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John Fetterman: Do You Believe Anything?

When I first read about PA State Senate candidate John Fetterman renting a plane to tow a banner making fun of his opponent Mehmet Oz’s New Jersey home, I thought that was clever. And reinforcing it with an ad featuring reality star Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi of MTV’s “Jersey Shore” jabbing at Oz for leaving his “home” in New Jersey.” Yeah, cute.

But then “Sopranos” and E street rock band star Stevie van Zandt with the same message? Uh, didn’t we do that already?

And now, after seeing the “crudité” ad a dozen times and the “Oz owns 10 houses” ad probably 50, I can’t be the only voter in the state wondering “Does he actually believe anything?”

What once was a witty campaign now runs the risk of becoming a huge liability. And some analyses suggest Fetterman’s lead might be narrowing.

By now Pennsylvania voters should be awash in “contrast” ads. Climate change. Worker issues. Trade. Immigration. Tax reform. Fracking. Abortion. I don’t know about other parts of the state, but I’ve seen none of that from Fetterman.

As a candidate who recently suffered very publicly from a severe stroke, Fetterman has a vulnerability to charges of ill health that other statewide candidates don’t. Oz is asking “Why won’t my opponent debate me? What is he hiding? Doesn’t he think Pennsylvania voters have a right to know where their candidates stand?”

And Oz is also making statements questioning his “endurance.” Yes, you may roll your eyes and say “isn’t that sleazy?” But don’t kid yourself they don’t work. Remember all those “Hillary is unwell” ads in 2016?

No campaign to speak of. No platform. No debates. And an ad campaign that is the moral equivalent of driving around the state in a pickup truck: I’m more authentic than he is.

John, you’re a great guy, and if you win you’ll do fine as a senator. But right now, you’re running a terrible campaign. So far, you’ve been helped by the fact that Oz might be running an even worse one. But if he comes out with some hard hitting ads, nothing special, just the usual GOP attack ads – soft on terrorism, anti-police, anti-gun, critical race theory – he could find his legs and you could be in trouble.

In fact, John, you’re already in deep trouble. Starting with the 1970 “If Tydings wins, you lose” campaign, negative ads have proven effective against feckless Democrats. As the polls narrow, the GOP is going to pour more money in. We know he’s from New Jersey and we know he’s rich. Thanks. What else ya got?

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Leon Reed, staff writer, is a former US Senate staff member, defense consultant, and history teacher. He is a seven year resident of Gettysburg, where he writes military history and explores the park and the Adams County countryside. He is the publisher at Little Falls Books, chaired the Adams County 2020 Census Complete Count Committee and is on the board of SCCAP and the local Habitat for Humanity chapter. He and his wife, Lois, have 3 children, 3 cats, and 5 grandchildren.


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    • The guy you voted for in 2016 and 2020 nearly destroyed America. We wait for an explanation for why he refused for 18 months to return to the American government documents related to national security which he should not have had in his possession in an unsecure location.

    • Tell me a current Democratic politician who called for an insurrection and promised to pardon people who made war against the United States. Tell me about a current Democratic politician who sponsored the creation of fake slates of electors and called state election officials all over the country, demanding that they invent votes out of thin air. Tell me about a Democratic president who presided over net destruction of jobs over his presidential term. (Hint: only two presidents managed that disgraceful accomplishment, both Republicans: Herbert Hoover and Donald Trump.

      Yeah, those 9 million new jobs since Biden was inaugurated. Really destroying the country aren’t they? That infrastructure program, bringing chip production back to this country. The nerve of him! The problem with Republicans is they say such ridiculous things about Democrats and excuse the corruption of their hero.

  • What he is afraid of is once common middle of the road folks know his ultra left wing socialist policy stances they won’t vote for him. He is using the Biden strategy of hide and seek election.

