Friday, January 14, 2022


I've been thinking that politcal big brains are greatly underestimating Dr. Mehmet Oz's chances of winning the Pennsylvania Senate race, but now I'm all but certain he's going to win. First, of course, he needs to win a competitive Republican primary. This will help him a lot:
GOP Pennsylvania Senate candidate Mehmet Oz, more commonly known as "Dr. Oz" from his TV program "The Dr. Oz Show," called infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci a “petty tyrant” and challenged him to a debate on COVID-19.

“It's past time Fauci faces the fact that he got COVID wrong. So, doctor to doctor – let's debate. This Doctor is in, are you?” Oz said in a tweet Thursday while posting a campaign ad attacking Fauci.

“Let’s get the facts straight here. You and me. Let’s have a debate, doctor to doctor, and give the American people the truth about COVID-19. I’m game. Anytime. Anywhere. Dr. Fauci, are you in?” Oz said in the campaign video.

Right-wingers will eat this up. But wait -- don't swing voters love Dr. Fauci? Throughout the pandemic, polls have suggested that Fauci is widely admired, but that could be changing.
[A] NewsNation/Decision Desk HQ poll of 1,000 registered voters ... revealed this: More than half of the country thinks the pandemic will never end.

... More than 63 percent of respondents trust their doctors and 50 percent trust federal health authorities, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the Food & Drug Administration.

But when asked who they trusted, only 31 percent chose Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease....
This attack on Fauci shows that Oz can compete for votes in the wingnuttosphere -- and if you don't think decades of TV celebrity give him an edge, let me remind you how the 2016 presidential election turned out.

I know that Oz has frequently embraced junk science -- but this is a country that loves Goop quackery and "one weird trick" nostrums that promise to eliminate your beer gut, build your muscles, and restore your sex drive. The popularity of this nonsense crosses gender and ideological lines.

But the Pennsylvania GOP, we're told, is "baffled" and "rattled" by Oz's decision to run. In the weeks since Sean Parnell, who was endorsed by Donald Trump, dropped out of the race after being credibly accused of domestic abuse, the party has scrambled to find an alternative candidate. The Washington Post reported this week that much of Trumpworld has settled on David McCormick:
Former Trump White House officials Hope Hicks and Cliff Sims are advising McCormick, according to two people close to the campaign. So is Tony Sayegh, who worked in Trump's Treasury Department. Other Trump administration alumni and allies who are in touch with him or have encouraged him to run include former Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin; longtime Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway; the lobbyist David Urban, who helped Trump win Pennsylvania in 2015; former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who's now running for Arkansas governor; former National Economic Council director Larry Kudlow; former White House lawyer Jim Schultz; and former Labor Department official Bob Bozzuto.
However, McCormick doesn't sound terribly Trumpy: He's "a former hedge fund executive and Treasury Department official in the George W. Bush administration" (hedge fund executive is probably fine, Bush alumnus not so much), and, well...
Oz's super PAC has already launched ads attacking McCormick for his ties to China and past statements criticizing the former president are being dredged up.

“After the attack on the Capitol last January, McCormick said at a Bloomberg summit that Trump bore ‘a lot of responsibility’ for the ‘polarization’ and ‘divisiveness’ of the previous four years,” Politico's Holly Otterbein and Natalie Allison reported. “In the same interview, he complimented President Joe Biden, saying he ‘really appreciated Biden’s tone’ about uniting the country, and called the news of some of Biden’s first appointments 'encouraging.'”
Stick a fork in him. He's done.

After Parnell dropped out and before McCormick entered the race, Trafalgar released a poll showing Oz with an 11-point lead in the primary field (although most of the respondents were undecided), and Oz is running only 2 points behind John Fetterman in a Data for Progress general election survey. Once the political world comes to terms with the notion that Oz is actually a viable candidate, I think his celebrity and the eye for the main chance he's honed over several decades will get him elected. I hope I'm wrong, but this is America, where we like political neophytes, love celebrities, and are totally cool with quacks.


DTR said...

Reality show TV rules. The bigger the bottle and the more variety of snake oil the better. I probably won't live long enough to see these dregs destroy each other.

mcfrank said...

I'm thinking (hoping?) that you may be underestimating Fetterman. He is far from the usual Democrat. He's a fighter! And he *looks* like a brawler as well.