Ethics Dunce: Pennsylvania Lt. Governor John Fetterman

Fetterman is the Democratic nominee in an upcoming US Senate election that could determine whether Republicans can take over control of that half of Congress. He suffered a strokeA right before the Democratic primary last month, and had been unacceptably vague about the episode as well as his health generally. Yesterday the facts began to come out. Fetterman, 52, and his physician confirmed that he has a heart condition called cardiomyopathy as well as an irregular heartbeat, or atrial fibrillation. [Full disclosure: I been an atrial fibrillater for decades. But I’m just an ethicist, and have no significance whatsoever. Unlike Fetterman, however, I do take my medication.]

A pacemaker and defibrillator have now been implanted, but Fetterman is still not well enough to begin campaigning, and it is uncertain when he will be sufficiently recovered. Moreover, the revelation of cardiomyopathy is not just news, but significant news that Fetterman’s campaign initially withheld. According to the Mayo Clinic, cardiomyopathy can lead to heart failure. It’s  disease of the heart muscle that reduces the organ’s ability to pump blood to  the body and brain.Fetterman’s cardiologist, in his written statement, also said that when Fetterman was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation and a decreased heart function in 2017, he was prescribed medicine, lifestyle changes and follow-up appointments, but  “did not go to any doctor for 5 years and did not continue taking his medications.” “Like so many others, and so many men in particular, I avoided going to the doctor, even though I knew I didn’t feel well,” Fetterman said in his own statement. “As a result, I almost died.”

“Everybody does it,” the Granddaddy of Rationalizations! This is the beginning of what will obviously be a concerted spin effort by Democrats.

Former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell, still a Democratic power-broker in the state and a former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, said yesterday that he had no doubts about  Fetterman’s  health and that he did not think it would be an issue for voters. “When I was governor, the Republicans used to say I was one cheese steak away from having a heart attack, and I never did,” Rendell said. Well I’m convinced! The fact that what Republicans said about you to mock your weight didn’t come true proves that someone else who doesn’t take care of himself and has different health issues than you did  is fit as a fiddle. Thanks Ed!

The New York Times, a de facto Democratic Party propaganda organ, chimed in by reminding us that Bush VP Dick Cheney had heart issues. “He finished two terms in the White House, including a hard-fought re-election campaign in 2004,” quoth the Times. This might be the first time ever that the Times has endorsed the conduct of Dick Cheney.

Fetterman is ethically obligated to withdraw from the Senate race and let another Democrat run whose health isn’t in doubt. Is he any different in this respect from the officials and candidates of both parties who are irresponsibly continuing in crucial jobs when the Grim Reaper is looming? No, he’s exactly the same as all those octogenarians, as well as Joe Biden. It is irresponsible. It is also unfair to his party, his state and the public.

In one of God’s little jokes, Fetterman’s Republican opponent is a doctor, Mehmet Oz, the TV quack inflicted on American by Oprah Winfrey. I’m sure he can make metaphorical hay out of Fetterman’s heart issues. Oz is completely unqualified to be a U.S. Senator, but he’s a celebrity and a TV personality, but that was enough for the Republican primary voters, apparently. He shouldn’t be allowed in the Senate without a ticket, but at least he’s not a substantial risk to kick the bucket or to end up a vegetable after he’s elected.

It’s truly nauseating that Pennsylvania can’t find two qualified, healthy candidates to vie for such a critical position. The fact that Fetterman is staying in the race itself is disqualifying. It proves that he’s selfish and untrustworthy.


14 thoughts on “Ethics Dunce: Pennsylvania Lt. Governor John Fetterman

  1. But Fetterman is ahead of Oz in the polls! And if he dies in office, who cares. Pennsylvania’s Democrat governor can just auction of the sear, er, appoint a Democrat to serve out Fetterman’s six-year term.

            • But he can hardly walk either. I prefer thinking of him as the first sitting animatronic president. Disney usually waits until they’re out of office, but desperate times called for desperate measures.

              • Disney is evidently running the White House insofar as Ron Klain is making noises about moving on, as if he’s a normal chief of staff. What a joke. But maybe they’re just going to step aside and let Bob Chapek program Biden.

