the tiny little bit I believed, that it was possible for him not to turn out to be anything but a moron).
    The political components of the antivax movement are well-mixed, right and left–the distribution really is roughly equal. For every crunchie green hippie vaccine refuser, there's a government-hating black helicopter conspiracy theorist, and the ever-popular Big Pharma scare attracts love from both sides.

  • Another way to think of it: in the debate between Jonas Salk and Jenny McCarthy the anti-vaxxers take the side of the girl who forgot to wear pants to work.

    Unique thinking on their part.

  • I actually do think that making vaccines mandatory is government overreach. As a woman, I'm damned tired of legislators making medical decisions about my body.

    However, those who refuse to vaccinate should have to bear the consequences in order to protect us sane people. E.g., no admission to public schools, public transportation, public buildings, libraries, movie theaters, doctors offices, supermarkets… Basically anywhere there are other human beings. So, you know, go ahead and make your choice.

  • Everyone I have ever known who is opposed to vaccinating their kids is a left-wing whack job…EVERY ONE. Granted that is only a hand-full of people, but they are all committed leftist.

    I have heard it said recently that if you want to talk to someone who is against vaccinations, go to a whole foods store, an anti-GMO rally, or pull over a prius driver. That fits perfectly with my admittedly anecdotal evidence (although I drive a prius and am not anti-vaccination). Point is, those who believe vaccinations can cause autism are overwhelmingly liberal (like, say Obama and Clinton just a few years ago). I don't really know of any republicans who are against the science of vaccinations (give me a name…please) just the notion of the government mandated vaccinations, and very few of those.

  • There's no mystery about why Republicans dislike science. It isn't a reliable partisan soldier and can't be trusted to ignore reality while it marches to the party line. In fact, science often contradicts the party line with like facts and stuff!

    On the other hand, science gives us sonic blasters for crowd control and drones and dial-testing focus groups, little blue pills and fracking! It also keeps plagues from cluttering our lawns with bodies of people who ought to be working.

    So what's a burgeoning pluto-idiocratic alliance going to do with such a dilemma? Mock and shout down science in the public sphere – while making use of it in real life. Sometimes they can't finesse it, like with the anti-vaxxer thing – where the rabble don't apply the story right and everyone gets confused about what parts of science we're supposed to hate on.

    But they'll get things back on script before too long, I'm sure. The wheels of capitalism have become dependent on other, more advanced forms of human misery, and epidemics just gum up the works.

    All this makes me grumpy.

  • Dookie, I think one distinction is that the spectacle at least when it comes to the politics is that the Democrats have not been pandering to their fringe crackpots, while a decent sub-set of Republicans and their apologists have stumbled in their ongoing pandering to the fringes and their party member's worst tendencies. Anti-science isn't a plank in the platform like it is for the GOP.

  • @Dookie – the Texas GOP actually has an anti-vax plank in the party platform.

    Also, the GOP senator from North Carolina is opposed to restaurant employes washing their hands.

    And Ed, never underestimate the stupidity of the American voter. Remember that 59,000,000 people thought that a poorly educated, semi-literate grifter from Alaska — who had never finished one thing she started — was presidential material.

  • Mayya, I agree gov't. officials shouldn't make medical decisions about your body, but letting vaccination be optional results in gov't. inaction making bad, harmful medical decisions about my and my children's bodies.

    I also agree that non-vax'd people–adults, kids–should therefore be barred from all public spaces. I've said the same thing myself, but only satirically. It's unenforceable and, to the extent that it's even a little enforceable, it's in retrospect–they catch and prosecute the violator only after someone else catches the disease.

    Surely if having a government means anything, it means having the ability to protect the general public–whether from armed attack, natural catastrophe, or infectious disease. Making abortion illegal is government overreach. Requiring that everyone be vaccinated isn't.

  • Wotan Nichols Says:

    "Agreement w/Xynzee on this. I think the anti-vaxxers who are nominally on the leftish side greatly outnumber the anti-vaxxers who are right-libertarian."

    This has actually been studied. You're wrong.

    I second Anubis Bard – note which part has mainstream politicians who are anti-vax, and which party does not.

    Actually, I haven't heard of even the fringiest of Democratic politicians being anti-vax.

  • I know, ant-vaccination parent's, that you consider your children to be 100% pure special little snowflakes.

    Snowflakes you don't want to have impurities vaccinated into.

    And I could understand that ii you were consistent in your "philosophy."

    So, don't your 100% pure special little snowflake children deserve 100% pure special little snowflake pets?

    So, don't vaccinate your pets for rabies of distemper.
    Don't de-worm them.
    Or give them anything other than regular checkups.
    That should work out well too, don't you think?

    Feckin' Eedjits!!!

  • What are you guys worried about? GAWWWWD will protect the 7 year old with leukemia (who cannot get vaccinated) from the decreased herd immunity! (Grrr.)

