AMAC Exclusive – By Seamus Brennan
Conventional wisdom among the Washington political class and media pundits would suggest that this November’s Senate race in Pennsylvania—between Democrat John Fetterman and Republican Dr. Mehmet Oz—is, for all intents and purposes, already over. In recent weeks, Fetterman, currently Pennsylvania’s Lieutenant Governor, has consistently led Oz in polling and has been hailed by members of the media as a relatable “everyman” with a “rugged, self-sufficient mindset”—a “blue-collar tough guy” who is running a “brilliant campaign.” Earlier this year, a New York Times essay went so far as to characterize him as the “future of the Democratic Party.”
But underneath the media frenzy surrounding Fetterman’s campaign, there is a long list of troubling facts that cast doubt over his fitness for office.
For starters, though Fetterman has been frequently branded as a “populist” whose interests are aligned with Pennsylvania’s working class, in reality there is little that distinguishes his own policy platform from that of the most radical-left wing members of Congress. In addition to supporting the Biden administration’s spending binges—including the so-called “Inflation Reduction Act,” which is projected to further aggravate inflation and expand the size of the Internal Revenue Service—Fetterman is an outspoken advocate of Democrats’ climate extremism. He has, for instance, repeatedly called for a complete ban on fracking in Pennsylvania, the nation’s second-largest natural gas producer, calling it a “stain” on the state. It’s estimated that such a ban would cost Pennsylvania more than 600,000 jobs and remove $261 billion from the state’s economy. That’s hardly a platform designed to help Pennsylvania workers.
Moreover, as Dr. Oz has begun to point out on the campaign trail, Fetterman is notoriously weak on crime. In the wake of summer 2020 riots that devastated cities like Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, Fetterman criticized a judge for setting the bail too high for arrested arsonists and rioters. He has also spoken out in support of sanctuary cities, decriminalizing drugs “across the board,” and in 2018 spoke in support of “safe” heroin injection sites. Additionally, Fetterman is a pro-abortion extremist—referring to the practice as a “sacred” right that should be legal “without any qualification whatsoever.” He also supports men participating in women’s sports and the teaching of far-left gender theory in K-12 classrooms.
But Fetterman’s radical policy positions are far from the only red flags surrounding his candidacy.
Despite his attempts to brand himself as a “blue-collar tough guy,” he has openly acknowledged that he was born into an “incredibly privileged and comfortable existence”—relying on his parents’ financial support as his main source of income until he was sworn in as Lieutenant Governor at 49 years old, which was only four years ago. In 2015 alone, Fetterman received a whopping $54,000 from his parents. How’s that for “rugged” and “self-sufficient”?
Furthermore, prior to his lieutenant governorship, Fetterman served as mayor of Braddock, Pennsylvania for 13 years, during which he skipped at least 53 city council meetings and was lambasted as ineffective by colleagues.
Fetterman’s health has also called his fitness for office into question: he admitted that he “almost died” from a stroke this spring, a condition that has kept him largely off the campaign trail since his primary victory in May. He has also failed to commit to the five general election debates suggested by Oz, further casting doubt on his ability to carry out the duties of the office he is seeking. Even more concerningly, several videos of Fetterman have recently emerged showing him struggling to make it through short remarks, appearing lost and confused on stage.
While Fetterman’s health challenges are a personal tragedy for which we can all feel sympathy, it would be absurd to pretend they have no bearing on his ability to carry out the functions of a U.S. Senator. How can you serve in the “world’s greatest deliberative body” if you can barely make it through a speech?
Though many Washington, D.C. journalists are eager to dismiss Oz as an unserious candidate unlikely to prevail in the November election, the fact is that Oz has barely even begun to educate the public about Fetterman’s radical policy positions. And as the November midterms approach, Fetterman will likely find that he cannot simply copy Joe Biden’s 2020 electoral strategy of hiding in his basement and avoiding interactions with the media. In fact, recent polls show that Oz is already gaining ground in the matchup—a trend that seems likely to continue as the campaign intensifies and questions regarding Fetterman’s fitness for office continue to linger.
As Republicans amp up their fight to win back a majority in Congress this fall, few states will retain their place in the spotlight as much as Pennsylvania—and for good reason. In recent election cycles, the state has become critical for control of Congress and the White House—and this fall’s election will play a significant role in determining the future of the American economy, energy independence, public safety, K-12 education, and a host other of issues.
Ultimately, the Pennsylvania Senate race could very well determine which party controls the upper chamber of Congress come January 2023. If Dr. Oz plays his cards right, Democrats’ reliance on Fetterman’s “blue-collar tough guy” charade could backfire in a big way as the phony nature of their candidate becomes increasingly clear.
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