  2. Atrial fibrillation, as Jack says, is very common and, if treated, rarely contributes to functional deficits (or death).
    Cardiomyopathy is a blanket term for a spectrum of illnesses. Without further information (and without a diagnosis of any degree of heart failure), I would not consider this something disqualifying.
    I think Mr Fetterman is running into trouble straddling the line between being frank about his ability to do his job and not disclosing more personal health information than is needed. Really, to me, the fact that he was not treating his atrial fibrillation is more indicative of his poor character/decision-making than the fact that he has either condition.
    – not a cardiologist, but an MD

    • “[T]he fact that he was not treating his atrial fibrillation is more indicative of his poor character/decision-making.”


  3. I am interested in knowing exactly what qualifies anyone to be in the Senate. My understanding is that Senators simply need to be 30 years old and a citizen. I mean if Corey Booker is qualified then just about anyone is qualified. To say this candidate is unqualified to be in the Senate suggests that the people who are elected them are unqualified to vote. That is not a belief I can support. To label someone a quack without giving evidence is not something I can believe no matter how high I hold the speaker in esteem. Individuals can have that opinions about a candidate but without establishing why one has been that opinion it is simply an unsubstantiated one, and only valuable to that person. We have had many people elected who have proven themselves unworthy of the office and the voters have removed them. The bias regarding qualifications may be legitimate but the candidates in question could prove the opinion invalid. The voters will make the assessment.

    • Those aren’t qualifications, they are minimum qualifications. You can certainly find plenty of evidence of Oz’s quackery online, the point is that he has no governing experience or expertise at all, isn’t a lawyer, and thus absent a bolt from the blue, has no business deliberating on laws. Voters sometimes remove unfit Senators—usually they don’t. Ted Kennedy killed a young woman, covered it up, and was reelected repeatedly. I feel secure in concluding that felon who escaped justice by pure celebrity and family resources is no qualified to be Senator, and I am similarly secure in that conclusion about Oz (and Herschel Walker, for that matter.) Here’s one of many explorations of his quackery:

  4. Jack,
    My understanding of unqualified means not meeting any qualifications. If one meets the minimum qualifications that means they are qualified. It does not mean that they are eminently qualified. The Scientific American article cited was not written by an MD or even a PhD (it is not clear from his bio that he has any credentials other than writing extensively on medical ethics and pseudoscience) so whether or not the writer is “qualified” to assess what is misinformation is questionable especially since he did not reference any of the other scientifically unproven theories that were espoused by the CDC, Fauci and many others who also enjoy the limelight.

    The western medical community has spurned homeopathic and oriental therapies throughout the 20th century so when western science chooses not to investigate any of the existing claims made it does not mean it is pseudoscience. Simply refusing to evaluate does not eliminate potential benefits. In many cases it is like the medical community closes its eyes, puts it hands on its ears, and starts loudly uttering LaLaLaLa. . . when confronted with alternatives that put at risk their monopoly status as healers.

    The drug hydroxychloroquine has a long track record of safety while the Pfizer, J&J and Moderna “vaccines” did not. Yet the latter are now being identified as causing inflammation of the pericardium and blood clots. Vaccinated student athletes are now required to sign a waiver relating to heart inflammation
    before they can participate in sports. Why? Information regarding adverse incidents is almost impossible to obtain without special access to NIH and CDC databases. Neither of these organizations have been especially forthcoming regarding adverse incidents.

    As for his (Caufield) debunking the use of Hydroxychloroquine – From NIH: “Both chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine increase the endosomal pH, which inhibits fusion between SARS-CoV-2 and the host cell membrane.1 Chloroquine inhibits glycosylation of the cellular angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor, which may interfere with the binding of SARS-CoV to the cell receptor.2 In vitro studies have suggested that both chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine may block the transport of SARS-CoV-2 from early endosomes to endolysosomes, possibly preventing the release of the viral genome.3 Both chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine also have immunomodulatory effects, which have been hypothesized to be another potential mechanism of action for the treatment of COVID-19.” Updated July 8, 2021.