    There are consequences FOR OTHER PEOPLE from this nuttery. Sadly, both Hard Core Crunchy Granola Lefties and KKK Conservatives are not known for their empathy or long range thinking.

  • "The opposite of whatever the black guy said" has been a pretty successful strategy for the Republicans thus far

    After the way the idiots in the GOP reacted to Obama's suggestion that people should get vaccinated, I'm now convinced that he needs to make a very public statement on the dangers of drinking pure bleach.

    Because I really am now very curious as to how far this "anything Obama says must be wrong" approach to politics can be pushed.

  • The mere fact that there is a debate about whether to vaccinate your children or not will never cease to confound me. Never.

  • Dookie Our family has not one but three hybrid vehicles, 2 of which are Priuses. We are committed to vaccinations far more than most people. I live with the continual complications of my struggle with measles as a child. Disease prevention by vaccination is one of the top accomplishments of modern medicine. I very much resent being lumped in with anti-vaccine nutters, because I drive cars that get great gas mileage.

    In the area where I live, which is an Appalachian Region of a large state, the vast majority of anti-vaccine cranks are right leaning. They range in intensity of belief from making fun of people getting the annual flu shot (bunch of sissies, flu is no big deal) to the full blown government conspiracy theorists and religionists who think disease is caused by sin.

    Anubis Bard, your analysis of how the two parties look and use science is spot on. Thanks!

  • One of my older sisters had a classmate who came down with polio and lived the rest of her life in an iron lung. This young woman was an extremely bright and pleasant young person. Her disability prevented her from fully participating in life away from her iron lung. Her family had a large picture window in their house, so she could see outside. Seeing her trapped in that iron lung was one of the those sad memories that has stuck with me. She must have been a person of tremendous inner strength to withstand such a restricted life with wit and charm. She was one of those people who learned to draw and paint with her teeth as the only muscles she had control of were from the neck up.

    The anti-vaccine nuttiness needs to be ridiculed until it stops. IMO there should not be an religious exemption at all.

  • Giant Monster Gamera says:

    "Also, the GOP senator from North Carolina is opposed to restaurant employes washing their hands."

    Technically, he's opposed to the government requiring that employees wash their hands. He'd rather make it optional and let the free market sort it out if people end up sick.

    In Libertopia, you'd be smart if, before you sit down to a meal at a restaurant, you'd go over a basic sanitary checklist with management.

  • @Greatlaurel- sounds like Pennsyltucky. My wife is from coal country and the number of people who hate the gub'mint and dem "moochers" is surprisingly large, considering any funds or state or government ANYTHING is there because Pittsburgh and Philadelphia provide all of the tax dollars to keep the state running. Not to mention, the coal industry chewed up the land and the people, and then spit them out to fend on their own with dirty, polluted, and in the case of Centralia, uninhabitable parcels on which to forge their collective futures. But you know, freedom, regulations kills jobs, etc.
    Rand Paul is a fraud of the 1st order. Yeah, he might say some not dumb things every now and again, but it's like throwing wet toilet paper at a wall- something is bound to stick sooner or later. He says it should be a "choice" to vaccinate your children. You could also argue it's a choice if you want to throw your child in front of a moving train, but you'd be arrested for murder if you did that. Courts have ruled that refusing medical treatment to your child because of some crackpot belief can be considered child abuse. Why are vaccines treated differently? The freedom to swing your fist ends at my nose. The freedom to be a shitty parent ends when it could result in your child getting sick or sickening others. We don't allow parents to send their kids to school with anti-freeze slushies for the whole class to share, why are vaccines treated differently? As Ed says, the "you should do it, but it should be a choice" argument is dumb. Like everything else the Libertarians are supposedly for "freedom" when in fact they want "freedom from responsibility" and "freedom from taxes". For example, Rand Paul either doesn't understand how the Fed works, or he does and he's lying for political gain. The vaccination crap is the same goddamn thing. He supposedly has medical training, which means he either knows better and is a lying sack of shit, or he doesn't know better and he's fucking moron.
    I agree with NonyNony, President Obama should get up and say things like "Eating paint chips is bad for you" or "Fucking animals is heath hazard and just plain fucked up" or "Smoking crack in bed is bad, because you can light your sheets on fire" or any other such nuggets of wisdom. The Republicans would be fucking horses, eating paint chips and smoking crack, all while in bed the next day. To use an overused term, he should totally "troll" the Republican party to see just how much of their "ideas" consist of "whatever the black guy does is BAAAAD"

  • @greatlaurel – Yeah, I kind of resent it too…might I suggest you reread my comment?

    What does "We are committed to vaccinations far more than most people" mean anyway? You get each vaccination twice? One for each arm? Or ass check? Super secrete vaccinations no one else knows about?