    • Fetterman does not play hide and seek. I know that is not the popular opinion in this area which heavily supports someone like Mastriano (who actually does hide from the media), but I have met the man and spoken with him on several occasions. His speech was affected by the stroke but his mind is as sharp as it ever was. And, unlike his opponent, he is a Pennsylvanian.

    • Sorry, when you apply the word socialist to any person to the left go Genghis Khan, everything you say after that is just white noise. Fetterman and Biden are no more socialists than you are, and neither has played “hide and seek.”

      • No…I agree with you. Joke didn’t hide in his basement and run the worst campaign in history. He’s transparent with the press and so respected regarding the tsunami at the border, the botched exit from Afghanistan, and his use of the phrase minor incursion. Surely, he and Jimmy Carter are two of the best presidents ever.

        • Sure sign of defeat. When challenged on my original point (Biden is a socialist), instead of defending it, just throw a bucketful of irrelevant smack talk out there.

          I have no intention of getting in a back and forth. But a couple comments. One, Biden ran the worst campaign in history: yet he beat your boy. (And, Please, don’t embarrass yourself by claiming Trump won.)

          Second, I don’t get the “Carter is the worst ever” thing Republicans so dearly love. I mean, why not say “I am an unthinking partisan and I have no knowledge of history or recent world events.” Yes, Jimmy Carter didn’t do a great job of managing the hyper-inflation he inherited from his two Republican predecessors, but he had the best annual jobs growth rate since WWII, except for LBJ and ….. Joe Biden!! (Remind me again, how did Trump do on job creation? That’s right!!!!! 2nd worst ever. Only president ever with net job destruction without the excuse of a Great Depression).

          And I can assure you, when the former presidents gather in Valhalla, Carter has two accomplishments, either one of which any other president would be proud to boast of: single-handedly created the only lasting peace (44 years and counting) and did more to assure Israel’s security than all the other presidents since 1948 combined, and negotiated and won Senate approval of the Panama Canal treaty.

          You guys need better material.

  • Hi Leon

    You are right on. What is Fetterman going to do??. Oz is a joke, but what is John Fetterman going to do for Pennsylvania

    • Fetterman will do away with fracking and that’s 10,000 jobs in the Williamsport area. Release criminals which will increase crime in Philadelphia, Harrisburg and Pittsburgh. Cut back on police funding again increase crime. Put the government in to our lives more and move us toward communism more.

      • M. Webb, your claims about Fetterman are complete nonsense. You right wingers make such ridiculous claims. Wanting mandatory background checks means “they’re coming for your guns.” Adopting a Republican healthcare plan is “federal takeover.” wanting to do something about DACA or saying we shouldn’t commit crimes against humanity at the border is “open borders.” what tripe!

        John Fetterman won’t “end fracking.” For one thing, he’s running for the Senate, which will do nothing whatever about fracking. But because he thinks that PA, like every single other energy state, should have a severance tx, that’s not “eliminating fracking.”

        Your other claims (‘release criminals, cut police funding, and move us toward communism” are utterly ridiculous.

        And funny to hear someone who supports the party that wants an overbearing government that can check every pregnancy, every prescription, every miscarriage is whining about anyone but their own party “put[ting] government in our lives more.”

  • Good commentary. I have been saying the same thing. I could not fathom having Oz as our senator, but Fetterman did not do well in the primary debates, and against a strong per candidate he would be exposed as a person with many good, strong ideas, but without the capabilities to execute them in the senate. I hope I am wrong.
    I have to disagree with other people who speculated that middle-of-the-road voters won’t vote for him because he’s ultra liberal. I would disagree with that. I am a centrist, perhaps leaning a little left, but certainly a centrist in most areas. I could never vote for a far right Republican that we see you running for Senate or governor. I would much prefer a highly liberal candidate.

  • I support Oz because of my pro life views. Also, if you can’t debate how can you function effectively in the Senate. Dr. Oz should have ideas about improving health care since he worked in the field. He expresses himself well and is intelligent both good traits for a Senator. Fetterman scares me with his view on the criminal system.

  • I agree. John Fetterman should focus on issues that are important in Pa. What will he do? I will vote for him but others may not unless he speaks to people about what he will do.

  • I cannot cast a ballot for such an ultra-leftist as John Fetterman. Here is a person who has the intent of releasing 1 of every 3 persons incarcerated from prison. Here is a person in FAVOR of SANCTUARY CITIES.
    As a person who relocated to PA from a place where sanctuary cities flourished, I can honestly state 3 facts:
    1)Property values plunged
    2) Violent crime skyrocketed
    3) Employment opportunities dried up

    Think long and hard before you decide to cast your ballot for John Fetterman. Know what you are voting for; his values do not appear to be “Pennsylvania values”

    • Fear mongering is so… droll.

      Many prison inmates are there due to possession of marijuana. Releasing them is the right thing to do.

  • Thanks for your commentary!

    I enjoyed Fetterman’s ads that highlighted how far removed Oz is from everyday Pennsylvanians. Oz comes across as clueless about the commonwealth. The time has come, however, for Fetterman to broaden his ads.

    I believe he would do well to emphasize the clear and strong connection Oz has to Trump. We don’t need Oz as a mindless minion for Trump, denying Biden’ election. We have enough people in congress who, either willingly or because of diminished capacity, are committed to assisting Trump’s efforts to change our nation from a democracy to an autocracy.

    I hope the Republican Party can reconnect to its roots and, like Lincoln, envision a nation of freedom with malice towards none.

    We need to hold high our value of liberty and justice for all. That’s a value that honors and protects the rights of all, including the right of women to self determination.

    God bless and guide our nation in this dark time of our history.

    • The same people who strongly dislike Fetterman have Mastriano signs on their lawns. This in the land where Joshua Chamberlain stood firm in the face of seditionists.

  • It is clear that Fetterman’s style displeases Mr. Reed. But style is what runs political campaigns. Better to focus on substance.

    Also, it is unfortunate that Mr. Reed refers to Fetterman’s medical event as a “severe stroke.” We do not know that it was “severe,” only that a stroke of some type occurred. Fetterman never lost his ability to walk or think, and it does not appear he suffered any type of physical paralysis. I know Mr. Reed provided an opinion, but this bit was a bit over the line.

    • I didn’t see anything “a bit over the line” about it! He merely spoke spoke to his personal observations. As an American, I’d think one would appreciate the right to speak and be heard.
      Mr. Reed has a valid point. Don’t we as Pa residents, and Americans, deserve more than mere smear campaigns, even if it was initially amusing!?
      Would not his time and money be better spent actually telling or showing people what is important to him!?
      And don’t underestimate the importance and power of doing your own research. Everyone should be doing their own research on each of the candidates before heading out to the poll booths.

      • “Jane,” thanks for your letter. Made my day. Best laugh I got this week. for the supporter of someone whose ENTIRE campaign appears to consist of accusations that Fetterman is a tool of the Devil and wants to unleash a crime wave right in front of YOUR house to complain that Fetterman’s gentle digs are “smear campaigns” is just rollicking good fun.

        I was clear that I didn’t’t care for the way Fetterman is spending his ad dollars. But let’s be clear, there is one candidate in this race running a smear campaign and that’s Oz.

  • I wish both sides should stop putting each other down and try to say something nice
    about the other! I feel both sides have good and bad! I would be more excited to vote with some positive remarks then always negative ones! I feel things have gotten worse in the last couple years!

    • Yeah, those 9 million new jobs? Terrible. Addressing our corroding infrastructure that has been ignored for 40 years? Impeach him. A president who isn’t trying to use the presidency to enrich himself. A decent man who can actually sympathize with people rather than make every disaster about him. A president who hasn’t yet called anybody “scum,” hasn’t met privately with Putin, hasn’t “fallen in love” with a brutal dictator. A president who’s repeatedly tried to work across the aisle. I know, save us from this horror!

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