In his column today, Michael Gerson makes a very strong case that Representative Michele Bachmann, who said earlier this week that the HPV vaccine might cause mental retardation, “seems prone to a serious condition: the compulsive desire to confirm every evangelical stereotype of censorious ignorance.” Ms. Bachmann, meanwhile, has dug in, insisting she will not apologize for her remarks.
What Ms. Bachmann said in the aftermath of the GOP debate is beyond ignorant and beyond even stupid; it was downright harmful, raising concerns about a vaccine that are simply not true (we saw a similar thing happen with childhood vaccines and autism). By now Ms. Bachmann surely must know that — and so for her to continue to stand behind her comments is irresponsible and even disgraceful.
I suspect that she will, at some point, back away from what she said, simply because her comments were, literally, indefensible. But by then, the damage to her will be, and should be, massive.