    On second thought, regarding my previous suggestion to reread my comment…nevermind.

  • dookie, I can only assume you did not read all of my post if you are making fun of me for my commitment to the importance of vaccinations and why I might be a little more committed than most to the importance of vaccines. Also, there are vaccines that are not mandatory that one can obtain, for instance, shingles and pneumonia. I guess you are not that familiar with the full range of vaccines currently available, some of which are not mandatory. Perhaps a the qualifier of "more than most people I know" would have helped your comprehension and reduced the risk of you taking offense. FYI, it is possible to check immunization titers for at risk young people to make sure they have full immunity. Young people with asthma or other respiratory issues should check to make sure they have full immunity to whooping cough. It is also a good idea that young men and women have their titers checked for MMR. Mumps can cause sterility for men if they get it as an adult. Rubella can cause horrible birth defects if a pregnant woman comes down with it. I highly recommend checking titers if you have insurance that will cover it or some extra cash.

  • @Khaled, outstanding post.

    Eastern and Southern Ohio have the same problems as the coal mined sections of Pennsylvania.

  • Unfortunately, children in leg braces and wheelchairs make great targets for focused prayer and to rile people into anger about how much the Gummint has done to screw them over. Look how horribly our kids have been maimed– must be them unions or something. The more suffering, the more anger to focus on dismantling civil society.

  • I am grateful that I can put pro-vaccination screeds on my Facebook page and not have anyone object. That's the kind of echo chamber I like.

    My Facebook friends are the kind of people who do not regret voting for Obama, but wish he was more leftist.

  • Gerald McGrew says:

    First, anti-vax idiocy has a slight right-wing bias.


    Finally…..SERIOUSLY? When in recent history has being on the wrong side of a scientific issue significantly harmed the Republican party? Just since Reagan, they've been on the wrong side of acid rain, HIV, global warming, evolution, genetic engineering, the ozone layer, endangered species…..

    ….and what exactly has any of that cost them? NOTHING.

    They'll keep doing this as long as they can get away with it.

  • Say what you want about the anti-vaxxer position, but it damn, it sure does require a certain amount of boldness to publicly endorse disease, pestilence, and death. But then again, maybe not. That was kinda…exactly the republican position already. So maybe this is just maintaining the status quo

  • Some Republicans seem to realize this, which is why they are hiding behind contorted arguments like "I think everyone should get vaccinated but I don't think the government should be able to force you" which, when one considers that the second clause in that statement negates the first, is the kind of thing that a high school aged libertarian might think is clever.

    The second clause does not negate the first. It is entirely possible to believe that everyone should do something, yet not believe that it is appropriate for the government to force them to do it. Collectively recognizing the difference between those two is pretty fundamental to having any sort of freedom at all.

    Many people would say that about voting, or eating too much bacon, or refraining from the use of most psychoactive drugs.

    The valid argument for mandatory vaccination depends on the fact that having more than a threshold percentage of individuals who are not vaccinated in a population puts the entire population at increased risk, not just the individuals who opt out.

    I've tried to tell anti-vaxxers that if they really care about their right not to vaccinate their children, they should STFU about it, because the more people there are who choose not to vaccinate, the closer we come to a level of public health risk that will make government coercion unavoidable. I don't think any of them have gotten the point, though.

  • (Got that a bit mixed up… should have been either "eating a healthy diet" or "not eating too much bacon"…)
    (Though I suppose someone, somewhere does feel that we should all eat excessive amounts of bacon, yet grudgingly accepts that it wouldn't be right for the government to force us to do so…)

  • The anti-vaxxers are extreme left and extreme right, but the extreme leftists don't vote because every party takes money from Monsanto or they vote Green because they live outside of the idea of their vote mattering. The extreme right wing anti-vaxxers sometimes vote, but when they do it's Libertarian or Republican (not that there's much difference.) I've known and met many on each extreme of the spectrum, and they both suck.

    This is an issue that will hurt Rand Paul more than most of the Republicans, because he's the guy who has the strongest links to the lunatics (at least among the GOP Presidential hopefuls.) I think anything that hurts Rand Paul is something that's probably good for America.

  • Priggee has drawn pro-vaccination cartoons in the past, so this particular cartoon is very, very odd.

    Bob Gorrell is reliably a dolt, though, so his "effort" checks out.

  • Anti-vaxers remind me of creationists. They just want a "choice" too and to keep up the idea that "The Flintstones" is a documentary. The thing is there is no debate on creationism. Evolution is like the speed of sound. It's not "just a theory" in the fashion they would like us to believe. Neither is that vaccines don't cause autism: "Just a theory."

    What is just a theory is that crank Republicans can use anti-vaxers the same way they used Jerry Falwell's contented cows.

    I have two friends that got shingles. What a horror it is. That was enough for me. The shingles vaccine isn't cheap but my doctor was convincing enough to not let me get away with just that for an excuse.

