I didn’t watch the Tea Party debate last night, though it looks like I should have–the entertainment value would have been huge. But a couple of things are striking in reviewing the bloodied and beaten aftermath.

First off, what does it mean when Ron Paul comes out as the voice of reason among all of the candidates? After all, this is the man who wants government out of most regulatory activities, for taxes to be simplified, for government programs to be widely eliminated, for the federal government to stop dictating how states can do things and use funding, and, ultimately, he even proposed that the country should go back on the gold standard and stop deficit spending.

And, oddly, he was asked a hypothetical question about government’s role in healthcare which found his response both at odds with and in support of Republican doctrine, but which got a very surprising response from the Tea Party crowd. Paul (a doctor) was asked if a 30-year-old man who chose not to purchase health insurance and ends up in the hospital in a coma and needing long term care should be treated or left to die. The candidate retreated to his medical roots and said that no one should be turned away based on their ability to pay. But some of the crowd actually cheered at the statement by the questioner to ask if the patient should die.

This coming from Republicans. The self-avowed party of life.

In another instance, Michelle Bachman tried to pick apart Rick Perry–who, incidentally looks increasingly like a charicature or puppet as the campaign goes along–on his executive order as Governor of Texas, ordering 11 and 12 year old girls to get the Gardisil HPV vaccine.

Now back in high school and college, I’d been taught about a concept in politics that says that the liberal-to-conservative spectrum is not a line, but rather a circle, where the extreme ends of conservatism meet the extreme ends of liberalism and actually share values.

Michelle Bachman crossed that divide last night with her argument with Perry. She was appalled that “little girls” would not be given the choice of getting the vaccine and that it would be a government mandate. And then, in an interview after the debate, she went on to assert that the vaccine had caused mental retardation in a girl, as told to her by a crying mother after the debate.

Now, keep in mind that Gardisil was a vaccine that had its clinical trial stopped early because it had proven to be 100% effective in preventing the human papilloma virus, which in turn causes cervical cancer. Eliminate the virus, and you can take a major step in eliminating the cancer. The vaccine in all tests and trials have proven to be extremely safe and effective.

Except in Michelle Bachman land. Where, apparently, being vaccinated should be an option only because it shouldn’t be mandated by the government. Never mind whether or not it’s effective of good for society if someone is healthy. I’d previously thought that the people who opposed vaccinations were the extremely liberal–hippies who believe in herbal therapies and are sure the government is trying to control their kids through the vaccines which they also alleged were laced with mercury and all kinds of evil chemicals–and the extremely conservative, who believe that only God and holistic medicine should perform feats of health care.

I feel much better now that I can call Michelle Bachmann a radical liberal, in addition to being a radical conservative.

As an aside, wouldn’t a political party, concerned with preserving life, be all for every effort to prevent cancer? I mean, if the vaccine were proven to prevent, say, lung cancer, I’m pretty sure they’d be all over that, because the vaccine would save lives, and reduce the cost of health care. Ah, but wait…We can’t require people to get it…That’s the rub…

Okay. Promise to myself that I will watch the next GOP debate. I might learn somethin’.

See you tomorrow.