It’s easy to write off Rick Perry as a right wing lunatic and an idiot. After all, he denies climate change and evolution and believes social security is nothing more than a taxpayer financed Ponzi scheme that must be abolished. However much Perry believes the absurdities he spews publicly, it is not simply ideological jibberish. In fact, one might wonder if it is ideological at all.
Case in point: as governor of Texas, he mandated HPV vaccinations for teenage girls. It was a great move in terms of public health. However, it was the antithesis of what a typical right wing Christian fundamentalist would support. Many fundamentalists argue that HPV vaccinations promote premarital sex and teenage sexuality, that it is an invasion of privacy and usurps parental control, and that it is classic Big Government waste and repression.
It turns out that Perry’s seemingly hypocritical policy on HPV was shaped by his ties to Merck, which produces HPV vaccine. When confronted with this fact, Perry claimed he only received $5,000 from the pharmaceutical giant, according to Democracy Now. “If you think I can be bought for $5,000, I’m offended.”
It turns out that he actually received $30,000 from Merck and he can be bought—it just requires slightly more money. However, $30,000 is still pretty cheap, and a fantastic deal for Merck.
Perry’s connections with Merck are not limited to direct campaign donations. One of his aids was also a lobbyist for Merck. The drug company has also donated $380,000 to the Republican Governors Association since 2006, the same year that Perry began to play a prominent role in the organization.