    Initially, hospitalized Covid positive patients were placed on ventilators until it was found that the practice was unnecessary or exacerbated the patient’s illness. Whether or not X treatment works for all individuals is not for me to decide but when writer who is not an MD or researcher wants to disparage a person and attacks a therapy as pseudoscience because a celebrity or persona non grata suggest it might benefit others, despite significant widespread global anecdotal evidence to the contrary, and because the medical community which has a vested interest in ensuring high cost/high profit therapies are prioritized, denigrates a particular low-cost therapy which did show some benefit, when few other options existed, I have a hard time giving that writer as much credibility as would otherwise be appropriate.

    I accept disinformation or misinformation exists but before I dismiss things as quackery, I try to evaluate whether or not a financial or power motivation exists. There is no doubt Dr. Emmit Oz profits from pushing a variety of health theories that the scientific community has not tested. I can say the same thing about every doctor who pushes his or her patients toward high cost procedures or medications when the cost benefit tradeoff tilts in favor of the practitioner. Furthermore, I can also state that native Americans developed a variety of therapies without modern day multi-million dollar clinical trials that are highly effective. Moreover, significant research has uncovered myriad natural or homeopathic agents that prevent inflammation, infection, and combat bacterial or viral ailments. These natural ingredients will eventually be synthesized, repackaged under a polysyllabic unpronounceable name and sold at premium prescription prices to those who, if they knew, might just buy the effective ingredients OTC and a fraction of the price.

    When either the financial or power motivation is absent, or, none is apparent, I tend to be a bit more forgiving when the information provided turns out to be in error. Timothy Caufield has made a living being a skeptic, which is fine. However, his funding comes for the federal government ( I assume the Trudeau administration) which makes me wonder if he is merely a consultant who will give the client what they want to hear. The pharmaceutical industry has profited handsomely from the pandemic. By ensuring all existing off label use options are effectively rendered unsafe and ineffective they do not have to prove their product’s risk/reward tradeoff has a net benefit. Because of that, I have been treating virtually all information coming from government and health officials as suspect.

    As for whether or not voters turn out repugnant officials on election day, I can only say that that is our system for better or for worse. I don’t believe that being a lawyer or someone with vast governing experience makes one any more qualified than a farmer from Virginia, a general from Kansas, or haberdasher from Missouri. Each person brings their set of skills and moral compass to the table. We do not need to demand that they are specialists in finance or law but we should demand that they have an understanding of the role they are expected to play as a legislator, the ability to ask pertinent questions, the spine to call out bullshit when others try to obfuscate and to evaluate the facts as they understand them with an open mind. Given that set of qualifications I can say with great confidence that some of our worst officials have had vast governing experience and were lawyers, and that right now in the 117th Congress we have very few “qualified” persons governing us; especially at the pinnacle of our government in the Executive branch.

    Other than that, I generally agree with you.😊

    • Good.

      I’d say your view of “qualified” is extraordinarily broad; mine is much narrower: the candidate must have some background and experience, as well as ability, that gives a reasonable expectation of success in the elected role. Joe Biden, for example, isn’t qualified in his post 2019 mental state. The age and citizenship limitations would have held Karen Ann Quinlan to be “qualified.”

      I also conclude that while all citizens are “eligible” to vote, most of them aren’t qualified, in the sense that they know enough to vote responsibly…which is why we are lucky most don’t vote.

      • I have lost significant confidence in those chosen to govern or act responsibly in the judiciary. Much of what they do causes division and harm. Thus, the question of qualification depends on exactly what it is we elect them to do. The problem I have with government is that too many voters have learned they can get other people’s money by voting in the candidates who are good at “bringing home the bacon”, or, they can get government to control other people’s behavior for their emotional benefit.

        At this point, I have no idea if the person I will vote for has been telling me what I want to hear or is he or she a charlatan no matter how diligently I research the broader fiscal and social issues. It appears that Pandering 101 is a required course of study to become qualified to be elected.

        The Senate ceased to be a deliberative and calming body years ago. Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell drove a stake through the heart of that notion.

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