Pennsylvania, we have a problem

In the interest of full disclosure, I would have supported David McCormick rather than Dr. Mehmet Oz.  He just seemed more prepared for the job.  Nevertheless, Dr. Oz won and he is running against Lt. Governor John Fetterman.

This is an important race for two reasons:

1) The Republicans need to hold the seat to pick up the Senate.  If you lose Pennsylvania, then you need to pick up two seats.  Keep PA and all you have to do is pick up 1 seat.   It’s academic, as a famous doctor used to say; and,

2) Mr. Fetterman is a sick man.  He had a stroke and we wish him a strong recovery.  However, can a man recovering from a stroke campaign or speak on the floor of the U.S. Senate?

I don’t think so, and I’m glad that the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has an opinion about it:   

If Mr. Fetterman’s communication skills have not yet recovered sufficiently to effectively debate his opponent, many voters will have concerns about his ability to represent them effectively in Washington. While he has gamely undertaken more campaign events and media interviews in recent weeks, Mr. Fetterman still speaks haltingly and relies on closed captioning to fully understand his conversation partners.

Mr. Fetterman’s campaign asserts confidently that he will make a full recovery, and that he is doing the hard work — including speech therapy — to accelerate that recovery. That is hopeful and laudable, but stroke recovery is notoriously unpredictable. The campaign’s early predictions proved optimistic; the more recent predictions of “several months” to a “complete recovery” may prove optimistic, too. 

Again, we wish Mr. Fetterman well and no one should exploit his medical issues.  At the same time, he wants to be a U.S. Senator and could be a tie-breaking vote on many issues.  He needs to be on the floor and explain his votes. 

Yes, we’ve had senators suffer strokes in the past.  But they were already in the Senate.  In Fetterman’s case, he is a candidate, and the voters should be told the truth about his ability to serve.

If he can’t debate Dr. Oz, or hold press conferences, or meet exclusively with MSNBC reporters pretending to be serious interviewers, then it would be better for him to step aside.

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