The collective wisdom is that people can’t take their eyes off of a trainwreck; that we are hardwired to observe disasters as they happen A trainwreck holds a peculiar fascination for observers.
Well, personally, I reached my limit Tuesday night.
Like a lot of people, I tuned in to see the Pennsylvania Senate Debate between John Fetterman, the Democratic Lt. Governor of the state, and Republican Dr. Mehmet Oz on Tuesday night. This will be the only debate of the race. The Democrats think they have (or more accurately "had," until Tuesday night) a chance of flipping the seat.
The debate was too painful to watch to the end. I had to turn it off. It was a trainwreck that I simply could not watch for long. Fetterman didn't simply lose a debate, it was an act of self-immolation. Yes, Fetterman is the opposition for a race to control the Senate but watching Fetterman’s sad performance and self-destruction seemed dirty even if it was a political opponent.
There was nothing brave about Fetterman doing it. It was just sad. It was an obscene show and grab for power by Democrats who only know the lust for power even if it perpetrates patient abuse of a very ill man.
Tuning out was my luxury because I don’t live in that state. Unfortunately, the voters of Pennsylvania had to watch to inform their selection in their one and only debate.
There are some things that can’t be spun by partisans or the biased press even though they will try. This was an unmitigated disaster for Fetterman.
Snap polls said Dr. Oz won the debate with 88% although one has to ask what the other 12% were watching. Beyond the first snap polls, Insider Advantage released the first post-debate in-Pennsylvania poll and it shows Dr. Oz in the lead for the seat by 3%. The Real Clear Politics now rates the seat as a "Republican Hold."
Dr. Oz has steadily closed the gap in the polls in his campaign where the winds are not inherently favorable for a Republican. His strong performance in the debate just provided more contrast to Fetterman's poor performance. The choice between the two was clear and the new polls are beginning to reflect it. The debate should, if there is any common sense in Democratic Pennsylvania, put Dr. Oz into the Senate.
This was perhaps the most significant act of political malpractice ever perpetrated in the public arena. That statement isn’t hyperbole. I simply can’t think of anything worse that has ever happened in politics.
The malpractice wasn’t Fetterman attempting the debate, although that was stupid in its own right considering his condition, it was remaining in the race after his stroke during his Primary Campaign on May 13, 2022. We know now (although this campaign denied it for as long as they could) that it was a major stroke that almost cost him his life.
The man clearly needs to heal if, at this point, he can, considering the importance of the few months after a stroke for the overall outcome. The stress of a Senate campaign isn’t exactly in the therapeutics of a recovery.
John Fetterman was not ready for a Senate race or ready to fulfill the requirements of office if (and that is now a very big “if” in Pennsylvania) he were to win.
Fetterman’s Democratic Party failed him. His campaign team failed him. His donors failed him. His sycophant press failed him. His family failed him.
But Fetterman also failed himself. At some point, it was his responsibility to say, as best as he could, “I am not up to this.”
But oh no, Chuck Schumer needed the seat. Even dotty Joe Biden was trotted out to speak for Fetterman. Poor John Fetterman was chained to the front of the locomotive for this trainwreck and nobody cared.
In my personal opinion, people will look back on the Fetterman campaign as what Allan Laidlaw, in the Westminster Review of August of 1900, called an immoral play, "one which has a debasing, depressing, or perverting influence upon the majority of those listening to it and witnessing it." An immoral play about the naked quest for raw power at the expense of everything else, including the health of its principal.
Nobody in Fetterman’s camp will come out of this looking good. Plus, the only bright spot, the Republican will hold the seat.
About the DCRP Blog: The DCRP Blog is produced and edited in a collaborative effort by Susan Fountain, Executive Director of the Dallas County Republican Party (DCRP) and Bill Anderton, Dallas County Republican Precinct Chair of Precinct 2023. It is published on Fridays and Tuesdays. Some postings are co-authored by the two working together, some are authored individually by each and some are authored by guest authors.