  • Rightwingers arguments lean along the lines of opposing *mandated* vaccinations, and da gub'mint telling me what to do, and choice and freeDUMBz. More along Mayya's reasoning.
    There was the church in Texarse that was opposed to vaccination, but as soon as they had an outbreak of measles in the congregation, they quickly changed their tune and mobilised a vaccination campaign for their church and community. Yes someone left the proverbial gate open, but they understand now.

    On the anti-science side is… one Dr. Jenny McCarthy. Now there's an icon of radical rightwing thought if there ever was one.

    So if Rand Paul shouting, vote for me and you won't be required to vaccinate your snowflakes. All the while whispering, pay no attention while I let Monsanto dump their GMOs into the market place. Who do you think they're going to vote for?

    Loopy conspiracy theories are not the sole bastion of left or right.

    There was a great quote on Maher the other day on this. What we're seeing are the symptoms of what happens when government and certain professions—in this case medicine—lose their moral authority. The medical profession has spent a little too much time becoming a money spinner+ and the government has been populated by politicians on the take that the average person feels they can no longer trust either of these institutions.

    +I wonder how much of this mistrust is due to proper medical care being financially out of reach for so many people. Thus the interest in natural therapies as they're perceived as affordable by comparison.

  • There's a real easy campaign pivot here that has the added benefit of being true.

    "While the Democrats are busy trying to fix the economy, help people struggling to raise families, fix our infrastructure and provide people help with health care, the Republicans are busy arguing over issues adults resolved 1930s."

  • Christie said he vacinates his kids but his position on vacination as citizen doesn ' t mean that this should effect his position as a governor – does the same aply to his position on murder?

  • Is that second cartoon from Mallard Fillmore? It seems to have that same combination of mean-spirited and stupid that is a hallmark of that "comic" strip.

  • And din't forget, it's the right wingers who don't want to vaccinate their daughters against HPV because the vaccine will make them sexually promiscuous.

  • I never underestimate the capability of the average Republican politician to bamboozle their numbskull constituency. These are, after all, pretty much the same genus/species of maroon that blame Obama for Katrina. Probably Pearl Harbor as well.

    Fuck 'em. Let 'em eat measles. They clearly do not understand anything until you break one off in their ass, and even then half of 'em believe it's whatever Dummycrat is on their shit list that week.

  • Considering the crazy shit my winger relatives believe about Obama, I could see them going anti-vax if Fox & Friends decides to spoon-feed that particular brand of craziness to their viewers. And if that's what it takes to elect Republicans, they will.

  • @Skipper: I'm pretty sure the moron from North Carolina only opposes a LAW mandating hand washing for restaurant employees. I don't agree with his opposition to such a law, but it is somewhat different from saying that hand washing is a bad idea. I don't think heroin use is a good idea, but I don't think the government should prevent adults from using it.

  • My Truth Hurts says:

    All we can hope for is that Obama will come out strongly against suicide and then just sit back and see what happens.

  • My Truth Hurts says:

    Some of the comments here are hilarious in their attempts to have it both ways. For example

    "Mayya Says:
    February 11th, 2015 at 8:44 am

    I actually do think that making vaccines mandatory is government overreach. As a woman, I'm damned tired of legislators making medical decisions about my body.

    However, those who refuse to vaccinate should have to bear the consequences in order to protect us sane people. E.g., no admission to public schools, public transportation, public buildings, libraries, movie theaters, doctors offices, supermarkets… Basically anywhere there are other human beings. So, you know, go ahead and make your choice."

    This is stupid and part of the problem people have is separating the current big pharama business model of jacking us all up on chemicals for profit versus established medical science. Yes drug makers are fucking evil and white republicans often attack abortion and mandate procedures for women which are absurd, but the government has a right and a duty to protect the integrity of public health. Measles and other vaccines are established science and protect the public health. They should be mandated and their mandate should come from established medical research and opinion. That is not the same thing a Sen Bubba Huckleberry (R – Deep South) being a god botherer about your lady parts.

    Like everything else in life these are not black and white issues, there is some grey. That vaccines prevent diseases and outbreaks however IS black and white.

  • It was probably "hilarious" because it was written tongue in cheek. Sorry you didn't understand, but at any rate I appreciated you "stupid" evaluation, which _I_ found hilarious…

  • "I don't agree with his opposition to such a law, but it is somewhat different from saying that hand washing is a bad idea."

    Actually, I think he said that gummint shouldn't make them wash their hands but SHOULD make them post a sign to the effect that their employees were filthy assholes. How this lessens the gummint's overreach is beyond me.

  • I don't know why people are trying to make this a "left vs. right" thing. Anyone who is anti-vax (without medical reason) is a fucking nutball who endangers all of us and their own kids.

Comments are closed.