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As a result, Mr. Hoyt argued, “there are many social conservatives very much engaged in the tea party. And I would submit that the mandated vaccination issue isn’t specifically a ‘parental rights’ issue. It’s about the larger national conversation and awakening about the proper role of government.”

Some of the most party’s most visible social conservatives are bothered less by the pay-for-play allegation than by the inoculation issue. But even then, many say that the Texas governor remains the party’s best bet for 2012 right now.

“The ‘crony capitalism’ charge has no basis and — for good reason — will not stick,” said religious right leader Jim Garlow, chairman of Renewing America’s Leadership. “However, conservatives are fundamentally unhappy with Perry’s decision regarding HPV for the very reason Bachmann pointed out — that is, parental rights. Conservatives feel he was and is wrong on that issue.”

“He made a mistake, which he admits, although his motivation was one we appreciate - protecting life,” said constitutional scholar and Liberty Institute President Kelly Shackelford.

Mr. Perry has cultivated as personal relationship with the nation’s leading social conservatives with a national prayer day and a meeting with 200 invited guests at the ranch of a Perry friend outside of Austin last month. Some now seem willing to go the extra mile for him.

“The only way that the executive-order issue will unite conservatives against Perry is if the debate never proceeds past sound-bites,” said David Barton, president of the national pro-family organization WallBuilders.