Being Right: The Wizard of Oz Sends Fetterman Home

Nate Biller, Contributing Writer

On Oct. 25, Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman (D) and Dr. Mehmet Oz (R) met for the first and – at the firm insistence of the Fetterman campaign – only time, to face off ahead of the impending election for Pennsylvania’s open Senate seat.

This one-sided demonstration should put to rest any question of whether Fetterman is medically sound to serve in the office these two men are vying for. It was a given that he would have difficulty stringing his sentences together throughout the debate, as has been the case ever since his stroke six months ago. But his performance erased any doubt that his lack of cognition is as much as his lack of linguistic ability.

His inability to comprehend the moderator’s questions without the assistance of two closed captioning monitors an accommodation generously agreed to by the Oz campaign, Politico reports was proof enough that his recovery was progressing more shakily than he’d let on. And his signature word salads were far more jumbled than usual. But his refusal to disclose his medical records regarding the stroke further confirms this.

Whatever doctor cleared Fetterman to go on that debate stage, let alone run for Senate, should be sued for malpractice. Pennsylvanians should have been skeptical already when news broke, per the Washington Examiner, that this same doctor, Dr. Clifford Chen, was a donor to his campaign.

However, it is too easy to pin Fetterman’s abysmal performance on his health. Anyone paying attention already knew that he was more impaired than he would ever admit, and those who ignore this fact default to accusing those expressing concern of bullying the poor lieutenant governor. The real takeaway from this debate is just how flawed Fetterman really is, even absent his condition.

It was clear that he’d come woefully underprepared that night, struggling with even the most basic policy questions. He was left frozen like a buffering computer when asked to explain his contradictory statements on fracking, having previously said in a YouTube interview, “I don’t support fracking at all and I never have.” Eventually realizing he could not reconcile his own words, Fetterman stumbled through his answer: “I do support fracking, and I don’t, I don’t I support fracking, and I stand, and I do support fracking.” Inspiring words from the lieutenant governor.

Fetterman embraced a few white lies across the debate to discredit his opponent. Such was the case when they talked about healthcare. Oz, a professed moderate and former heart surgeon, lambasted the lieutenant governor for supporting the socialized medicine platforms of other such progressives as Senator Bernie Sanders.

“Again, it’s the Oz rule, he’s on television and he’s lying,” Fetterman retorted. “I never supported any of that thing.” This late in the debate, it had already become abundantly clear that Fetterman had done less than the bare minimum to prepare, but you could be forgiven for thinking that he would have at least read his own website, where it states, “In the Senate, I will support any legislation that gets us closer to the goal of universal health care coverage.”

This was a regular occurrence throughout the night. Cognizant of the fact that he couldn’t compete with Oz on the debate stage, Fetterman often defaulted to accusing his opponent of lying without any actual rebuttal, trying to get the ball rolling on a term he dubbed “the Oz rule.” But, like fetch, it’s never gonna happen.

In contrast to the disheveled lieutenant governor, Dr. Oz made succinct, professional arguments throughout the event. He stayed true to his marketing as a moderate choice for the people of Pennsylvania, staunchly opposing the interference of the federal government on the state’s way of life in all manners discussed. He even openly acknowledged this would put him at odds with his own party on major issues, such as abortion. “I am not gonna support federal rules that block the ability of states to do what they wish to do,” Oz said of fellow Republican Lindsey Graham’s recently introduced anti-abortion bill.

The difference between these two men that night was not lost on their audience, with Mehmet Oz now leading Fetterman for the first time in this race by a margin of two points, according to a poll by Emerson College and The Hill. Recognizing his loss, Fetterman, like the 6-foot-8 manchild he is, finished the night with a tantrum, trying to shout down his opponent in the middle of his closing statement.

But many public figures only supported Fetterman more aggressively after this sad display. Even Oprah Winfrey came out to say, “If I lived in Pennsylvania, I would have already cast my vote for John Fetterman for many reasons.” Though she notably provided none of them.

In any sane society, Fetterman’s party would have given him two years to convalesce for the next race and replaced him with someone capable. At the very least, his team would have encouraged him to step down instead of enabling this debilitated man. Instead, their willful ignorance stands on full display in a shining example of political partisanship.