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Fetterman Bombs During PA Debate: '30-Car Amtrak Derailment'

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“Hi. Good night, everybody.”

Those were the first words spoken by Pennsylvania Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman during his Senate debate against GOP candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz.

It went downhill from there.

Fetterman, as most of us are aware, suffered a stroke earlier this year and has thus far not been forthcoming about the extent of the cognitive loss he’s suffered and what he hopes to regain.

He’s clung as tight to his medical records as if they were a teenage girl’s diary, seemingly oblivious to why they might be germane to Pennsylvania voters trying to figure out if a man who wants to represent them in the Senate is mentally competent.

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Thus, those with reservations had only a few speeches, a few short closed-captioned interviews — closed-captioned because Fetterman apparently has trouble understanding someone’s train of thought when he hears them but can comprehend them if the words are spelled out on a screen — and this debate, the real test of Fetterman’s mental mettle.

Before we begin, let’s just make something clear: We’re not mocking Fetterman. This is a personal and political tragedy.

Is John Fetterman unfit to serve in the Senate?

Those around the lieutenant governor ought to have realized months ago, based on the evidence we saw on Tuesday night, that he would be unable to discharge his duties in the Senate — or, at the very least, be unable to convince Pennsylvanians he could.

First, we can start with the one “burn” that Fetterman got in on the evening: This dig at Oz, saying the GOP nominee has “never met an oil company he doesn’t swipe right about.”

He didn’t quite stick the landing, and older viewers might not be familiar with the Tinder reference, but whatever speechwriter came up with that one, yeah, it was worth a chuckle.

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Unfortunately for the leftist cause, it was nowhere near Oz’s best burn of the night, when he took aim at the fact that, for most of his life, Fetterman has lived off a large allowance from his parents and is evidently clueless about the economic realities faced by most Pennsylvanians

The rest was painful to watch, no matter which candidate you supported. Take this bit about the border from Fetterman, where he tries to reference “The New Colossus,” the Emma Lazarus poem inside the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty:

He was having trouble filling a minute of time without repeating himself, so seldom a good sign.

Meanwhile, here was Fetterman’s response to small businesses who say they would feel squeezed by a significant hike in the minimum wage:

Finally, we got to the thorny issue of Fetterman’s medical records, which he’s refused to release since his stroke. He’s had months to come up with an acceptable debate-stage excuse as to why he hasn’t.

So, when the moderator asked the question everyone knew was coming, he should have been ready. Instead, this was the exchange:

“My doctor believes I am fit to be serving and I believe that is where I am standing.” Confidence-inspiring.

It may have been just a one-hour debate, but the cringing made it feel much, much longer:

Five months after his May stroke, Fetterman still remains obviously impaired, both verbally and mentally. This isn’t just a matter of making sure he has closed captioning: There’s self-evidently lasting damage, and without his full and unredacted medical records, we don’t know how serious it is.

Needless to say, the debate was an eye-opener, particularly among conservatives. The event was happening concurrently with Tucker Carlson’s live Fox News show at 8 p.m., but he saw clips before he went off air — and called it a “full-blown 30-car Amtrak derailment for Fetterman.”

“If this guy is elected senator from the state of Pennsylvania, you’ll have real concerns about the system being legitimate,” Carlson said.

Comedian and podcaster Tim Pool, meanwhile, noted what the media would have done to Fetterman if he had an R after his name:

In a more serious vein, Clay Travis of conservative sports-centric outlet Outkick the Coverage was more serious, blaming those around Fetterman, including his wife, for letting this charade continue.

“My God, the moderators have almost stopped asking Fetterman any questions because he can’t speak,” Travis tweeted.

“@giselefetterman you should be ashamed for letting this campaign continue. Your husband isn’t well. This is a disgrace. Every PA Democrat who let this happen should be ashamed.”

In a better world, they would have ushered Fetterman off stage right after he uttered the words: “Hi. Good night, everybody.” Maybe they could have spun it as a brave political statement. Instead, the candidate’s handlers let him flounder out there for an entire hour.

May God have mercy on their souls for that decision. Rest assured, if Fetterman fully recovers and ever watches this awkward debacle on YouTube, mercy will be the last thing from his mind.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Birthplace
Morristown, New Jersey
Education
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture




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