It is nearly a year since Senator John Fetterman’s May 2022 stroke. Despite the stroke’s seriousness, the fact that his recovery was not merely incomplete but in question, and the risks to his health, Fetterman continued his campaign to fill the vacant U.S. Senate seat in Pennsylvania. Elected over GOP challenger Mehmet Oz, Ftterman too office in January and quickly ended up in the hospital again, this time for clinical depression, a common aftereffect of a stroke as life-threatening as his was. Yesterday he returned to the Upper Chamber to chair the Senate Subcommittee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry.
It did not go particularly well. Fetterman still has trouble speaking and reading; indications are that complete cognitive recovery from his health crisis may be unattainable. Naturally, the right-wing media is, as politely as it can, hurling “I told you sos.” Columnist Stephen Kruiser snarked this morning,
The Fetterman case is one of the more baffling ones I’ve ever seen, and I’ve witnessed all sorts of bottom-feeding antics from the Democrats ever since I first began my journey as a conservative activist almost 40 years ago. The Democrats were so desperate to flip a longtime Republican seat that they went all in on a recovering stroke victim.
If Fetterman had any decent human beings around him, they would have encouraged him to focus on his health and make sure that he completely recovered.
Unfortunately for him, he was surrounded by Democrats.
We’re now forced to witness Fetterman’s painful attempt at assimilating into the rigors of being a United States Senator.
Ethics Alarms blows the ethics foul whistle on this. Sure, Democrats are accountable for not presenting a healthy, fit candidate for the U.S. Senate to the voters of Pennsylvania, and Fetterman was irresponsible to continue his candidacy after the stroke. Nobody should be particularly sympathetic regarding his travails now: he asked for them, he got them, and his nation, the Senate and his constituents are going to suffer, not just him.
However, the main blame for this mess goes to Pennsylvania voters. Fetterman tried to hide his health problems and his campaign lied about their seriousness, but they were also in open display. Pennsylvanians voted for a man who looked and sounded like a shambling wreck to be their U.S. Senator; this was as indefensible as South Carolinians electing Strom Thurmond to his final term in the Senate when he was 93 years old and, in the post mortem words of an aide, unable to tell “if he was on foot or on horseback.” If a party is foolish enough to run a piece of cheese for the Senate, it doesn’t mean anyone has to vote for it. Fetterman’s presence in Congress is ultimately the fault of voters, and the result of incompetent and irresponsible citizenship.
Just to be particularly provocative, I think it’s a close analogy to those who oppose Clarence Thomas’s resignation from the Supreme Court. Favoring an ideological majority over the integrity of crucial institution is short-sighted and a mistake.
Nor do Republicans and conservatives have standing to complain. Instead of providing voters with an experienced, competent, serious alternative, they offered Dr. Oz, a TV doctor with significant quack components and no electoral office experience whatsoever. This was indefensible, and blame should be allotted among the inept Republicans who opposed him in the primary, the star-stuck fools who voted for him, and Donald Trump who endorsed him because Oz played the part of a shameless flatterer.
Fetterman’s presence in the Senate emerged from a disgusting bipartisan, multi-level failure of ethics, character and democracy. Conservatives are ethically estopped from pointing fingers, unless they stick them right into their own eyeballs.
10 thoughts on “Assessing Blame For The Fetterman Fiasco”
You could rewrite this post and substitute Biden for Fetterman and Trump for Oz. Political Science professors can begin teaching the Strom Thurmond strategy which involves running a shell of a human being who simply represents a vote of one particular side. We could save a lot of money by doing away with all Senators other than senior leadership and the balance of the members would just be pre-determined yea or nay votes.
Well, to be fair, the GOP had to renominate the sitting President. One hasn’t been snubbed by a convention since Chester A Arthur, and he wasn’t elected President in the first place.
Yes, it’s not truly symmetric. The GOP screwed up running Trump against HRC (whose running was a screwup by the Dems).
I’d argue that the GOP didn’t run Trump at all. The media kept pumping vast amounts of coverage on Trump and minimized coverage of many stronger GOP candidates because they thought Hillary at least had a chance against Trump.
The Dems and the media are sure pushing for Trump to run in 2024. They want a repeat of 2020. They need to keep propping Joe up, literally and figuratively. Which is becoming more difficult every passing day. Nearly six more years of Jill Biden running the country? No thanks.
No question about it. My family and I went to NYC in 2016 and sat in on a taping of the Colbert Show. Colbert came out and did a monologue that included a big rant on how corrupt Hillary Clinton is and quipped how “she’s so corrupt the only person she can beat is Donald Trump!”
The Late Night hosts knew it, the anchormen knew it, the pundits knew it, the Democrats knew it. Trump was getting all the press because they wanted him to be the candidate.
Their 4-year-plus tantrum was, in part, a result of their terrible, terrible miscalculation.
A person who went by the online handle “Maraxus” explains it, in a forum reply defending the indictment of Texas Governor Rick Perry.
Do you agree with “Maraxus”?
Are we playing by “Maraxus’s” rules?
I don’t think we are playing by any rules whatsoever. That is the problem. The country is being run by psychopaths. There is literally nothing that these people would not do to maintain their current power levels or obtain additional power. They use that power to amuse and enrich themselves by hurting normal people anytime they want, anyway they want to, anywhere they want to.
Normal people are not going to give up what little protection they have from the psychopaths no matter how ethical doing so might be.
Jack: “Nobody should be particularly sympathetic regarding his travails now: he asked for them, he got them, and his nation, the Senate and his constituents are going to suffer, not just him.”
I have to say that I am. There is a common saying that stupid people don’t know they are stupid. With respect to Biden and Fetterman, it would not surprise me if they are truly unaware of their own incompetence. It is at such times that the people around them need to take care of them.
My dad recently had a stroke. He was weak on one side; he was slurring his speech, and he could not stand up. The paramedics came and he shooed them away, refusing to go to the hospital. I arrived a few hours later and talked to him. Once I suspected he had had a stroke (the paramedics had not deduced that earlier), I talked to him about it. My dad was stubborn, but he was not stupid. It had not occurred to him that he might have had a stroke. I explained to him that I thought he may have had a stroke. He agreed that that was a serious thing. And, he agreed that, if he did have a stroke, he really should go to the hospital to be checked out. So, we called the paramedics and they took him to the hospital.