Wednesday, September 07, 2022


John Fetterman, still recovering from a stroke, has told Politico that he intends to debate his opponent in the Pensylvania Senate race, but not until October:
“We’re absolutely going to debate Dr. Oz, and that was really always our intent to do that,” Fetterman told POLITICO in an exclusive interview. “It was just simply only ever been about addressing some of the lingering issues of the stroke, the auditory processing, and we’re going to be able to work that out.”

Fetterman declined to specify which debate he will attend or provide an exact date for it, though he said it will “be sometime in the middle to end of October” on a “major television station” in the state.
Fetterman has been limiting his campaign appearances, and seems somewhat halting in his speech in recent clips. Republicans, of course, want to take advantage of his infirmity in order to win the election. The outgoing Republican senator, Pat Toomey, has a conventional approach to the situation: He's insinuating that Fetterman can't serve while disguising the message as concern:
“I’ve worked with senators in both parties, sadly, who have seriously diminished intellectual or communication capabilities, and I can tell you, that’s a very different thing,” said Toomey. “It’s really hard to be an effective voice for your constituents if you cannot engage in that way.”
But the message from Dr. Oz's campaign is pure assholery:
Asked for comment on Fetterman’s debate commitment, Oz spokesperson Barney Keller said, “Is it possible to quote somebody laughing?”
This follows another campaign spokesperson's statement: “If John Fetterman had ever eaten a vegetable in his life, then maybe he wouldn’t have had a major stroke and wouldn’t be in the position of having to lie about it constantly.”

These aren't slip-ups. These are calculated moments of assholism. It's standard behavior for Republicans in this campaign. Oz isn't the only GOP Senate candidate in a winnable race who's (a) acting this way and (b) trailing in the polls. Here's Ron Johnson, who's up for re-election, attacking the media for asking him questions and attacking his fellow Wisconsin senator, Tammy Baldwin, who was the first openly gay person elected to the Senate:

And here's Blake Masters attacking his opponent in the Arizona Senate race for ... being an ex-astronaut (but not, apparently, the really cool kind of astronaut):

Republicans are struggling to retake the Senate because women are furious about the end of Roe v. Wade, because Donald Trump can't be silenced, and because the party's extremism is rampant all over the country. But they would be in a much better position to win seats if so many of them hadn't decided that being an asshole is what voters really want. I realize that it's what Republican voters really want, but this just might be the year when Democrats and independents vote in sufficent numbers to defeat Republicans who lean into assholism.

I'm not sure Republicans will be able to abandon assholism even if they struggle in the midterms -- their two top presidential contenders, after all, are two of the proudest assholes in America. But it looks as if they'll pay a price for rampant assholism this year.

No comments: