Fetterman vs. Oz Is Not Really Fetterman vs. Oz

Oct 26, 2022 · 746 comments
Ineeda (Mann)
How anyone could vote for Fetterman is beyond me. His policies stink!
Bill (NYC)
Than why have people in the Senate. The President can just submit a bill and if there are 51 or 60 Democratic bots it passes. This is one of the dumbest pieces ever in the Times. It’s clear Fetterman can’t do the job and should have stepped aside.
Jerry Davenport (NY)
I would place Fetterman on the same ego level as RBG. Both had a chance to drop out and let some other Democrat take the stage. Both are/were way too absorbed into their own importance. We all know the consequence of RBG, democrats must hope it ends better with Fetterman.
John Belniak (East Aurora, NY)
Oz has a couple of things which disqualify him immediately, even before he gets to pipe up on policy issues. Number one - and eternally damning - he is a hand-picked Trump stooge. This is akin to being endorsed by, say, Elmer Fudd or Vlad the Impaler. Second, he is a carpetbagger, with no meaningful connection to the state he wants to misrepresent. John Fetterman has health issues but he has a heart. If Oz has one, it's as black and cynical as his master's.
Apathycrat (NC-USA)
Were we to require US Senators to possess mental acuity... it would be about a 5-member body. Were I a Pennsylvanian, Fetterman would get my vote, sympathy or not, as the 'Wizard of Oz' isn't a serious candidate.
Ferris (Minnesota)
The comment regarding local authorities' authority on abortions by the charlatan, huckster known as Dr. Oz is absurd. Ask Iran how the "morality police" has worked out for them. 
Erasmus Brennan (Chicago)
Gail, I love your writing, but your attempt to make a silk purse out of a pig's ear was unintentionally hilarious. Fetterman on fracking: res ipsa loquitur. https://www.youtube.com/shorts/hhHuLkluToU
Eileen (Bayside)
I wouldn't have cared if Fetterman used sock puppets.......he is a far cry better than Dr. Dopey
Chip (Wheelwell, Indiana)
Many of us would vote for a dead ferret over a lying con man, so there's that....
AACNY (New York)
Another "Colorforms" Democratic candidate. Progressives just stick on whatever outfit they want the candidate to wear.
Joe Physics (Folsom)
I would voted for a corpse over Oz.
JJMt (Brookline, MA)
If the good people of Pennsylvania want a quack in the Senate, they should write in Donald Duck.
James (MA)
I felt disgusted by a reporter's negative view of Fetterman's slow performance. A good friend with multiple scelerosis sometimes looks drunk when she walks but she's out there, walking. Another friend with cerebral palsy came all the way from Florida to visit me in Massachusetts on his electric scooter - alone and by bus. Try to imagine that. I had a hip replaced and struggled to get back to 'normal' for some time and experienced the same sort of 'you aren't normal so you don't belong' treatment. Some people need to take a step back from their gut reaction to his 'performance' and realize that it took real guts for Fetterman to go onstage.
Jon (Ca.)
Oz is a carpetbagger.
Even More Disgusted (United States Of America 2.1)
You support Trumpism? Vote for Oz. You don't? Vote for Fetterman. Pretty simple if you ask me.
Alan Backman (New York)
Ok. So in the world's greatest deliberative body, oratory doesn't matter ? Um ... ok. Got it. Spin much Gail ?
Concerned Citizen (New York)
So, why should t continue my lifetime subscription to the New York Times as an Independent, if you admit to, and advocate, following the Democratic party line? This is a radical departure from the Times' own journalistic standards and how the Times frames itself in advertising.
MacGowanPhilly (Philadelphia, PA)
Another hand-wringing op-ed from the Times about Fetterman. We get it. You don't want him to win. Oz gets more clicks.
Donald Driver (Green Bay)
It is sad, certainly. People vote party lines now. They'd vote for a baboon if that baboon knew how to pull the right lever in all House or Senate votes. Politics is pageantry, and most Americans are completely ignorant. The GOP is surely better at matters of crime, immigration, and the economy. The Leftists will spend more money on entitlement programs, green energy folly, welfare, MDC, social security. The party of free stuff is tough to beat. We'll see how many Americans can deal with the fact that abortion is decided at the state level now. That is literally all the Left has to rally around - every tv ad stresses it. For an issue that effects few of us - compared to the inflation that crushes all of us.
Michael (Wisconsin)
This is a highly optimistic take on the debate. Voters have the right to choose any candidate they like and for any reason they like. Choosing Oz over Fetterman based on perceived fitness to serve would be a perfectly valid choice. Voters have every right to make their determination on what they observe with or without relying on others or experts.
kay (ny)
@Michael No one said they weren't. This is an op-ed. Commenters on op-eds are stating their opinions just as you have.
Paul (Philadelphia, PA)
@Michael Why would anyone perceive Oz as fit to serve as a senator for Pennsylvania?
sharon (worcester county, ma)
@Michael fitness to serve is debatable. Unless you're unconcerned about what the republicans have in store for our nation and her people. Let's see how well the elderly like this republican led country when they abolish or drastically cut Social Security and Medicare. Let's see how all of the republican voters like the republican led country when gas prices, food prices and inflation remain stubbornly high. Will owning the libs put food on the table? Pay the rent? How will multiple money wasting investigations of Hunter Biden's computer or impeaching President Biden "just because" solve any of these real economic issues? How does vengeful governing solve the daycare crisis? The formula crisis? The supply chain issues? Defunding the FBI? Hog tying the IRS? Destroying the postal service? They have no policies except tax cuts for the rich again, (wash, rinse, repeat) and revenge and a future Gilead existence for women. I won't even mention addressing climate change since most republicans think it's a hoax. Burn it all down! No more FEMA. No more federal oversight of industry, medicine, food. No more! Let's see how the republicans will like a government that couldn't care for any of the people's welfare in the least. Themselves included.
Mitchell myrin (Bridgehampton)
What puzzles me concerning John Fetterman, his health issues aside, is he politically really where the people of Pennsylvania are? An avid Bernie Sanders supporter and clearly a far left progressive. Supports the district attorney in Philadelphia who might get impeached for his far left pro criminal policies. Fetterman wants to release more convicted murderers early from prison. Supports no cash bail. Was clearly with the squad on energy. Is this really who the voters of Pennsylvania want to represent them? it is Pennsylvania, not Vermont or California.
PSJames (California)
I hope Oprah is out on the campaign trail for Fetterman, it's the least she can do as we can blame her for Oz.
Eatoin Shrdlu (Long Island NY)
The sickest thing about the debate is that it’s about Fetterman’s stroke. So what? Oz is the guy who, two months ago, emailed Mom, 92, telling her he guaranteed his program could improve her sex life, giving her a bigger, harder erection! Without drugs or surgery!! The problem is he’s an advertising artist peddling snake oil, a well-experienced artist at peddling snake oil. And the last thing we need in the Senate is more snake oil. So Fetterman can’t make speeches anymore. His experience as a problem solver doesn’t come from making speeches. As a longer-time resident of Pennsylvania than Oz (I’ve lived there more than a year, 2 weeks at a time for more than 30 years - and probably will continue to do so), and, as someone concerned both with the state and the Senate, I see how this has become a dangerously close race. To quote James Carville, “Pennsylvania is Philadelphia at one end, Pittsburgh at the other and Alabama [sans blacks] in the middle.” Philadelphia is concentrating on baseball right now. The rest of the state is being told that like NYC and the rest of Bostwash, people are living in “terror” of a crime wave, created by those Evil Democrats in Washington. What crime wave? The crime rate between people who know each other bumped up a fraction, mainly due to COVID isolation. That’ll do it to you. Perhaps the solution is to count regular media presence for 4 years prior to an election as “campaigning”, which should be regulated and limited.
Rocketscientist (Chicago, IL)
This election is about two things: social security and women's rights: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yNuUh8fCcNk
Joinery Piling Up (Charlottesville)
You got this, Mr. Fetterman…
Incognito (California)
It was truly disgusting how Oz said in the debate that he had to beg Fetterman to show up implying that he was some kind of a coward when we all knew that he was not ready for the rapid fire questions and answers that were required. I hope this backfires because Fetterman has shown us on that night that he was truly courageous.
MJG (Valley Stream)
This is a disgraceful column. John Fetterman is not compos mentis and Gail and the liberal media are gaslighting the public, telling us not to believe our lying eyes. Trump should be envious of the brazeness of their chutzpah.
A F (Philadelphia)
Dr. Oz is not a Pennsylvanian.
Retired Fed (Northern Westchester)
Anyone who votes for the slicky-boy Oz deserves what they get. He is a carpetbagging Trump toady/stooge who knows nothing about public policy or public service. Fetterman's heart is with the people of PA.
JoeyReader (Los Angeles)
Fetterman is a bad candidate. Conor Lamb would have been a much better choice. Fetterman was literally warned by his doctors that we was in immediate danger of a stroke and he ignored them. What else would he ignore if he was given power? He has bad judgment. He looks and dresses and sounds like a buffoon.
Charles (NYC)
It is astonishing that as Fetterman continues his remarkable recovery from a stroke, his ever-improving but still somewhat impaired auditory processing and speaking has made his "fitness for office" in the Senate a major issue--meanwhile, the GQP's leading candidate for President, the former guy, doesn't have the spelling, grammar or punctuation skills of a 3rd grader, while rambling incoherently in nonsensical paragraphs of word salad. But THAT isn't a problem!
HoodooVoodooBlood (San Francisco, CA)
I had a look at FoxNews news on the debate and the news writers and comments were so cruel. There were 12 different news stories destroying Fetterman, making fun of his post stoke difficulty in speaking and glorifying Mr. Oz. It appears that Murdoch & Sons FoxNews and The Republican Party have adopted the following formula: “The function of propaganda does not lie in the scientific training of the individual, but in calling the attention of the masses to certain facts, processes, necessities, whose significance is for the first time placed within their field of vision…" "All propaganda must be popular and its intellectual level must be adjusted to the most limited intelligence among those it is addressed to. Consequently, the greater the mass it is intended to reach, the lower its purely intellectual level will have to be…" "We must avoid excessive intellectual demands on our public, and too much caution cannot be extended in this direction. The more modest its intellectual ballast, the more exclusively it exploits the emotions of the masses, the more effective it will be. And this is the best proof of the soundness or unsoundness of a propaganda campaign – not its success in impressing a few scholars." - Adolf Hitler - From his 1924 memoir, Mein Kamp
John (Wayne, PA)
I'll take a Democrat w brain damage over any Republican. It's a no brainer.
Bob (Portland)
Can't we all just share the crudite'?
Real Observer (Ca)
Oz promoted HCQ which is deadly and useless in dealing with covid.Quack.Nobody knows how many patients he killed with his 'heart devices' and surgery
The View from Here (West Chester, PA)
Fetterman lied in a statement announcing his stroke three days before the May 17 primary. It stated his doctors advised that he had sustained no cognitive damage when, obviously, he had. https://www.wesa.fm/politics-government/2022-05-15/fetterman-treated-at-lancaster-hospital-after-suffering-stroke-during-campaign So now Pennsylvanians get to choose between a candidate who's medically unfit to serve and a candidate who's politically unfit to serve. Gail is right that we just vote for party now. I can't stand the thought of helping the Republicans take control of the Senate so I'm for Fetterman. But let's stop with the hypocrisy! Many, maybe most, Georgians will vote for Walker for the same reason.
Real Observer (Ca)
John Fetterman is an MPP from Harvard,and has an MBA. He is a very smart guy.He has tons of experience. Mehmet Oz is an empty suit,and only running because wanna be dictator Trump endorsed him. John will do fine.Wishing him a full and early recovery. The nation needs his solid policy making and experience.
Fr (Downingtown PA)
You will have a stroke if Oz wins. When he aligns his every vote with the likes of Marjorie Taylor Greene, Vance, Walker and all the other ideologues that make up the right wing bandwagon. And all this is because they think Woke is the greatest threat to humanity? (How truly shortsighted and stupid the woke advocates and woke fearmongers both are.) In the final analysis, with Trump out of the way someday, the GOP will still really be just about guns and then, their Evangelical bible-twisting idea of a country. This is what they want to ram down everyone's throat. Jesus . . . or else. Think about who the gun nuts and Evangelicals (and the whole conservative world) really pine for and are in bed with, who they are willing to tolerate and overlook to get the power they so crave. That should give you a stroke.
Real Observer (Ca)
Oz is a dual citizen.US and Turkey. Will he serve dictator Erdogan in Turkey or wanna be dictator Trump in America ? John Fetterman anytime
MaryKayKlassen (Mountain Lake, Minnesota)
Sadly, Fetterman is a poor candidate, and it has absolutely anything to do with his unfortunate stroke. Dr. Oz, isn't any better. Last night the first question asked of either of them, was, "What makes you qualified to be the Senator from Pennsylvania to Washington?' Neither one answered the question, typical politician, an intelligent leader, either one, not at all. Both of those are sadly how we got dt 6 years ago. There has been such a steady use of borrowed money, and those who stay in Washington longer than 12 years, that it is only lobbyists, and ideologues who have been running the country the last 60 years, good domestic, and or foreign policy, not at all. If as a congressperson, you are afraid to tax for all the legislation you pass that needs funding, whether tax cuts, foreign wars, entitlement spending, and the over 70,000 pages of the IRS tax code, then you aren't trusting the American public to make decisions at to what is both necessary, how much to spend, and what isn't worth spending for. If we don't end up in a nuclear war, we will be lucky, because both Europe, and George W. Bush, and Barack Obama failed to deal with putin back in 2008, when Georgia was invaded, and in 2014 when Crimea was seized. We are really at a critical time around the world, less Democracies than before, more dictators than ever. That means, out of 8 billion people, less than 3 billion live in a country that affords freedom of the press, freedom of speech, and human rights.
ASU (USA)
@MaryKayKlassen Only one of the two candidates is on "team Authoritarian" and appeared on stage with the traitor who tried to end American democracy.
Joinery Piling Up (Charlottesville)
@MaryKayKlassen And trumpty dumpty wanted to be king autocrat, as do the republicans…
Litewriter (Long Island)
I think The only point Fetterman needs to make is this one: “You can be sure I will never lie to you— because I can’t.”
Dan S (St Charles, IL)
"Voters have less than two weeks to make a choice, and in a fair world they’d be able to think about more than that One Big Thing." You could have stopped at the word "think" and been just as correct. There is plenty of evidence that the American public can no longer perform the kind of critical, analytical thinking needed to operate a Republic. We are too easily swayed by the manipulation (that is, advertising) industry, too interested in entertainment (I am of the opinion that the disgraced ex-president got into office--and still commands our attention--because he promised to put on an exciting show), and too focused on the Issue Of The Week. Remember when abortion was going to determine the election? The latest polls are saying only 5% of the public intends to determine their choice based on that issue; now it's all about gas prices. Until it's about something else.
Iris Flag (Urban Midwest)
@Dan S Stop looking at the polls. The only people who have landlines these days are old and on limited incomes, so they're concerned about the price of food and fuel. I ought to know because I am one of those. There are a lot of younger people, both women and men, who will be very concerned about the right to abortion. They overwhelmingly cell phone users. There also many mothers and grandmothers who are worried that their daughters and granddaughters will not receive appropriate treatment if politicians and fanatical evangelists make the rules.
Reality (WA)
@Iris Flag Perhaps so, but young people vote in fewer numbers than the general populace, and the general populace doesn't vote much at all.
Daisy (Michigan)
@Iris Flag Polls don't use landlines exclusively anymore and haven't for years. They call cell phone users.
ChrisW (DC)
As a Pennsylvanian, I would rather vote for a block of granite named Phil or a Cheesesteak (wit) than Dr Oz “I’m not a carpetbagging charlatan, these pills WILL reduce your weight and make you attractive, and I shop Wegners for crudités when I’m not in my NYC co-op.”
An interpretation (Buffalo NY)
I just watched the debate on YouTube. As a non-partisan observer let me be honest. Fetterman is in no condition whatsoever to be entering the Senate. I wish him a full recovery, but really just watch ten minutes of the debate, objectively, and you will see what I mean.
Fully Recovered Liberal (New York)
The out of town comments against Dr Oz I’m reading here are comical but consistent with the Democrat’s hypocrisy. No one seemed to care when Hilary moved to NY to become a Senator with her unfamiliarity with issues important to many of us. She was applauded by the left. Fetterman needs to focus on his health not a Senatorial run.
A Blinkin (Chicago)
@fully recovered liberal: she's lived in ny for 20 years at this point
Johnny Xerox (Los Angeles)
There is nothing to say except to wish the man the best. Empathy.
WilliamF (SouthCoast,CA)
Vote for the healthy Doctor, not the sick Patient.
MD 🌎 (The Old New World)
Sadly the Democrats are the people putting John Fetterman in the position he is in concerning the election and his own personal situation concerning his health, which is likely more likely to deteriorate than improve with the rigorous schedule of being a US Senator. Obviously Democrats just want this Senate seat more so than what is best for Fetterman and the country. People should analyze this situation like a a baseball game in the late innings of Game 7 of the World Series with the score tied and the home team’s last available pitcher has had an injury for months, yet the manager kept this pitcher on the roster, despite knowing about this injury, because his coaches thought the other team wasn’t good enough to compete.
A Blinkin (Chicago)
@more like one out, top of the second, eighth game of 165
Jack Dancer (USA)
The moral of this article is that the candidate can't string sentences together. Just shut up and vote for him because he's a Democrat!
Robert (Seattle)
@Jack Dancer Nope. Moral is, vote for Fetterman because he's the best candidate. He will act on behalf of all Americans, protect our democracy, govern responsibly. Because he doesn't suffer from those Republican disabilities of dishonesty, immorality, cowardice, cynicism, craven opportunism.
John Lonergan (San Francisco)
Really--a Senate candidate with a debilitating brain injury? What's next? A yellow dog?
Robert (Seattle)
@John Lonergan Thanks but no thanks. His cognitive function is fine. According to his doctor not me. His issue is no different than Greg Abbott's wheelchair.
Blues (Ky Subscriber)
REALLY hope Fetterman wins this Gail as do you. Women and doctor's do not need the help of "local politicians" to help them decide what is only the woman's right to make reproductive choices. No doubt about that of course.
Robert lund (Bournemouth , UK)
Apart from the" elephant in room " that Fetterman is clearly not capable of any meaningful articulation the man blatantly lied in the debate. He claimed to have always supported fracking. But when confronted by a direct quote from 2018 that he did not support fracking he became speechless for about 5 seconds. He then robotically uttered 3 times " I support fracking". How could anybody who cares about the dignity and gravity of the US senate vote for this candidate?
John B. (NY)
New Yorkers of a certain age who go back in NYC politics will get this. When I heard Oz say "women, doctors and local political leaders," on the scene for an abortion, I conjured an image Meade Esposito, Stanley Friedman and Donald Manes crowding into the room. Pretty scary thought.
Michael N. Alexander (Lexington, Mass.)
Reporting on the Fetterman-Oz debate has largely missed the most important point. Here‘s the central issue for Pennsylvania voters: should you prefer an articulate man who stands for all the wrong policies to a somewhat verbally impaired man who stands for the right things? Should glibness trump policy?
JenDee (NJ)
I worked as a nurse on a brain injury unit. I give John Fetterman enormous credit for having the guts to get up on a debate stage just a few months after his stroke. Talk about getting up when you've been knocked down! He understands the stakes in this election cycle, and so do I. I wish I lived in PA so I could vote for him!
Mark (Co)
@JenDee Since you live in New Jersey maybe you can vote against Oz.
Real Observer (Ca)
Trotter, the lockdown in 2020 by the democrats saved 100 million lives and 150 million jobs. If it were left to the extreme far right party, we would have all been dead. If I am dead,what do I care about jobs and economy? There was complete chaos in the white house and extreme far right party. Trump himself was the first to get vaccinated and incited anti-vaxx.That is how crazy the extreme far right party is.They cover their backsides and throw the rest of us under the bus.
Magnus Eckhart (Dasein Foundation)
For all our collective talk and hubbub about being individuals, humans are decidedly social animals. Because the average person is unaware of his underlying motivations, most of us assume we’re the author of so many of our wants and supposed needs. Especially in the 21st century, this has meant choosing one’s identity within a political tribe. Those who aspire to leadership positions within such hierarchies must fall into lockstep with the zeitgeist of their members. Social identity theory goes a long way toward explaining in-group bias. The bottom line is that you’re not the individual you think you are. Recent advances in technology have only exacerbated the situation. If Hell is other people, social media allows us to continually demonstrate it in real time.
True Observer (USA)
Half the women live in blue states where abortion can be had for the asking. Many of other half live close to where they can get one. Why make it a big deal.
Sue Laplant (Maine)
It’s not a big deal for women with resources. It’s a whole other thing for women with none.
A Blinkin (Chicago)
@true observer: thank you for your understanding and compassion, sir.
Janice (New Orleans)
I'd much rather have a decent public servant and actual citizen of my state who is dealing with cognitive impairment than a slick and less than decent Trumpian opportunist who slithered into my state after 60 years. Will Pennsylvanians fall for the salesman behind the curtain?
HRW (Boston, MA)
I'd vote for old Buick, before voting for the likes of Dr. OZ.
Mamie (Philly)
GOPSs want to : promote more guns, less entitlements (already paid for by taxpayers), less care and medically necessary abortion, a weak EPA, avoid support to NATO and Ukraine and during a fight against a major threat to a safer world order, drop taxes on the wealthy during inflation, close the US government when it serves their needs, transfer individual votes legislatures, ban books and racial history in schools, reduce the educational budget, care little for containing drug prices, pack the courts with Federalists and complain about a stolen election after 61 of 62 court losses, supports an inelegant Senatorial candidate in GA, while trashing an experienced public servant for less than optimal communication in PA, support an ex-President who has civil and criminal legal cases pending against him, is heavily controlled by the Koch cabal, is largely abetted by a Court that includes a non-recusing member whose wife is a Trump confidant and supports the Big Lie, work to destroy labor unions, promote an unscientific agenda against masking and vaccination during a pandemic, killed the Pandemic Response Team despite evidence of a pandemic threat, failed to condemn and actively supports an ex-president who instigated overturning an election and blackmailing Ukraine (yet supports rogues militias), refuse to accept defeat in a fair elections, is represented by a minority of voters.. well, the list is endless. Does the GOP prefer feudalism or fascism?
sheila (mpls)
My only question about Dr. Oz is whether you would buy snake oil from this snake oil salesman.
Mooße (Philadelphia)
Something made a huge difference: Fetterman demonstrated that he is unfit for office.
Kzzzzz (Seattlle)
I wish Oprah would make a statement about the wacky doctor that she helped create. She gave him the seal of approval. He is a doctor of junk science. This man is doing damage and he wants more power to do more damage. If he wins a seat in the senate, ordinary Americans will be hurt, but especially women who will loose their reproductive rights for many years to come.
Real Observer (Ca)
There is a big difference between speaking on TV and intelligence. John Fetterman is a very intelligent guy. Oz is a smooth talker at best, who talks through both sides of his mouth.
Mamie (Philly)
Collins hit the nail on the head.. a vote for Oz is a vote for Mitch McConnell's deranged politics and most likely more Trumpism. Period.
Scott (Miami)
"The whole country was wondering how well John Fetterman was doing..." No, they weren't. Most of the country has no idea who John Fetterman is.
Jason (Houston, TX)
Nonetheless, it is amazing to me that Republicans will freely overlook Herschel Walker's mental illness that allegedly caused him to commit domestic abuse, but crucify Fetterman for language struggles in a debate less than a year after a stroke.
Skip Szbgnwicz (Lower Slobovia)
The differences between Fetterman and Oz could remind some of differences between Biden and Trump; In the end, I'll take the speech issues over the inability to solve issues, any day.
IgorStravinsky (California)
His name almost describes his condition: a fettered man.
Real Observer (Ca)
Adam, Oz is an outsider,like me,who knows nothing about Penn. He is Trumpist and does very cruel things to dogs. My sister has a dog and loves it like a family member.He and his extreme far right party overturned Roe v Wade and LGBT rights are their next target.
Raskolnikov (Nebraska)
I am carrying an anencephalic fetus, doctor. Do I need to get permission for an abortion from my city major or should I request permission from my state representative? What do you recommend?
White Rabbit (Key West)
Fetterman was a breath of fresh air as well as honest. Oz was the proverbial snake oil salesman. Your choice, PA.
Moso (Seattle)
I have now come to realize that the primary medical problem for Fetterman is not so much his brain but his heart. He has cardiomyopathy, a very serious heart condition defined as a disease of the heart muscle that makes it difficult to pump blood throughout the body. We really need to hear not from the neurologists but from the cardiologists. This may be the reason why Fetterman is not letting us see his medical record. His serious cardiac condition was the reason for the stroke. He has an implantable defibrillator for irregular heartbeat, as well as a pacemaker. No doubt he is on medication to deal with these issues as well. I don't know if all this medical intervention will prevent another stroke or a heart attack but these are conditions to take seriously. Americans love a comeback story, and Fetterman would seem to have one. Most of us have a disability so we want to root for him. But this is a man who should never forget that he got another lease on life.
Jim (New Jersey)
The only people who think its ok to have a man who is mentally deficient in the senate temporarily or permanent are democrats. This argument gains ground only because Mr. Biden, who some say has lost some of his cognitive and physical abilities, is a kindred soul and has judged him perfectly ok to serve. Its a straw man argument designed to divert the electorate from the real issues of the failing economy, the influx of illegal immigrants at our southern border and the erosion of our 401k's. The high gas prices along with the increase of every other commodity purchased are infinitely more important than a man who never actually worked for a living and who cannot remember his position on many matters. The worst is being told there is no recession and the deficit has been decreased both of which we have been told by the president. The present administration can't even admit things even though there is empirical evidence to disprove their statements. They formulate another lie or admit they misspoke. It is the height of disrespect. We can't afford another two years of these blatant lies and the destruction of our way of life. Fetterman is another deception. Clearly is is not capable of being a US Senator right now. To say otherwise is nonsense.
JVG (Vallejo, CA)
It's ALL about policies, not personalities.
John (PA)
Fetterman is running for Senate. Being a Senator is in all honesty not a particularly demanding job whatever myths the media tells itself about the role. Essentially all he has to do is say “aye” when Schumer tells him to.
Anna Campagna (Montreal,Canada)
Here’s how this will go. The guy with the rapid talk and the ten mansions will lose and the guy who had the stroke will win. Why? Because we all want the country to heal ,to go forward, to overcome. And isn’t the guy who is engaged in a daily struggle to regain health & wholeness the obvious underdog here? The people will not only have a better senator in John Fetterman but their proverbial underdog too!
Paul King (USA)
Democrats need better strategists. The only message Fetterman needed to rehearse and repeat at the debate was this: "I'm aware enough to know the threat to our democracy if radical Republicans, the Trump crowd who support Dr. Oz take control of this country. And, I'm well enough to oppose them when you make me your senator. My stroke won't stop me from stopping them." "So, the choice… a man who had a stroke but is still sane, or a man who didn't but will vote with Republicans who have gone insane." "Forcing women to bear children. Tearing down our election system. Accepting Donald Trump and his violent attempt to stay in power-- they have gone insane." "That's the choice." He could have said any or all of that. Why didn't he?
Dave (New Jersey)
This is not about being articulate. It’s about being physically and mentally fit to serve as a US Senator. Mr. Fetterman clearly has very serious health issues that transcend politics. If the shoe was on the other foot the media would be unrelenting.
Redram (Philadelphia, PA)
@Dave I am a Pennsylvanian and am furious with the choices provided by both parties. As an Independent I try to be fair but I felt bad for Fetterman last night. The Democratic Party should have chosen an alternative. I really do not think he can be an effective Senator.
Michelle (New Jersey)
@Dave Mr. Fetterman's doctor has cleared him for serving PA. He spoke more clearly than the former president ever did while serving in office, so the shoe has been "on the other foot" and Trump got a pass from the right-wing media, which is evidence in their continual praise of him. I'm more concerned about the mental health of many of the Republicans either currently serving or running in the November elections, e.g., Marjorie Taylor Green, Kari Lake, Herschel Walker, etc., etc., etc.
Thomsen (North Beach)
As a Bucks Co resident I am curious as who would you suggest the Democrats should of chosen? John Fetterman is a good man from western PA that was a shoe in. The timing of his stroke is unfortunate but as a medical professional he obviously is not cognitively impaired. Personally I find his intelligence, common sense and moral compass a breathe of fresh air. Surely the senate is in desperate need of people like Fetterman.
Casual Observer (Los Angeles)
Fetterman's health is the issue that may decide the election. While he displays excellent thinking and cognizance, he needs technical assistance to perform. The voters would be reasonable to be uncertain about whether he can serve out his term without further health problems interrupting.
Steve (New York)
@Casual Observer According to Newt Gingrich, Herschel Walker suffers from CTE from playing football. I know Fetterman's health can improve but no one ever recovers from CTE.
Gail (Pa)
@Casual Observer Not a single human being on earth knows what future health problems will interrupt their life.
Vinay (Maryland)
@Casual Observer Excellent thinking? Didn't this journal confirm that he lied about his stand on fracking? He was against it in 2018
Jim K (Upstate NY)
Sadly, the job of a US Rep or US Senator is actually quite easy... just go with the flow of your party... do what the party leaders tell you to do. Vote as they tell you and your seat is safe, especially since gerrymandering has given loyal incumbents a distinct advantage. Don't make waves, just do as you are told and your job is safe and lots of campaign cash will flow into your reelection fund. The quality of today's politicians is well below traditional standards.
Joinery Piling Up (Charlottesville)
@Jim K Of course, you refer to republicans…
Mark (Co)
@Jim K I generally agree with you. But. But gerrymandering is not a thing in Senate or Presidential races. The boundaries are set, and cannot easily change with each census. Texas does have the option of dividing itself into five states with ten Senators, but it has not yet done that.
Real Observer (Ca)
Trotter,thanks for your concern about my 401k.I have been through 6 recessions,the extreme far right party controlled the white house,and one or both houses in congress, each time. I survived all of them.I don't think my 401k will survive another extreme far right party congress or white house though.
db (nyc)
The issue was not how "articulate" the two debaters were. The issue was Fetterman's complete incoherence. This debate also highlights one of the many problems with mail-in vote, e.g, the early mail-in voter and the in-person voter on November 8 are not voting from the same deck of facts.
pat (fl)
Debates (aka screaming matches) held two weeks before election day do not sway voters who have been paying attention
nora m (New England)
@db However, it does reflect the fact that most people make up their minds fairly early on and almost nothing changes it.
M (US of A)
What were the Dems thinking by letting Fetterman continue to run? The arrogant Dems, once again, thought they had a cakewalk. My goodness, I wish the Dems would truly campaign/fight for these elections.
Eatoin Shrdlu (Long Island NY)
We Democrats ( I’m an affiliated voter, not an I can’t be bothered with primaries “independent”) don’t usually hold disabilities that don’t affect a candidate’s abilities if elected since a very stupid move 50 years ago involving a vice-presidential candidate named Eagleton.
kathkern (PA)
@M not sure "Dems" can tell a winner of a primary they can't run.
Phoebe (Havertown, PA)
@M You obviously have no clue of the trajectory of the PA Democratic primary. Fetterman was NOT the choice of the "Dems". The party wanted Conor Lamb. He lost. Fetterman won because primary voters - not "Dems" voted for him.
History Guy (Connecticut)
Sadly, impressions are important in human relations and most people's impressions of Mr. Fetterman last night were not good. We can't be silly about it and say everything looked fine. It didn't and folks will rightly think Mr. Fetterman may not be up to the job. I applaud his bravery in getting on stage but, if I were running his campaign, I would not have put him in this situation. He will likely lose the election by 2-5 percentage points and how much the debate cost him we may never know. That said, Dr. Oz is a charlatan, a phony in J.D. Salinger's words, but will likely be PA's new senator.
Mark (Philly)
@History Guy It will be impossible to know if the debate was determinative. There’s a breed of Republicans in PA, traditional and significant in number, who will thoughtfully split their ticket, voting happily for Shapiro as gov over the crazy man, and accepting Oz because he seems like he might be a normal Republican Senator. Think Charlie Dent. That’s also why Biden strongly outperformed other Democrats in 2020–anti-Trump Republican ticket splitters.
Paul wright (Wellesley ma)
Does a specific candidate matter. If they vote the party line and don't get involved in any other of the many Senator tasks, maybe not so much. But, if you'd like a fully functional Senator, Fetterman is not your man. His stroke occurred before his nomination, So, what is the excuse for making him the nominee.
MAB (Virginia)
@Paul wright maybe people felt as long as he was cognitive enough to vote the way they wanted , how well he could speechify was negotiable. Keustoners might feel they need the ACA to remain on the books more than they need a candidate discoursing eloquently on crudites.
james (USA)
@Paul wright The only excuse is that he's a Democrat and for the author that's all that matters despite how cognitively challenged he may be after his stroke.
Joanne Weaver (Central PA)
@Paul wright Fetterman's stroke occurred too close to his nomination for anyone to fully understand its possible implications. As things stand I, as a Pennsylvania voter, now have two choices...Fetterman or Oz. One or the other will be our senator. I'm sticking with Fetterman.
HMS2003 (Boston)
Funny. Ms. Collins didn't seem to have the same opinion during the Trump years, i.e., that voters should vote for the party rather than the person. Even setting aside her flexible principles, she deeply misunderstands the role of a senator in the federal system. A congressperson can act like a loyal parliamentary backbencher. A senator cannot. Ultimately, one must feel empathy for Fetterman. But his general laziness over the last three decades suggests he would have been entirely inadequate to the task of representing the people of Pennsylvania in the Senate even before his stroke. Opposing him now is the only sensible option for anyone who actually cares about the strength of American democracy.
Common Sense (US)
@HMS2003 I mean he's running against a guy who gave up heart surgery to sell snake oil. That's at least equally lazy.
Byron (The Stratosphere)
Yeah right. The "lazy" Fetterman moved from the big city to the small, poor town of Braddock, PA in 2003. He served as a benefactor and performed public service, ultimately becoming mayor for ten years. The job paid $150 per month because the town is poor. He left that "cushy" job to become Lt. Governor of PA. Oz should be so lazy.
Wang An Shih (Savannah)
@HMS2003 Not even mentioning his lack of principles, laziness is another synonym for Trump. Check out his "private time" and golf excursions.
David (Texas)
Fetterman is responsible for the parole of multiple violent felon offenders that re-offended in violent crimes like car jacking and assault. Due to his position on the parole board and his endorsement of the Philadelphia DA he is responsible for the cri.e wave in Pittsburgh & Philadelphia.
Eatoin Shrdlu (Long Island NY)
A) What “crime wave”? Show it to me in the Uniform Crime Statistics report. I see a COVID bump, but no crime wave. B) Willie Horton again? A member of the state parole board, he had a single vote on whether an offender should be released. Please identify the particular “violent offenders who re-offended” who got out less than 2-3 years early and the nature of their crimes before and after, and how Fetterman affected each parole?
Joe (USA)
@Eatoin Shrdlu In three cases he was the ONLY vote to parole - all three were very violent killlers. He has responded to the question of what happens when a parolee kills again with verbatim "that happens sometimes".
vishmael (madison, wi)
@David - And what has Oz proven himself responsible for in any political position?
Willy P (in and around Puget Sound WA)
"Hmm, how many of you want to bring the local political leaders into this [deeply Personal Medical Decision]?" [email protected] probably mostly the 'republicans' who've never seen a Boudoir they didn't wanna set up a few cameras & mics in but as Everyone KNOWS we Menfolk are just so much Better at deciding Women's Lives for them. it's just how God intended it.
Mark (Co)
@Willy P as Everyone KNOWS we Menfolk are just so much Better at deciding Women's Lives for them. it's just how God intended it. Quote used by Democrat Alan Grayson against Dan Webster "tell your wives they must obey you because it is written in the bible" Actual quote from Republican Dan Webster "Don't tell your wives they must obey you because it is written in the bible" Alan Grayson defended his version of the quote by saying Dan Webster said every single word in the quote I used.
Elaine (Pennsylvania)
I voted for John Fetterman in the May primary even though he had just suffered a major stroke: I did not want to miss the opportunity to have this exceptional man as our senator and I hoped he would recover. He is recovering, thankfully, and I will be honored to vote for him in less than two weeks. I look forward to having Senator Fetterman from Pennsylvania.
AutumLeaf (Manhattan)
@Elaine I work in imports. I have to read and speak about customs law every single day. Even after 25 years I still get confused and have to ask for expert opinion, and sometimes I end up explaining to the CBP officers what their own rules mean because most of them really do not know. Just think, imagine your shipment is stuck in customs because the officer did not understand the rule correctly, it becomes my job to explain the rule to him so he understands and releases the cargo. That is my normal day. Looking at Fetterman struggle to understand and explain himself does not bode well. Now think that he will be reading legislature that is near impossible to decipher and can mean A or B depends on how you read it. You need some one who can get it on the fly. Fetterman is not that guy. You might vote him into office, but then do not complain that for six years you have a senator who cannot make a point, cannot express himself or understand what he is voting for. You are handing him the driving wheel. His failures in DC will be because you put him there. Think twice before you vote him in just because he is with your favorite team.
KeninDFW (DFW)
Keep in mind recovery is occurring. My father had 3 strokes over a 10 year time period. He recovered with each and had very little down time. He was a small businessman. Fetterman will have lots of help with a staff working with him. You sound like this is as good as he is going to get when I’ve witnessed firsthand complete recovery multiple times. Fetterman will most likely be fine and will work for Pennsylvanians whereas Oz has not lived in the state for even a year. Empathy and kindness are great characteristics to develop. You may want to look for someone to help you find those things.
vishmael (madison, wi)
@AutumLeaf - US political history is replete w legislators at every level including POTUS who as standard practice sought and seek competent professional consultation on every issue before them. Have no doubt that Oz or Fetterman as Senator will avail himself of these routine interpretive services.
RLS (AK)
Democrats are screaming “ableism!” at Republicans. But when you think about it isn’t it exactly the other way around? By taking a clearly disabled person, propping them up and shoving them out to perform, aren’t THEY the ones intolerant of their disability? Aren’t THEY the bigots here?
Elizabeth (Athens, Ga.)
@RLS Last night Laurence O’Donnell opened his show with a segment on the disabilities of former leaders, citing FDR’s inability to walk. It worth the watch. There were several other excellent leaders who faced physical and mental challenges, yet were able to perform their duties very well.
Abraham quisling (Norwegia)
Of course not.
Greg Ackell (Brooklyn)
Crudité
Phoebe (Havertown, PA)
@Greg Ackell At "Wegner's".
Positively (4th Street)
Instead of "local political leaders" Ozzie could have just as easily said "church elders" and it would have made absolutely no difference. Opportunism abounds in American politics today; a time when we need it least. Thanks, Ozzie!
Carja (Toronto)
Why not just remove the candidates altogether? They kind of get in the way of the platform, don't they?
Dr. John (Seattle)
See abortion and school shootings. They generate huge political contributions and serve to fire up voters only if they remain unresolved hot button issues — despite common sense solutions and the codification of those solutions into law are readily available.
Real Observer (Ca)
The GDP is up by a spectacular 2.6 percent. BTW, value stocks are soaring. Cigna, Abbvie and Merck are up, some by a long way. Joe and the Democrats have done a lot for the middle and low income earners and seniors,amazingly passing 5 bills. Biden's 2T relief bill created 8-10 million jobs,strengthend ACA and prevented millions from defaulting on rent and bills,at a time when 8 million were unemployed. Biden brought order to the white house and has been firm,strong and steady-and highly productive. The infrastructure bill will create lots of jobs and improve our infrastructure-ports,roads, and airports for years. The semiconductor bill will help us maintain the lead we have in technology. The inflation reduction act reduced medical bills and costs for seniors, and funded the fight against climate change which will also create lots of jobs. Penn's economy will also remain strong-oil and coal but there will be good jobs for folks looking for opportunity in new areas. He passed a veterans bill as well. Biden and then Democrats have accomplished a lot in a short space of time.They recovered 12 million jobs and added more in just a few months,with the right policies. Biden has helped students deep in debt. There is a lot more that was accomplished by the Democrats in spite of a split senate, and can be accomplished by Biden and Democrats. Unemployment is low at 3.5 pct., GDP up by a spectacular 2.6 pct and going in the right direction, there are three jobs for each worker.A
Dick (California)
I'm sure when Oz went to medical school they taught him to consult his local politicians before advising his female patients how to care for their own health. Calling on Drs. Jim Jordan, Marjorie Taylor Green and Ted Cruz. "We have a code blue here. Can you please come down and help decide how we treat an ectopic pregnancy. Without you, we have no idea what to do." Yep, we should vote for a Dr. who needs the help of his local politician before performing emergency surgery over a guy who's recovering from a stroke. Perhaps Oz would be in favor of consulting his local politicians before advising his male patients about how to treat ED, prostate cancer or STD. I'll take the guy with a temporary speech problem please.
yes!! (DC)
I wonder why we have debates if, as I read in the comments, so many people think performance during a debate is irrelevant to the selection of the better candidate. As someone who is a little slow on my feet, I am please to see this sympathy for people who don't perform well (even if temporary). However, I suspect we wouldn't see the same if the writers didn't already support the candidate.
EM (Tempe,AZ)
Fetterman has unfettered honesty and courage. His moral integrity is, in and of itself, eloquent. Vote Blue Everyone.
Facts (Pittsburgh)
@EM Living in Arizona, what are you basing your opinion on. Living 20 miles from Braddock, Pa., I have a different opinion.
justgimmesometruth (New York)
Liberal Dem here. Fetterman was objectively impaired. His reply to the question about his conflicting statements on fracking was cringeworthy. There was a reason why he switched positions, but he simply could not recall or articulate it. He's a great guy, but he is objectively unfit for the senate (at the present time). Dems will vote for what he represents, not his fitness for office. No different from Republicans voting for Hershel Walker (although their reasons for unfitness are very different). I heard Joy Reid on MSNBC claim that it was Oz who made the big gaff and that Fetterman met expectations. Simply wishful thinking. Oz's statement about 'local politicians' in the room was totally honest. He favors the state making decisions about the legality of abortion. It's clear that this is what he meant by 'local officials'. My fellow dems are in denial. The capabilities of these politicians won't matter. Voters will vote on the basis of what these candidates stand for. I suspect this is bad news for us dems.
Kensluck (Ft. Florida)
@justgimmesometruth I think voters will vote on the basis of if there is an "R" or a "D" after the candidate's name. So many political ads now will not include the "R" or "D" is their ads. So many stories have been written over the years asking the question 'Why did the voters vote against their own best interests?'.
Al M (Norfolk Va)
@justgimmesometruth Yeah, standing for police violence, gender oppression, xenophobia and cutting social security should win a lot of votes. Sadly, thanks to extreme-right disinformation media, actual issues have very little impact on many voters.
Roadrunner (NV)
@justgimmesometruth Oz was vocally pro-choice 2 years ago. Was that honest, too?
Peter (Syracuse)
The choice in PA is simple, you can vote for Fetterman and democracy, or you can vote for the Quack from Jersey and the creeping fascist takeover of America. Fetterman will recover from his stroke, America will never recover from the Quack and the fascists.
JenDee (NJ)
@Peter Amen, Peter.
Mitchell Baker (Massachusetts)
I will take a stroke victim, who is recovering, over a braided liar and snake oil salesman any day. Fetterman will get better, as have most stroke victims I know. But a year from now, Oz will still be exactly as he is right now, an amoral shyster with an outsized ego and zero in common with any normal American. May this debacle of a campaign be Oz' final stop in the limelight.
chambolle (Bainbridge Island)
Donald Trump ostensibly has not suffered a stroke. But watch him ramble, sputter, stumble over words, slur his speech, bob and weave, make oddly erratic hand gestures at one of his ‘rallies.’ Then watch the video, shown during one of the January 6 Committee hearings, depicting Ivanka trying to prep The Donald to speak to the nation on January 7. ‘Yesterday is a hard word for me,’ Mr. President says at one point, as Ivanka prompts him like a kindergarten teacher coaching kids for the class Christmas play. Not much difference, frankly, between Trump on the stump and a recovering stroke victim. And the crowd roars its approval nevertheless.
Happy Witch (Washington State)
I went to college near Philadelphia, and have followed Pennsylvania politics since then. I would rather have staffers chosen by John Fetterman running his Senate office, while he continues to recover from his stroke, than elect a quack doctor who wants to insert state legislators into my private relationship with my physician. It's really just that simple.
Jeff (Atlanta)
Even with his post-stroke auditory processing issues, Fetterman is far more articulate than another Senate candidate--Herschel Walker. Nevertheless, Republicans are standing behind their truth-challenged and inarticulate candidate. I guess Gail is right that it's ONLY about party now.
Paul (CA & FL (huh?))
Why would any candidate, from any party and for any office, want to engage in a televised debate these days? These are poorly acted PR events where the candidate can only lose (and only "win" based on the opponents flubs). Let's rid ourselves of these useless exercises now.
Adam (New York)
I hope the democrats keep control of the senate. Can't stand what the republican party stands for today. However, does anyone else see the hypocrisy in Democrats saying PA dems must vote for Fetterman - despite his obvious health issues that is impacting his ability to fully function - b/c it is critical that the dems maintain a Senate majority BUT at the same time condemning Republican voters in GA for voting for Herschel Walker - who is clearly unqualified to hold office - for the sake of winning a majority? Ms. Collins says "The most important thing about this election, by far, is that it could decide who will control the Senate." Is that only a fair justification for Democrats to vote for less than ideal candidates? Let's be honest with ourselves...
Emily (Fresno)
@Adam John Fetterman may recover fully from his stroke in time. Hershel Walker is probably not going to recover from his lack of ability to tell the truth.
Mark V. (Chicago, IL)
Oratory suddenly doesn't matter? Communication is a crucial--if not the most crucial--skill of an *effective* politician. It's why so many loved Obama. It's why Reagan is so beloved by Republicans. It's also, oddly enough, why Trump was both loved *and* reviled, depending on whom you ask. Politicians who can deliver a message in a way that is appealing to more than just 40% or so of the electorate get things done. I'm not saying this disqualifies Fetterman in any way; one could argue he can still communicate in other ways and on less combative stages. Nor that it means people shouldn't vote for him; only you can judge your priorities. But to pretend that one's ability to communicate orally in politics is inconsequential defies both common sense and history. And to suggest that all people should do is vote along party lines in Senate races for this reason would only drive us further away from a true democratic government, and more toward where we are heading: a government dominated by executive control where the Senate and House serve as either rubber stamps for the president's agenda, or brick walls to block the same.
AMR (NY)
In the late 90s as a resident, I remember a case where a woman and her husband had to go to a meeting in front of the hospital board so she could terminate a pregnancy with multiple anomalies because she was over 20 weeks. The board consisted of local religious leaders and other administrators only one of whom was a physician. They said no. I remember the husband asking why would non-physicians even be involved in the discussion. She was just bawling. Luckily they were a 7h drive from NYC and one phone call later we got her an appointment.
Bo (Way Out West)
Thank you for sharing this. I just don’t understand how human beings can be so cruel to one another and make judgments that could cause so much suffering.
FinianT (LA,CA)
@Bo That's the problem isn't it? Non-physicians, religious groups brought together in a hospital board to decide? Shameless behaviour, and how inconsiderate. It should always be a woman's choice.
ali (NoVA)
@Bo the cruelty is the point, unfortunately. VOTE BLUE!!!
Barkleydog (North Carolina)
It does come down to party tribalism. The real foundation and basis for the differences between conservatives and liberals is whether competition or cooperation serves us better as a society. Competition has led to extreme social stratification, lying, cheating, and otherwise pathological capitalism. Cooperation has led to equality, social programs, understanding, and tolerance.
Mooße (Philadelphia)
@Barkleydog The fundamental difference, as I see it, is over whether government at any level, but most acutely at the federal level, should engage in the public provision of private goods. As Edmund Burke wrote: "To provide for us in our necessities is not in the power of Government. It would be a vain presumption in statesmen to think they can do it. The people maintain them, and not they the people. It is in the power of Government to prevent much evil; it can do very little positive good in this, or perhaps in any thing else." Our constitution honors this. The federal government was established to promote the general welfare, not to provide specific welfare. The redistribution of wealth is not a legitimate function of the federal government. A lot of people don't like that. That I can understand. Some people disagree with that. They are wrong. Cooperation is not cooperation if it must come about under penalty of law. Charity is not charitable if it is coerced by the state.
Chris (Georgia)
@Mooße Many soldiers who fought against the fascists in WWII were draftees - and yet most of them cooperated. In any case I prefer not to run my life according to the writings of a white, male member of Parliament who wrote to justify the privileges of the powerful and who has been dead for 225 years.
Lee Herring (NC)
@Barkleydog Where did you find that tolerance thing? Not here.
Agincourt1 (Florida)
Is this the best candidate for senate that the Democratic Party could find for Pennsylvania? There must be an abundance of better candidates. (I would add that I think that many of Dr Oz's primary opponents appeared to be much better than he is.)
Sam (Pennsylvania)
@Agincourt1 PA has a lot of love for John Fetterman - Lt Governor, local mayor, non-profit work in underserved communities. Unfortunately our other main option was Conor Lamb, who has failed us in the past. I know for a fact, many dems in PA love him, the stroke is more concerning than anything for most. That said, he's still favored in polling against Oz.
Mooße (Philadelphia)
@Sam Check the betting line.
Real Observer (Ca)
My niece goes to medical college in Pittsburgh. It gets a lot colder out there in winter but we just had a 5.1 quake near san jose. My folks there real Ily felt it shake since the epicenter was 12 miles away, but I did not in my place since I am further away.She loves it there, while I worry about how she will deal with the coming winter, having lived here in warm weather for most of her life. She will be ok I think. I hope the winter won't be too bad,and if there are a few bad days when she is snowed in she will manage. I have a soft spot for Penn,for giving my niece an opportunity to go to a top quality medical school, although she has always done well and deserves a lot of credit for it. Besides Penn elected Joe Biden, who I backed,and still back more solidly than ever. If I had to guess,and I have not spoken to my neice, she is rooting for John Fetterman.
A D (The Moon)
If you're finding fault with these candidates, remember at this point were talking about choosing the lesser of two evils. And it's pretty clear who the "bad guy" is in this one. You'd need to have your fingers in your ears and your eyes closed to vote Republican on anything these days...
Lee Herring (NC)
@A D No, I believe an R vote is one against Biden and congess' leftward lurch. Same as Dems holding their nose to vote for Hillary. Not even Dems wanted Biden. Just not as little as they didn't want Bernie.
JWALD (Brooklyn)
The long list of senators who have suffered strokers or other severe illnesses and continued to fulfil their duties is long. Fetterman will ultimately recover from his disability while Oz will always be a snake oil salesman and Trump shill.
Tacitus Anonymous (Planet Earth)
@JWALD As a centrist Independent, I have three questions: 1. Are you a board certified Vascular Neurologist? 2. Have you personally examined Mr. Fetterman — or personally reviewed his medical records? 3. If “Fetterman will ultimately recover from his disability,” then why did Fetterman not release his medical records? Inquiring Independent minds want to know.
Lee Herring (NC)
@JWALD You do not know if F will recover fully, Dr. Wald. So, why didn't he get out of the way and let a healthy Dem win? Selfishness.
Facts (Pittsburgh)
I live 20 miles from Braddock, Pa.. so I have a little more insight than those who live outside of the area. Read the article from the Pittsburgh Post Gazette questioning John Fetterman's work ethic(10/06/2022). Whether he was mayor of Braddock or Lt. Gov. of Pa., John does not like to work! Showing up for work only 1/3 of the required times. I am not of fan of Dr. Oz, but he is the only other choice. So do I vote for somebody that doesn't want to work for the people who elected him, or a doctor who works 100% for himself. Now think,,,,,,when you go to work, who are you really working for?
pda (HI)
@Facts Which "work" are you referring to? In descriptions of Fetterman's time as mayor he considered the city council as hostile, ineffective and blocking improvements to Braddock. He used his "mayor time," his own time(!) and nonprofit funding to implement projects aimed at average people that he believed would actually bring Braddock closer to a town people would like to live in. He showed up for work and was available pretty much 24/7 during his tenure, just not spending his time arguing with an obdurate council.
Emily (Fresno)
@Facts Yes, I read the very article from the Pittsburgh Post Gazette you cited. Meh. It mentions that "the pandemic sapped opportunities for Fetterman to take a more active role, that Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf did not call on Fetterman to take a more active role, that the state Senate leader was quoted as saying that he thought Fetterman would have liked to have taken on a more active role, and that some conflicts with the Board of Pardons (which the Lt. Governor oversees) and other official business conflicted with meetings set up by the state legislature.
Mooße (Philadelphia)
@pda Unfortunately, council has the legislative power and the executive's job is to execute the laws faithfully, NOT to take matters into his own hands and complain about the legislative branch.
chuck (denver, colorado)
Hmm. Did the Supreme Court make a faux pas in Dobbs v. Jackson when they held that "The Constitution does not confer a right to abortion; Roe and Casey are overruled; and the authority to regulate abortion is returned to the PEOPLE AND THEIR ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES?" Or did they unconsciously misquote the last part of the Tenth Amendment, which states "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, OR TO THE PEOPLE. These last four words are the last, and perhaps, most important words in the Bill of Rights as it pertains to the Power of the People, from whom all authority arises. If you believe in the sovereignty of the people, and individuals' right to choose, you might consider whether or not any government has the right to regulate your choices, or under what circumstances it has that right. You might be incapacitated, in which case a court might appoint a guardian or family member to make choices for you. The risk in a republican form of government is that your elected representative may not understand all of the factors involved in making a personal choice, or be swayed by the belief systems of special interest groups. If you agree that adults have a right to bodily sovereignty write to your state and federal representatives and explicitly state that your vote does not authorize them to regulate personal decisions (Personal Question Doctrine) to beget or bear a child.
Mooße (Philadelphia)
@chuck No one is proposing a law saying people can't have sex. Abortion is a medical procedure. Doctors are licensed by the states. States retain police power and have plenary authority to regulate medical procedures. No one enjoys full personal autonomy. Abortion has never been considered a fundamental natural right and it is entirely up to the people, through their state legislatures, to decide the matter.
chuck (denver, colorado)
@Mooße Thanks for the reply, but I think that "through their state legislatures" is far too broad to encompass all of the circumstances that result in women choosing to have an abortion. Most people, myself included, oppose abortion and suicide in general, but these are difficult choices that are best left to the individual, the doctor, and immediate family. I believe life begins with first breath. The many unenumerated rights, in the international community known as folk rights. This is an area of law that deserves far more attention than gets. Depriving a person of the right to decide robs them of their dignity. The state's interests must be limited. It should be concerned if a person is mad, overcome with emotion, or so desperate that they will kill to satisfy some drug-related craving, incapacitated, or too young to make rational decisions, or if the procedure is medically unsafe.
J. Crabtree (Oregon)
@chuck And don't vote for any repub for any office until the party swears off fascism.
Jamie (Oregon)
I continue to be frustrated by all the reporters covering Fetterman and none of them - including Gail - ask the only really important question: Did his stroke affect his ability to think clearly in order to write legislation or vote intelligently? If so, that's a deal breaker (although he's clearly more competent that Walker in Georgia!). But, if the effect of his stroke only affect words he can't understand UNLESS he's reading them, then he would be the same as a deaf person or someone who's hearing impaired. In that case, the voter would have to ask themselves if being deaf would disqualify a person from serving in congress. And on that, I'm a big "nope". Deaf people can read, comprehend, use critical thinking skills, and write. I believe that about covers the qualifications.
Eric (Ohio)
@Jamie A-men and bravo, we’ll said!
moi (tx)
The Democrats had the opportunity to have another candidate and chose the shoot-ourselves- in- the- foot one who undecided voters are unlikely to vote for. Part of what has gotten us to the point we are at is the 40-50 year history of Democratic party incompetence. I'm beginning to think the real vast right wing conspiracy is that Democrats are deliberately running inept, unappealing, incompetent candidates and have been for years.
J. Crabtree (Oregon)
@moi Check out the Daily Show montage of Trump's gaffs, mispronunciations, his displays of a vast ignorance of geography and history, along with just stuff the rest of us have know since high school, then tell me again, why Fetterman, who will be 3 months further into his recovery isn't fit to serve. Feterman was elected over and over in Braddock because of his work for the citizens. And unlike Trump, Os, or Vance, Fetterman serves with the foundation of governmental studies and degrees from Harvard. No to any repub until the fascism is defeated.
Earl (Philadelphia)
I recently moved from the Philadelphia area to a suburb of Atlanta, and it distresses me that this is the quality of candidates we have for such an important position. In Pennsylvania, we have Fetterman, who should have stepped aside after having a stroke, and Oz the carpetbagger, who is not from Pennsylvania, and seems to be seeking this position only for personal fame and power. In Georgia, we have Hershel Walker, who might be the most unqualified candidate of all, running against Raphael Warnock. Warnock seems to be the easy choice here, but the race is much too close for comfort.
Eric Schneider (Philadelphia)
@Earl Why should Fetterman have stepped aside after having a stroke? Has he lost the ability to think or make decisions? No, he is suffering from an auditory processing disorder, which is something that afflicts thousands of people. Are they all disqualified from working? I'm appalled at the amount prejudice we are hearing. It's shameful.
Sad (Illinois)
Oz, is a slick chump for Trump. #crazycruditecruelty Fetterman is a real American right down to his need for better healthcare. The choice is easy. Trump and the Supreme Court all up in your panties or decency. Vote for character over fake tans and capped teeth.
Mouse (Maine)
@Sad I would never vote for the current Repub Party--and indeed have never voted Repub--but can we give the whole "real" American thing a rest? All of us are real Americans.
SG (SF)
Do we really believe than anyone is listening to such punditry during this election season? Voters are voting mindlessly, if polls can be believed. Or they are keeping their more rational choices to themselves. Because who could imagine a Senate filled with the likes of Herschel Walker and Mehmet Oz? (Hint: those who could imagine a TV game show con artist as president.)
Dot (New York)
I'd rather hear and welcome Fetterman's thoughts after a pause of some seconds than those rushed out by his competitor!
2REP (Washington state)
Think about it, Gail. Maybe the best thing that could happen to the Dems is to lose control of Congress and let the Reps handle the present mess while they repair their fractured party, recalibrate, and try to win the country back by choosing a much better𑁋and much younger𑁋politician to be their presidential candidate in 2024. That's assuming they can get their act together, find a political champion, give Joe a gold watch, retire Pelosi and Schumer, and let Harris know she's one-and-done Of course, if the Reps fix the mess and offload Trump the Dems can kiss it all goodbye. But what are the chances?
jt (NJ)
@2REP Speaking of age, I prefer Pelosi (did you see how well she handled the 1/6 crisis? and Schumer to McConnell!
lp (MA)
@2REP I too find myself thinking that if the dems lose control of the house and senate, would that be so bad? Show the country what 2 years of a Republican congress would do--let the Repubs deal with actually policy, rather than promises to stop inflation and eliminate violence and a chicken in every pot... The Republicans have only buzz words. No policies. But people are angry that they're spending more for gas, and so irrationally believe that the repubs can make it all better.
Phoebe (Havertown, PA)
@2REP They'd likely run a DeSantis/Greene ticket.
John Panderwoman (Not PA)
Amazing how much cope is happening in the comments. Can we just gracefully take an L for once? He lost, pretty objectively. Honestly, I'm surprised he's being forced to run to begin with given his condition (it's fairly cruel in my opinion).
lp (MA)
@John Panderwoman If he were deaf, would you think it cruel for him to run? If he were blind, should he be barred from holding office. It seems to me that you are uncomfortable with his halting speech, and do not understand that difficulty in auditory processing has nothing to do with cognitive ability.
Katherine Manteau (Manhattan)
Deafness NOT a cognitive disability
Reams Freedman (Los Angeles)
My speech has be affected by a serious stroke. I think clearly, write well, have good judgement. I get attentive listeners when I explain stroke and ask for understanding. Reams Freedman, Director of the Stroke Association of Southern California
Therese (Philly)
Right wing republicans control the Pennsylvania state legislature. I would hate to have them make decisions about my healthcare.
Joe (Rochester, NY)
Apparently governing experience is not a factor for the GOP. Sometimes you hear people say we need a business person to run the government. By that logic a politician should be able to run a Fortune 500 company. Obviously government is not a business. Walker and Oz’s role in the senate will be the same as Taylor-Greene and Bobert in the house-distraction. Have they no shame, no personal fortitude or are they just sycophants willing to never bite the hand that feeds them. No meaningful work, great benefits and narcissistic behavior. They could put cardboard cutouts of themselves in their respective chambers and it would be an improvement. I hope the voters recognize how shallow and incompetent these people are.
Eric (Ohio)
@Joe I hope the same but there are a lot of people voting who are brainwashed zombies addicted to disinformation.
Robert (Graves)
Here's what Alan Plotzker, M.D., a neurologist at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center says about John Fetterman: "Underscoring the whole controversy is the relatively short time it’s been since Fetterman’s stroke. "Recovering language facility following a stroke is slower than regaining muscle or physical strength. While strength can recover in months or weeks, with language, “people can continue to improve six months or even a year or two out. So the deficits he has now are not necessarily deficits that he's going to have forever,” Plotzker explains. "Still, Plotzker says of Fetterman, “Even with the deficits that he has right now, it seems that he's able to be able to communicate the things he needs to,” adding that Illinois Senator Mark Kirk had a stroke while serving in the senate and was able to return to his duties. Additionally, he says, Chris Van Hollen and Ben Ray Luján are both current senators who had strokes and seem to be doing their jobs just fine."
Collinsworth Stagg (England)
Fetterman’s campaign certainly knows the true extent of the stroke damage. They decided that publicly debating was a better option than releasing his true health records. I’m worried.
Emily (Fresno)
@Collinsworth Stagg Fetterman's health records will say that he had a stroke. And that he is in the process of healing and that his doctors hope for a full recovery. Fetterman's appearance at the debate actually exhibited where he is functionally at present and reveals much more.
Collinsworth Stagg (England)
Hard to tell from a debate stage. If he’s truly progressing satisfactorily, then he should release ALL related information to quell the concerns. But he won’t.
Wondering (NJ)
@Emily How on earth do you know what they would say?
Glen Kaye (Salem, Oregon)
Pennsylvania. The land of so many ancestors. This affinity nourished a deep fondness for its early settlements and history. So I have best wishes for its future. May its citizens choose wisely this month.
kevin mcdonald (pikesville, MD)
ABSOLUTYELY ON POINT. This is all about which party is in charge...i would have preferred Conor Lamb, but JF is our candidate.
vishmael (madison, wi)
Remind us , please, why League of Women Voters no longer administers political debate formats in US? From many sources/memories it seems they hosted a stage of much greater integrity & substance than currently witnessed.
Sam Iamb (NJ)
Vishmael—The League is out of the game BECAUSE OF its integrity.
Jamie (Oregon)
@vishmael YES! Restoring the LOWV to that job would go a long way to making debates relevant again. ALSO, legislation requiring all candidates to engage in at least one debate. ALSO, all debates must be carried by at least one broadcast network. ALSO, ALL donations over a certain amount must be made 100% transparent at the end of each month. If a candidate for either house ran on writing that legislation, I would vote for them no matter what party they belonged to. And I'll bet that voters from the Trumpiest Trumpers to the most radical progressive would vote for them too. Tell me I'm wrong.
Sipa99 (Seattle)
This is the election that we will discover what Americans truly care about. Do a sizable majority of women care enough about bodily autonomy to make this a one issue election or will gas prices trump women's rights? Do young people care enough about the environment to actually show up to vote or will they lose themselves whining on Tiktok and believe they're making a difference? Will seniors see the importance of negotiating drug prices for Medicare or will they vote to maintain their lifelong white privilege? Will progressives show up to vote at all given their antipathy for candidates who are not 100% aligned with their wokeness? I am not optimistic...
Dominique (Branchville)
If the Republicans pick up House, Senate, and Governor's races we are in for a world of immense chaos, revenge hearings, and far more pain than we think we're in right now.
Real Observer (Ca)
In March and april 2020, the economy completely tanked because of the extreme far right party's covid denial and total inaction for months. The stock market was in a vertical drop.Our retirement savings were disappearing overnight,and the white house was in complete chaos. It was very very scary. Same from after the 2020 election. For weeks. The extreme far right is completely insane. They assaulted the courts and election counting apparatus with utmost violence and aggression. Same at the capitol hill on jan 6. They wanted to kill the VP, senators, congressmen,cops and anybody in their way, staging a coup, masterminded by Trump, with 400 election deniers including Mehmet Oz enabling them
Trotter (ashland, OR)
@Real Observer Nobody sane likes the extreme right, but i don't think you can blame them for the economy tanking. It was 100% democratic governors shutting companies down for waaaay longer than needed. GDP shrank 8%!. If the repubs had their way the economy would've been just fine, at the expense of peoples lives. Obviously there's a horrible trade off here, but Dems did shut everything down. You can thank them for your 401k
Robert (Seattle)
All other things aside, the last thing I want is Oz or another elected official, quite possibly a Republican election denier or religious fanatic, in the room with my doctor and me. Oz said: “... [abortion decisions made by] women, doctors, local political leaders …”
Jon B (St. Louis)
@Robert You, and Gail, are being disingenuous. You know full well that Oz did not mean that a politician would be in the room with you and your (Robert?) physician when discussing abortion. He very clearly meant that the question of the legality of abortion was something for the states and not the federal government.
lp (MA)
@Jon B Oz believes that local politicians should have a say in women's health care. Frankly, if they were in the room when these decisions were make, they might gain some some sense that these decisions are not made lightly. But no, let them sit in the state house and dictate what women can do with their bodies, free from actually having to understand the ramifications of their decision.
John Neumann (Allentown)
@Jon B Perhaps it would actually be better for the politician to be in the room, so the doctor could educate them on the medical facts and difficult decisions that have to be made. Then these GOP pols might actually stop making thoughtless, cruel laws while far away from the people they affect.
AynRant (Northern Georgia)
Note that our country is governed by political parties more than the individuals we elect to governing positions! Which of the two parties controls the House and the Senate is more important than the qualifications of the candidates. American governance is a game of "block and repeal" vs. "evaluate and legislate"! Funny thing, our Constitution does not recognize political parties or assign them any role in government. Our government is structured as a contention of power between Legislation, Administration, and Judicial branches, and assumes that elected officials are respected individuals representing the interests of their electorate. In fact, the "separation of powers" is breached by political party affiliation, and our elected officials are political party hacks with fixed tenures of office. Governance by political parties is common among the parliamentary democracies. All government power is granted to a parliament of elected politicians. The parliamentary majority forms a Cabinet that, with the assistance of a professional civil service, administers all functions of government. New elections are held when the Cabinet loses the confidence of the electorate. By comparison, our American government, with fixed tenures of office, diffuse accountabilities, extreme divisiveness, and equal opportunity for accomplishment, obstruction, and mischief, seems inflexible and ineffective for a modern nation of 330 million disgruntled people.
Gail (Oregon)
@AynRant Unfortunately, this argument suggests that one should not look at Herschel Walker’s appalling faults. Presumably, trying to convince republicans in Georgia that Walker is a hypocritical, immoral mental lightweight is a waste of time.
Real Observer (Ca)
Kathy, good for you. Same here. All blue. It took me barely a minute. But the California ballot is complicated. There are all kinds of props. Prop 1 was about making the right to abortion constitutional in California. I voted in favor(no surprise). Politicians have no business telling women what to do. The extreme far right party is full of contradictions. They allow unlicensed guns in Texas, so mentally ill gunmen can get an assault weapon and commit genocide, and shoot cops. At the same time they repress women and force them to have a child after women have been raped, a late term pregnancy could kill women, and are victims of incest. We saw the insurrection on prime time TV. The extreme far right are crazy and will cause a civil war. The extreme far right party did nothing about economy,jobs,inflation,recession or crime at anytime in the last 50 years. They just enriched their ultrawealthy sponsors and themselves, with one tax cut after another. March 2020 was the worst recession in history. We could not buy TP, which would cost 15 dollars, for even 30. Inflation was the least of our worries, there was nothing on the shelves. Amazon gouged us on online purchases during lockdowns. I received stale products and shampoo bottles with valves that would not operate-and the extreme far right party controlled the white house and senate. McCarthy is spineless and will destroy America and democracy,and default on debt. McConnell is a do nothing obstructionist.Oz is totally unfit
Steve Hunter (seattle,wa)
I didn't watch the debate. I was put off by Oz when he was on Oprah's show, he was such a narcissistic showboat.
Emily (Fresno)
@Steve Hunter He still is.
Jonathan (USA)
Fetterman is a dedicated public servant who sees holding office as an opportunity to help all citizens. Oz is a clown selling snake-oil who sees holding office as a grifting opportunity. Does anyone have the delusion that Oz would take his oath of office seriously?
Mark (Riverside)
@Jonathan YAAAAA Go team Blue!!!!
ARG (Atlanta, GA)
I am heartened by the top comments on this article. Most of us seem to care about the content of a candidate’s character and his history of working for the people more than his ability to talk smoothly and respond quickly on TV. Dr. Oz is admittedly a good TV talking head, smooth and attractive. End of list of good qualities. We must expect more from our leaders. We need them to be honest, hard working, tough, in touch with their constituents, and have a heart. Fetterman exudes all of these qualities, more so following a life threatening and altering illness.
Jon B (St. Louis)
@ARG If Fettermen was a Republican I suspect that you would suddenly become very concerned regarding his fitness for office.
lolly (PA)
I'll vote for Fetterman because he's a 100% American and a 100% Pennsylvanian. Oz is from New Jersey and has dual citizenship with Turkey. He's also a sleazy shill who knows nothing about politics. And he uses the Doctor title as if it were his first name. His real name is Mehmet Cengiz Oz. I wouldn't point that out but the Republicans always thought Obama's first and middle name was important.
Phoebe (Havertown, PA)
@lolly And he had a meltdown when the Inquirer used his first name, rather than "Dr". They replied that they use ALL candidates' first names in reporting.
Mark (Riverside)
@lolly YAAAAA party party party! Goo team blue! I am apolitical I despise both parties and am not voting in PA but the democrats love party more than the USSR did to vote for a guy who cant even form a sentence.
Philip (San Francisco, CA)
To Fetterman's credit he showed up and did as well as he possible. Yes, he currently has some residual from his stoke. Compared to Herschel Walker another candidate for Senate, Fetterman is 100%.
KATHY (FLORIDA)
Fetterman didn't get up and go to his mayor of Braddock job BEFORE he had a stroke. Well to be fair, because he didn't like that the mayor position had only limited power he ran a shadow government through a non-profit, largely financed by his family, to circumvent the elected local yokels and get what he wanted done in Braddock calling it the Braddock Redux. So he did go to his self-appointed benevolent dictator job and tried to turn a mostly black, 1,700 person town into an elite, trendy artist community. There was a restaurant which closed in 2021 that the locals couldn't afford, even with a 50% resident discount. At least the job gave a rich kid a good Samaritan buzz, something to do for over a decade and lured some big corporate money with no accountability and no measurable results. And now the non-profit spends more than it takes in, which experts say is not unusual for non-profits (coincidently, a lot like government). He's primed for his new grift.
Emily (Fresno)
@KATHY You have a very odd take on the non-profit Fetterman started initially to help Braddock's youth. braddockredux.org "Our mission seeks to mobilize teens, young adults, and like-minded people of all ages from both within and outside the community for the purpose of the overall betterment of the Braddock area through training opportunities, art initiatives, employment opportunities...." huduser.gov/portal/casestudies/study-070122.html "Braddock, Pennsylvania: Affordable Housing for Artists Helps Revitalize Commercial Center of a Steel Town"
Bill-in- LA (Los Angeles)
I agree with the writer that most voters have made up their minds on who gets their votes. I'm one of them. I also agree that this election like others is important and everyone needs to vote. This campaign season has shown myself and hopefully many other the extent of hypocrisy in the GOP. The debate in Pennsylvania Senate race is a preview of how future campaign will be run. The GOP will run on four themes fear,smear and greed. Thanks to the role call of idiots on Fox they can add victim to the list of grievances conservative run on. This pattern of behavior will continue till voters get burnt out on it.
James H. (New Hope)
Oz called abortion murder. This opinion allows ZERO space for exceptions. For example, a doctor cannot be allowed to murder a baby to save a mother. Sorry Dr. you’re boxed in forever.
John Panderwoman (Not PA)
@James H. By the way, many, many people believe this (especially in PA). Oz's opinion reflects the opinion held by millions of Pennsylvanians across the political spectrum.
Emily (Fresno)
@John Panderwoman Except for the greater number of voters who seem to be for Fetterman in polls.
Phoebe (Havertown, PA)
@John Panderwoman 51% of Pennsylvanians believe abortion should be legal in ALL OR MOST circumstances. Oz was hand picked by TFG to run in PA (because if you're on TV, you MUST be qualified to be a Senator, even if you're not even from PA!). Also endorsed by TFG, the R candidate for governor - christo fascist that even the GOP can't sell. No thanks. https://www.pewresearch.org/religion/religious-landscape-study/state/pennsylvania/views-about-abortion/
jcs (nj)
I wish people would stop calling right wingers pro-life. They anti-female autonomy. They love guns and fight tooth and nail to prevent even the most common sense rules for the sale of guns...like being an adult before you can buy one, like background checks, like no high capacity military style automatic weapons for civilians, like no guns in public places, etc. They're also against healthcare for all. If you're poor and very sick, you can just die because it's their God's will. They are not PRO-LIFE, they are narcissistic know it alls who don't care about anyone but themselves and their own fetishes about guns and money. They rich because they're better than the poor. People are poor because they're not good enough to be rich. smh
A Blinkin (Chicago)
Campaigning is entertainment. Governance is work. Oz is an entertainer. Fetterman's a worker. A made for tv "debate" tells us nothing about who's going to work in office. It only tells us who's more entertaining
Guido (Cincinnati)
If Oz wins, everybody loses. Except those that believe in greed, hypocrisy, corruption and fascism. Except now they can sooth their consciences by a stroke of fate that sealed Fetterman's destiny. True. Ugly. Sad.
vishmael (madison, wi)
Mehmet Oz proudly, loudly waves a flag of fascist America w DJT's yellow-maned visage imposed upon the field of blue where the stars used to be. John Fetterman by contrast truly stands for USA. For PA voters the choice could not be more clear.
Monty Reichert (Cokesbury NC)
Democrats can’t catch a break. In 2020 it was Cal Cunningham that lost a winnable election because he was caught in an affair. In 2022 it is Fedderman suffering a stroke. At least this time it was unfortunate but blameless rather than careless and stupid.
Steve N (New York, NY)
@Monty Reichert It was blameless that Fetterman suffered a stroke and I wish him all the best in recovering as fully as possible. That said, where Fetterman is arguably not blameless, given realities of how the stroke could be perceived by general election voters, is that he suffered the stroke shortly before the Democratic primary election and could have chosen to drop out and allow another Democrat to run against Oz, who might have stood a better chance. It would be a shame if Fetterman lost narrowly to Oz in a race that a different Democrat could have won.
Jim Kilker (Pleasant Mount, Pa.)
Why would anyone in Pennsylvania vote for Dr.Con from New Jersey?
Facts (Pittsburgh)
@Jim Kilker Because we know John doesn't like to work.
Bobby (Earth)
Here is what puzzles me. No one seems to care about our countries fate. If we lose Democracy, that Genie cannot be put back in the bottle. Republicans are running liars, extremists and most importantly, election deniers. Has anyone given serious thought to what happens TO THEM at home, when democracy is lost? When government becomes dictatorship- Autocracy? We are governed and are choices are made by what color jersey we are wearing even though none of that matters if the ability to control the world we live in, is lost. Just look to Russia or Hungary or China where dictators run roughshod over their citizens. It does not matter to Putin what the public thinks, he invades his neighbor and lies about it. Does any voter here in America understand what happens when democracy is lost or has even considered it? Election deniers. The voter votes, but the vote does not matter. It is all about the team you are on. Unbelievably short sighted and stupid.
USC (California)
If you want to know what the snake oil salesman thinks, don't ask him, ask Mitch mcconnell. He will do whatever mcconnell tells him to do.
Richard Whetstone (Atlanta, GA)
It was difficult to watch Fetterman struggle with answers but he is a man of character and true dedication to the people of Pennsylvania unlike that fraud who opposes him.
SGS (Red State)
Oz belongs in PA like oil belongs in water. In the case of political obstruction under the tenets of the US Constitution the states turn to SCOTUS for interpretation. Therein lies our peril with a “gerrymandered” SCOTUS. Each federal elective office is subject to the side effects of statewide gerrymandering. This is the path to minority rule in Congress which seats the SCOTUS in a Senate vote. Gerrymandering steals the votes of Americans to morph Congress and the Presidency into political frauds which direct SCOTUS selection. Gerrymandering is Democracy’s straight jacket. Our current SCOTUS is onboard with the steal for so long as it benefits their political affiliation for which they stuff bespoke legal arguments; like the nasty stepsisters in Cinderella contorting into the Glass Slipper. Money from outside the states flows from a multitude of sources external to statewide elections. A major donor from Alaska may influence an election in New Hampshire without the consent or knowledge of voting citizens. Ditto every highly contested election at the federal, state or local levels. Outside money in politics is like drones in warfare; mostly unseen but devastatingly lethal. Fetterman is in early stroke recovery. His personal courage is astounding. Given more months of healing and rehab he will likely fully recover. I’d take that chance over the certainty of Oz’s wing nut philosophies of convenience and opportunity. Vote blue.
DMP2 (Phoenix)
Well this is ironic. Fetterman stumbles over a few words now and then and he is not fit to be in office while Trump can spew forth a word salad on a daily basis is be just fine?
John Panderwoman (Not PA)
@DMP2 Let's be honest, it wasn't just a few words. Even now, I don't really know what his stance is on fracking. Also, it's fairly cruel to force someone to run for office who is going through strokes. It should've been someone else running.
lp (MA)
@John Panderwoman Who is forcing him to run? You seem to think that having suffered a stroke, Fetterman would have preferred to hide in shame because his speech was no longer fluid. He could have withdrawn if he didn't want to run. I don't think he's as embarrassed by the speech issues as you are for him. Stop projecting your unease onto him.
RN (Ann Arbor, MI)
@DMP2 Turn off the sound and turn on Captions and then listen to Trump or Hershel Walker speak. There is nothing that comes out of their mouths that makes any sense. If passing a cognitive test was required before taking office neither of them would qualify.
Real Observer (Ca)
In 2020, when the extreme far right party was in power,and there was complete chaos and inaction from them with thousands dying every day, I paid 50 dollars a week just for 7 or 8 items like bread,milk and a few veggies. The shelves were empty. I could not have bought a roll of TP for even 100 bucks. The nation was out of TP for weeks. The extreme far right party did nothing about it and there was complete anarchy. Their extremists attacked lockdowns in Michigan with thousands dying. They made states fight a bidding war for ventilators when bodies were being frozen in trucks.The morgues were out of space. They incited violence and worsened all the unrest. A kid with an assault rifle murdered people protesting peacefully and danced around, and the extreme far right party cheered. They uprooted mailboxes to prevent people from voting, have disenfranchised millions in cities in texas, georgia and other states, and heavily gerrymandered to splinter votes in their favor. The far right scotus majority operates like a military tribunal. I voted blue across the board for all kinds of reasons and cannot name just one. Protecting democracy, women and minority rights, economy,jobs, inflation, recession, crime, ukraine, climate change, student debt, prescription drug prices, the safety net, and inequality. The extreme far right party is an oligarchy of,for and by billionaires and corporations, the christian right, white supremacists and nationalists, and wanna be dictator Trump.
Alan Wentz (Tennessee)
@Real Observer This is very insightful and tells us exactly what we will face again if republicans take over both the house and senate and eventually the White House. How can Americans be so dumb about how they vote— are we really that stupid or are the republicans actually already manipulating the voting results?
Been There (Upstate)
Fetterman showed up. He knew going in that he would not stand a chance debating a slick tv personality but he showed up in all his unslickness and did his best. He will do that for his constituents, too.
John Panderwoman (Not PA)
@Been There Unfortunately Pennsylvanians (and people everywhere) are less keen to just vote for someone simply because he "showed up". The bar cannot be that low, c'mon.
Marie (BOSTON)
@John Panderwoman because he "showed up". The bar is that low. Not because of Fetterman but because of all the Republicans who have decided that they don't have to show up even when compelled by subpoena. And if they do "showing up" is seen as a brave act.
Aaron (Orange County, CA)
"I suffered a stroke and I'm still fighting the good fight for my State." That's what Fetterman should have said.
A Blinkin (Chicago)
@aaron: he shows and doesn't need to tell
S. Butler (New Mexico)
I feel that Fetterman with a stroke would make a better Senator than Oz without one. A Republican recently said something to the effect that she would rather have baby eagles die than have a Democrat elected to the Senate in Georgia. I don’t have to feel that way to prefer Fetterman over Oz.
Earl (Cary, NC)
If Fetterman were brain dead, I'd rather vote for him than Oz.
Jonathan (USA)
@Earl Fortunately, he's not. Fetterman is a supremely capable public servant.
faivel1 (NYC)
If this isn't insane tell me what is: THE IMPEACHMENT OF JOE BIDEN And possibly Kamala Harris, and Merrick Garland, and Alejandro Mayorkas, and Antony Blinken By Barton Gellman https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2022/10/republicans-investigate-possible-impeachment-joe-biden/671859/ WOW:(
Jonathan (USA)
@faivel1 Never discount the intentions of the insane. Trump took being held accountable for his high crimes and misdemeanors personally, and the Republican Party is eager to gratify a spoiled toddler.
John Wells (Washington, DC)
This opinion piece is pathetic and hopelessly out of touch with many voters.
Jonathan (USA)
@John If you want to know what's 'out of touch with many voters', it's the concept that elected officials should honor their oaths of office, our Constitution and the rule of law. That's Republicans through and through. They equate politics with playground fights.
John Panderwoman (Not PA)
@John Wells 100% agree. I honestly cannot believe how stubborn the media has been to avoid admitting that Fetterman lost the debate (and that's putting it nicely). They've been running defense for him this entire morning...
Nancy (Asheville)
What a surprise. Liberal NYT columnist defends in trouble Democratic candidate
Therese (Philly)
@Nancy Fetterman is not in trouble with Pennsylvanians. Most of his campaign money comes from small donors. Oz uses his millions and gop money.
bmfc1 (Silver Spring, MD)
Ms. Collins should have been addressing why The Times is doing everything it can to elect Oz by constantly harping on Fetterman's health and not Oz's policies. Fetterman will get better but Oz will not get less Tr*mpy.
DFGer (Eugene, OR)
@bmfc1...Oz will get worse.
Richard Bey (Manhattan)
It was painful to watch Fetterman last night. Any humane person who possesses empathy would feel that. Unlike Oz, who at one point mocked Fertterman's ability to understand things, hyper-spoke at times (to try to screw up the closed captioners?) interrupted Fetterman several times while he was speaking and at the end had the self-satisfied grin of a bully who had kicked someone on the ground. Of course, there are those who think this sort of thing is fun and funny...Like Trump, who mocked the effects of arthrogryposis on a NYT reporter.
Jonathan (USA)
@Richard Bey Too bad you missed the news piece last night in which mention was made of some of the greatest heroes and most capable individuals in history who were revealed to have had physical disabilities.
Alan (Los Angeles)
Fine — but that means if you are a conservative in Georgia you should vote for Walker regardless of anything to do with his intelligence or background, correct? Or does your rule apply only to Democrats?
DFGer (Eugene, OR)
@Alan...on the basis of morality.
Alan (Los Angeles)
@DFGer I understand why partisans always want a "heads I win, tails you lose" approach, but it doesn't actually work that way. If the rule is what is important is what party wins the Senate, not the individual Senators themselves, that rule will works against you just as much as for you.
John Panderwoman (Not PA)
@DFGer ...everyone believes they're being moral, that's why they hold the positions they do.
dragonman (ca)
It only got to show what worthless canidates the Dems are supporting. More hand puppets!
Lulubus (MSP)
@dragonman…can you say « Herschel Walker »?
Memfem (Tennessee)
The choices have become simple. If you want a fascist regime and inflation ( because the GOP can’t make it go away) then vote red. If you don’t, vote blue. It really is up to the voters.
Brian Smith (Houston, TX)
I just got back from an extended visit to Italy and while there overheard this brilliant observation on the street: “You Americans. Someone says something you disagree with, and they’re a fascist.” The world is noticing that we’re approaching peak stupidity.
Professor (Tucson)
Let's face it, his condition is almost irrelevant in the current context. Everyone and anyone who cares about responsible , responsive governance and the survival of our institutions needs to vote straight D. The critical element in voting this round is to minimize Republicans' ability to continue to degrade and demolish the values and ethos that have provided us and the world with a vision for humane self government.
Bob Carroll (new york city)
Fetterman on the floor of the Senate in an iron lung and incubated while in a medically indused coma is better than that quack Oz.
Rich (California)
Debates are theater, nothing more. But, WOW, the victimhood brigade is at it again, this time it's the disability faction and its supporters. I do get, certainly, people with disabilities wanting to change the perception that they are "unable." But whatever "disabilities" Fetterman has around speech, they are related to a recent STROKE. Does anyone really believe that should not be an issue for someone who may be helping write laws for our country?? And is not speaking well a significant part of the job of a politician? Should we be ignoring speech problems for all professions, say for news anchors?? The way our society, especially the "woke" brigade, has to overreach on virtually every issue is laughable. By the way, before you reply...I detest Mehmet Oz and the whole Republican side.
Rich (Portland OR)
@Rich Whatever. The only relevant question at this point is: Do you want Mitch McConnell running the Senate?
Rich (California)
@Rich Is the answer not clear based on my last sentence? What is unclear is the relevance of your comment to what I wrote about our society's infatuation with victimhood.
Truth Hurts Red (MA)
@Rich So why did I bother watching the debate, or even reading Gail's op-ed piece? Yours and Gail's ultimate argument renders casting a vote for United States Senator a week from Tuesday a no-brainer with no need to study up across the country. I have needlessly spent the past six months reading the NYT, its opinion writers, and this comment section to learn the Senate candidate's history, qualifications, and policy positions. Fetterman and all the Democrat candidates must be elected no matter what. So let's all stop commenting on the election in any terms but the Democrat Senate majority must be preserved: let's all stop wasting everyone's time. And by making each election all about preserving one political party's power in Congress, we can save even more time by giving up on nominating qualified Democrat candidates like Ryan, Hassan, and Cortez Masto – which is at the same time a waste of money and potentially counterproductive. We only need Democrat senators who will vote the way Chuck Schumer tells them to and not the way Mitch McConnell tells them. Seen in this light, focusing on choosing candidates with intelligence, integrity, and governmental experience is folly.
Queenie (Henderson, NV)
Fetterman’s auditory issues have nothing to do with his mental capacity. People are mistakenly conflating the two issues. He may need extra time to process the question and get the words out, but the answers are still correct. As opposed to Oz who hasn’t made sense since this campaign began.
John Panderwoman (Not PA)
@Queenie It's not even clear his mental capacity is sound, putting aside his auditory issues. I'm still not sure what his stance is on fracking (given his clear 180 because he realized, on the spot, being anti-fracking could cost him the election).
Queenie (Henderson, NV)
@John Panderwoman Are you clear where Oz stands on abortion? I’m not.
Phoebe (Havertown, PA)
@John Panderwoman Please tell me what effect the US Senate has on fracking in PA. Perhaps you would do better to ask that question of Mr. Mastriano and Mr. Shapiro.
Jim (New Orleans)
I don't get to vote in Louisiana primaries because I'm a registered independent. How is it fair that only registered Democrats and Republicans get to vote in their respective primaries? As is, I only get to vote for what is often the lesser of two evils.
firlfriend (usa)
@Jim I don't get to vote in primaries either. I believe at least 24 states don't allow independents to vote in primaries. Those states have closed primaries. Talk to your state election boards.
Ace (NJ)
@Jim Same is true for me. The extremists in each party control the primaries in their respective parties and leave the voters and independents without a moderate candidate. The extremists on both sides are destroying this country.
Jim (New Orleans)
@firlfriend Where in the usa firlfriend?
Craig80st (Columbus, Ohio)
Lawernce O'Donnell presented a history of past and present political leaders who have served office with disabilities. He began with WWII leaders, Prime Minister Winston Churchill and FDR. Churchill spoke before Parliament after a secluded recovery from a stroke in 1953. FDR suffered polio early in his adult life and required metal braces, canes, and wheelchairs to get around. Yet, he was elected to 4 terms! Vice President Dick Chaney endured 4 severe heart attacks, the last one required heart bypass surgery. Two Senators today, Senators Lujan and Van Hollen, suffered a stroke and fully recovered this year. John Fetterman most likely will follow their path to better health.
Ace (NJ)
@Craig80st A stroke affects the brain, the 'handicaps' example you cited were not of that ilk.
Craig80st (Columbus, Ohio)
@Ace In his private railway car, FDR collapsed from a stroke and recovered. Throughout his late life FDR experienced many periodic mini strokes. Yet, he served as a very effective POTUS. FDR was our first POTUS serving with disabilities.
Phoebe (Havertown, PA)
@Ace Every single "handicap" she mentioned, other than FDR's paralysis, was a stroke.
Kontum (NM)
When the typical voter casts their ballet, roughly 50% of their decision is based on their top issue, 25% of their decision is based their second issue, and all other issues are lumped into the remaining 25%. So you could make a 75% accurate guess of how they will vote based on the top two issues. I guessing that in PA (and in most of the country) the top two issues are the economy and crime. Despite what the pundits and pollsters would have you believe, its NOT rocket science.
lolly (PA)
@Kontum Actually, the crime rate is exaggerated here and no worse than anywhere. The economy, maybe. The Republicans don't have any better ideas about how to fix inflation than the Democrats do so that's probably a wash. I live in a very Republican suburb of Pittsburgh and I've seen many more Shapiro and Fetterman signs than for the other two. That's unusual here. Usually it's 80% Republican. Oz is from NJ and Mastriano would have been the guy with the match at the Salem witch burnings. He has a problem with women, in general.
Mentor (Philadelphia)
Bravo. Gail! I had no interest in watching the "debate." As I told my wife, I couldn't have cared less if Fetterman had fallen on his face. You have to consider the political parties backing these two candidates. All you really need to know is, the R's, a party which stands for nothing other than power and hoarding money, backs Oz. Oz also enjoys the backing of the most anti-democratic and criminally corrupt president in our history. I am still waiting for the moment when our milquetoast of an attorney general and the Justice Department will indict him. The taped phone call to Raffensperger is really enough, but, as it is, we have much more additional evidence. Oz is nothing more than a front man for the G.O.P.
KatieBear (TellicoVillage,TN)
Listen to Lawrence O'Donnell's opening block: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A2y6hxPgFdw
Deena (Chicago, IL)
I'd vote for a dog trained to push the button Schumer tells him to over Mehmet Oz. Republicans are harmful to democracy, our environment, climate and social cohesion.
Ace (NJ)
@Deena Yep this is wahat democrats want: Vote for this Mr. Fetterman, good boy!
John (Tucson, AZ)
It was quack Covid cures. Now Oz's do no harm medical approach has the likes of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott sitting in the examination room with him and a women in stirrups. Next is the 17th century ducking stool, and of course prison.
Gideon V Wainwright (USA)
Hear Hear!
SteveH (Zionsville, PA)
I find the Times' willingness to openly question "fitness" pathetic, given it took almost two years to print the word 'lie' with regards to tfg. What's next, making fun of his height? Do better.
CD (Maryland)
What Fetterman now lacks his team will provide.
Constable Dogberry (Victoria, Canada)
Here’s my Canuck take on Mr.Oz. He flip-flopped on abortion. He flip-flopped on gun control. He flip-flopped on election denial ( at least he got that one right,kinda) And for all I know he flip-flopped on Oprah and Jeopardy! In addition there’s a pretty good case that he’s a carpetbagger from New Jersey. What’s not to dislike for us of a liberal bent? Lizard of Oz.
IV (Ny)
The Fetterman campaign should have done the right thing by having him step aside after his stroke and allowed for a fully functional democratic candidate to contest this election. As things stand, the electorate is being told by the Fetterman campaign that ‘all is fine - trust us and not what you see’. I blame the Fetterman campaign for this mess. Oz, with all his issues, should have been easy to defeat
Oliver (Alameda CA)
Why? He’s s grown man who is quite capable of making his own decisions. Just because the stroke left him less articulate than he used to be does not mean he’s lost his intelligence or empathy.
Kontum (NM)
@Oliver Fetterman and his team have said that his issues are just auditory processing problems, not cognition, and that may very well be the case. So why not have him take a COGNITION test administered by a neutral third-party and make public just the results of that one test.
IV (Ny)
@Oliver With the fracking question - Fetterman could not say when or why he changed his mind. It almost seemed like he had been told to say "I support fracking'. A senator's job is to represent the people - how can he do that when he can't express himself. People recovering from strokes should be given time to fully recover.
kay (ny)
The Insurrectionist Party should not win ONE seat! Why on earth would anyone vote for a party who just tried to overthrow our gov't? Why would they vote for a party who is obviously trying to scam the country? C'mon, people, wake up!
EW (NYC)
As a physician, Dr. Oz should feel ashamed he used Fetterman's aphasia against him. Got to hand it to Fetterman, it took a lot of courage and resilience to get up there and debate a polished TV star. Like King George the VI encouraging his people during the Blitz despite his stutter.
Alex H (Philadelphia)
Anyone ever listen to The former Guy "talk"? Now - that is painful. Fetterman has got this in the bag. He supports legalizing weed.
just Robert (North Carolina)
I must admit that I was discouraged by this so called debate knowing how people are swayed by outward appearances. I felt any hope of sanity in congress disappearing in the election of the sleaze bag unqualified Oz But when did being a sleazy bag or being unqualified exempt anyone since the election of the former guy.
Joel Shertok (Newark, DE)
Hello, Gail - There is one shining example where oratory led to a nomination -- William Jennings Bryan's "Cross of Gold" speech to the 1896 Democratic convention -- it got him the Presidential nomination. But -- he never won an election and was humiliated by Clarence Darrow during the 1920's Monkey Trial over evolution. Regards, Joel Shertok
Kevin C. (Oregon)
Many trumpian shills among these comments, sincerely expressing their heartfelt, disingenuous crocodile tears, thoughts and prayers for the only candidate actually from PA. "Ohhh, but that carpetbagging shyster from NJ seems so 'capable'!"
Tom (Canada)
This is one of the most important positions on the planet, and all Ms Collins can say is Fetterman will blindly vote on party line. This is the sad state of the Democratic Party talent pool. Meanwhile the Republicans have a bunch of 40-50 year olds from DeSantis to Youngkin.
Mitchell Judd (Brooklyn NY)
Given the choice between a Turkish resident of NJ, who made a fortune by swindling low information people by peddling fake medical potions, and who has no political experience beyond cozying up to the Orange Charlatan,and a real person with a temporary physical impediment, I have no doubt who people should select. Of course I do not have vote in Pa.
HKS (Just outside of Houston)
Hey, we’ve got a Canadian citizen as Senator from Texas, so they can have a Turkish one I suppose.
A Blinkin (Chicago)
Here's a fancy word, republicans: pretext. The comments opposing Fetterman would be the same if he were afflicted with a hangnail.
Daisy (Pittsburgh)
Fetterman will get better, Oz won't.
Ms. Pea (Seattle)
"The former television talk-show star was more articulate than the guy who had a stroke." What if Fetterman's stroke had left him unable to walk. Would it be okay to write, "The former television talk-show star ran further and jumped higher than the guy who had the stroke"? Of course not. Questions of this kind are nothing more than discrimination and do a disservice to anyone who's ever had to recover from a stroke. I've read statements like this multiple times regarding Fetterman. It's infuriating and unfair, and it's beneath Gail Collins to write such a statement. It shows her ignorance and her lack of understanding of what Fetterman's stroke and subsequent issues are. I would have thought better of Collins, but I see she's just like all the rest who still think it's okay to denigrate a guy with a handicap.
jks (ny)
NYC Mayor ED Koch had a stroke. He was fine!! Waaayy back then, no less!
Cowboy Marine (Colorado Trails)
Dr. Ronny Jackson, Dr. Scott Atlas, Dr. Ron Paul, Dr. Mehmet Oz. "The doctor will see you now"...The GOP medical team, inducing patient terror and Halloween nightmares.
Richard Strobel (Lehigh Valley)
Fetterman is going to get better. Oz never will. He will remain a carpetbagging huckster and Trump toadie. Until, of course, that is no longer politically or professionally expedient.
Emmy Froyd (Boston)
Fetterman will get better. Oz won't.
Eric (NJ)
If you were to blindfold the attendees at a republican/trump rally and substitute the speaker with a democrat touting the democratic/evil socialism ideas, the crowd would be ecstatically screaming their support. But when that plan is put forth by a "D", then the enthusiasm wanes. The same would be true if you switched who spent more on the pandemic programs, trump 2X, which the blindfolded are currently blaming for perceived inflation. These trump type supporters have had republican representation for years. Are they any better off than they were 4,6,8 years ago?
Jill C. (Durham, NC)
I'd like to know why ONLY John Fetterman has to give a 100% iron-clad guarantee that he will be healthy for the next six years. Not one of us is guaranteed six years of good health. NO ONE. Mehmet Oz could get hit by a bus, or be diagnosed with a genetically-linked cancer of some sort, or suffer a fatal bout of botulism from tainted food at a fancy restaurant. Donald Trump nearly died from COVID. Long COVID is real. And yet NOWHERE in the relentless media chatter of whether he's going to run for president again is HIS health mentioned. Herschel Walker has a history of auditory hallucinations, domestic violence and other signs of having suffered traumatic brain injury as a football player, never mind that the man can't construct a coherent English sentence. But he's a Republican, and so is Donald Trump, so it's all good for them. Only Democrats are required to guarantee perfect health in perpetuity. People have described Fetterman's performance as "painful to watch." I found him to be inspiring, persevering in his stroke recovery. What was painful to watch was someone who used to be a very prestigious heart surgeon reduced to the role of ignorant carnival barker for the sake of ego gratification.
Kontum (NM)
@Jill C. Many comparisons have been made of FDR's 'hidden' disability and JFK's 'hidden' health issues. But those were PHYSICAL issues, not cognitive issues. The Senate involves 100% cognitive interaction, not arm-wrestling or gymnastics. Fetterman and his team have said that his issues are just auditory processing problems, not cognition, and that may very well be the case. So why not have him take a COGNITION test administered by a neutral third-party and make public just the resukts of that one test.
Phoebe (Havertown, PA)
@Kontum I'm betting that Fetterman is perfectly capable of saying, "Man, woman, camera, person, TV".
Lynda (Florida)
@Kontum, Perhaps he can take the cognition test that Trump took. You know, person, woman, man, camera, TV.
Bklyn Girl (DC)
Unfortunately, many conservatives admire people with 10 mansions. They think those people are smarter than everyone else - rather than corrupt, which is more often the case. Snake oil salesmen like Oz are actually what they seek in their representatives.
Stan Smart (Cincinnati, OH)
If you read the Rolling Stone article you'll find that, indeed, Mr Oz owns two homes that he and his wife live in ... the rest are income properties. So maybe he's a landlord?
Phoebe (Havertown, PA)
@Stan Smart Neither of which are in Pennsylvania.
John R. (Arizona)
Fetterman if in office, and Mark Kelly and Harris who are in office, who actually makes their decisions? When any of these three speak they are clearly in way over their heads. To the dismay of the Liberal, Manchin and Sinema actually think for themselves...
Renee M (CA)
@John R. Have you been listening to Republicans? If you had, you would know that they speak in lock step, mouthing the words their so-called leaders tell them to, words their leaders frequently borrow from Russian propaganda. And Manchin and Sinema think for themselves? Explain why they, too, sound like right-wing parrots.
Mostly (Henderson, NV)
Once again the joke is on me for trusting Dr. Oz watching him on daytime TV years ago in my own doctor's waiting room.
CC (San Francisco)
I'm disappointed in our government and in our system that this is the best we can do. Fetterman should recover in peace, not forced to carry on because it's him or a snakeoil salesman. Neither of them should be the choice! Our lack of flexibility, and the way the stakes rise because of it, is ridiculous.
Better4All (Virginia)
Fetterman is a competent, experienced, capable leader who worked to improve the lives of over a million Pennsylvanians. Oz is a TV conman with a medical degree who misled millions of Pennsylvanians to the detriment of their own health. How is that a tough choice?
Patch Faa (Lucerne)
Good morning, Gail. At the end you say,"... Now, the Republican and Democratic nominees are who they are...." That's exactly right. I'm for Fetterman --- minus that fracking thing. [Someday the Democratic Party is going to have to explain to me its love affair with pumping 400 different chemicals into the ground water as if they were 100% oil-company owned Republicans. I didn't get it when Hillary was for fracking, either.] But here, with Fetterman, the D-candidate is Fetterman. So, the vote from D's must be Fetterman. ... but as for Oz.... It has been the position for years in the Libertarian Party, the extreme right-wing of the Republican Party, that a woman is not a man. She is not to be equal. She is not the head of the household. Libertarians have a very different idea of what should be in a Constitution and can't wait for their Constitutional Convention to get rid of all that libber stuff. To wit: In their Presidential Platform that they haven't bothered to change for decades, they state clearly and openly that though a man has full bodily autonomy and nothing and no one can tell him what to do with his own body...... ......... that a woman has no such rights. If she wants an abortion then the matter will be left up to "local standards". No, not "state's rights" or "Federal requirements", but LOCAL STANDARDS. Oz has told us who he is. Now believe him the first time for only he would know......
Andrew (Philadelphia)
I voted for Fetterman days before the debate. Even if the debate happened before I voted, I wouldn't have watched. I'd have voted for a veggie tray over Oz, or anyone else TFG endorsed. The whole country was NOT wondering how well John Fetterman was doing. The vote was against Oz and his puppet master more than it was for Fetterman.
Brez (Spring Hill, TN)
If being a Trumper and a con man isn't a disqualifying disability, I don't know what is. Certainly not missed syntax.
northlander (Michigan)
Aye and nay still work for him. That’s all it takes.
don green (nj)
Yes - I would take any warm body over a Republican. His ability to think or communicate does not matter! we just need the 51st vote. Biden isn’t all there and we are doing just fine!
Truth Hurts Red (MA)
@don green. If it is Democrat Senate candidates uber alles, I presume you would not blame Georgia Republicans for voting for Herschel Walker for the obverse tactical reason. You and I may not believe Walker or any Republican should be elected, but if someone else's political affiliation is different, there should be no moral impediment or ethical qualm preventing they/them from voting a strict GOP ticket regardless of the candidate's background, qualifications, or cognitive ability. The only objection you have is that voter's deplorable judgment in voting Republican, right?
Wine Country Dude (Napa Valley)
Gail, Gail, Gail. The title of your piece is a silly rhetorical device. I hope you didn't write it (the titles are often mere clickbait). The fact that Fetterman will not win an oratory prize does not eliminate legitimate concerns about his abililty to articulate his thoughts and process information.
VCS (Boston)
Fetterman in a coma would be more articulate than Herschel Walker. Get well soon, Big Guy. Crudités, anyone?
Truth Hurts Red (MA)
@VCS But you do understand how Georgia Republicans could vote for Herschel Walker for the obverse tactical reason. You and I may not believe Walker or any Republican should be elected, but if someone else' political affiliation is different, there should be no moral impediment or ethical qualm preventing they/them from voting a strict GOP ticket regardless of the candidate's background, qualifications, or cognitive ability. The only objection you would have is to that voter's deplorable judgment in voting Republican
Blackmamba (IL)
Yes but why isn't Dr. Mehmet Oz running for elective office in his home state of New Jersey and his home country of Turkey? Yes but what elective office has Mehmet Oz held at any level? Yes but John Fetterman is at least as articulate, clear, competent and consistent as Tommy Tuberbille, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Al Sharpton, Ted Cruz,Herschel Walker and Kevin McCarthy..
wildwest (Philadelphia)
"Abortion: a decision that should be made between a woman, her doctor & her political leaders." - Dr. Oz. I really don't have to comment on this statement. It speaks for itself. Shakespeare would say that the good "doctor" hoisted himself with his own petard by making this ill advised utterance. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. Only the radically Evangelical or the ireedmably stupid want to follow Dr. Oz down this yellow brick road. I agree with your analysis 100%, Gail. Truth over lies. Character over chicanery. Democracy over Christo-facism. John Fetterman over Dr. Oz in PA all the way!
James (MA)
If you think trump won the election, I'm afraid that you are the one painful to watch.
Jsailor (California)
Didn't watch any of the debates. I would vote for a rock labeled D rather than them most articulate R. Its all about who controls Congress.
Concerned (Citizen)
If they do vote along party lines- which party has the better platform? lets see- open boarders? not holding criminals responsible? allowing tent cities to take over city streets? giving away hard working peoples money to those that don't work? (Los Angeles guaranteed income program) the Democrats missed their opportunity to "govern down the middle" the last two years. and now we have passed that point where they can bring it back and it will be the Republicans turn to see if they can bring the country back on course to where most Americans want to see it- a place that compromises and makes sense- you can still have the American dream if you get an education, work hard and follow the rules
Renee M (CA)
@Concerned What you list would be horrible, if it were true. Fox/GQP talking points, however, are seldom reality adjacent. Amd, hint, Republicans have proven beyond question that they have zero interest in compromise, making sense, or even America itself.
Mel Count (Minneapolis, MN)
@Concerned except all of your accusations are lies with the exception on one. The federal government to date has not held Donald Trump responsible for Jan 6. These are Senators, not local or state officials. They would not be able to affect criminal prosecutions. I live in a blue state and we prosecute and imprison criminals all the time. I'm not really sure where you get your information about Democrats but it just ain't so. Eliminating tent cities is not the responsibility of Senators or the Federal Government as you should well know. I thought Republicans didn't want the Federal Government to get involved in State and Local governance. Social Welfare spending is just a small fraction of our total budget. Very little of the federal taxes hard-working Americans pay actually goes to supporting people that don't work as you seem to be claiming. The majority of it goes into Social Security and Medicare along with servicing the Debt and Military Spending. Federal Budget is all available online if you take the time to look it up. So many GOP complaints about Federal Spending are just rhetoric to Amp-up th base. You talk about compromise as if the GOP actually does it. They don't.
Entera (Santa Barbara)
I filled out my mail-in ballot yesterday for November's election. The increasing "antics" of Trump and HIS Republican Party during the past few years have made it really easy to decide which spot on that long, crowded ballot I would darken, Any candidate with an R next to their name was left blank, and all the many judgeships in the district who were up for a new term did not likewise receive my vote if they had been appointed by a Republican governor. Easiest ballot I ever completed in my life.
Kathy White (Las Vegas)
I have already voted, all blue. It felt so good.
jemck (phila., pa)
@Kathy White Me too, what a soothing (with concerns, of course) feeling. To me Red means Lying, Cheating, Denial, Misinformation, Obfuscation, and, of course, the color Orange. If a candidate is an R, I ignore them all. Wish I could convince the entire party to just vote Blue this time and help the fumigation of State and Federal govts.
Kathleen (NH)
Fetterman is more articulate than Herschel Walker. Let's say that out loud.
Chuck Naill (Tennessee)
@Kathleen Very true!!
The Hang Nail (Wisconsin)
It's frustrating that these "debates" are just set up to generate articles based on gaffes. They are not debates. They are a series of attack ads, superficial elevator pitches, and slogans. Real journalists need to push back on this. No reasonable person should ever decide on a candidate based on these sensational, ratings and article-generating venues. Case in point - Gail brings up Fetterman's line about fracking but does anyone know anything about his position after the debate and after reading Gail's article? Not at all. Because all she and most journalists care about are optics and horse races. I know, this has been said a thousand times before and yet journalists have not changed. It's the one thing Trump was right about. The media is horrible. But he was merely looking at a broken clock and luckily right.
Spinoza (Oregon)
@The Hang Nail The text of the Lincoln-Douglas debates are available. It is perverse to even consider these TV charades as serious matter. OTOH, voters today would not tolerate the substance and length of substantive debates. Postcards and 15 second spots determine elections. Democracy is appropriately held in contempt by both parties.
Max Dither (Ilium, NY)
Of course, the Democratic candidate would be better for Pennsylvania, but Fetterman's stroke threw a wrench into the campaign. Many voters will be so concerned about it that they may choose to not vote. And not voting at all is like a vote for Oz. So, what Fetterman should do is to conduct a stealth campaign for whomever his successor might be if he has to bow out from the campaign or from the Senate if he wins. Let the voters know who would be next in line. That would reassure people of the continuity they seek in their political choices. And it would ease their concern about having a fully unqualified, untruthful person like Oz in office instead.
As de Oro (Utah)
The writer is on spot. This election, no matter who is running, is about outnumbering one party over the other; the sum of its parts is more important
GP (PA)
In 2000, Mel Carnahan won a Senate seat in Missouri despite being dead for about 5 weeks. What's that really say about the quality of the opponent? Seriously, why isn't Oz winning outright against a guy that just had a stroke?! McConnell was spot on about these Trump candidates.
dianaskylark (Alpharetta, GA)
Mr. Fetterman has cardiomyopathy. If Dr. Oz had cardiomyopathy plus a severe stroke, he would not run for Senate.
Peter (The belly of the beast)
@dianaskylark it is really tragic that Fetterman couldn't put the good of the country and his party first and step aside at the time he had his stroke. There will be other elections in the future. But, as she said, it now is what it is and the choice is between Democracy and a Fascist state if the GOP gets back in charge.
Renee M (CA)
@Peter From Oz’s history, it is obvious he would run if he were dead.
Steve (Greenbrier)
why should Dr Oz lend one of his condos to the homeless? The multicultural and economic virtue signaling is getting exhausting these days.
Renee M (CA)
@Steve So you don’t watch Fox, or read the news? Republicans regularly suggest whatever Democrat they are trained to attack any given day should take undocumented immigrants and homeless into their own homes. For them it is a matter of signaling their shallowness and hypocrisy. But hypocrisy is one of the only true values of Republicans.
Abraham quisling (Norwegia)
Democrats pretty much always have the same policies. Republicans pretty much always have the same policies, except for Boebert and marjorie Taylor no longer green who are just there to own the libs. Even most MAGA policies aren’t much different from the far-right stuff from the past, even the anti-democracy stuff. If this isn’t your first election, you should already have figured out who you’re going to vote for now and pretty much forever. There’s no point in watching debates or listening to candidates. If a candidate is completely unacceptable for some reason, you’ll find out easily enough without have to look too hard.
Robert Perry (simi Valley)
Not sure what's going on with all the fear-mongering headlines in the NY Times. If this election isn't a complete wipe-out by the Democrats, they'll have some 'splainin' to do. If people can't see the Grand Canyon chasm between Fetterman and Oz, then we are certainly done as a democracy and have completed the transition to idiocracy.
dejikins (Rochester NY)
@Robert Perry I agree about the Times negative slant on virtually everything lately. How about just reporting facts impartially, or is that too old-fashioned?
Renee M (CA)
@Robert Perry The NYT has devolved into a GQP repeater station in recent years. Just peruse their opinion section. It is now almost entirely populated by Republicans.
Leesburg & Down (Leesburg, VA)
I don't understand why Fetterman didn't drop out of the race and let Conor Lamb replace him. While having a stroke was tragic, he's clealry a shell of his former self and any voter who was on the fence and watched the debate is clearly going to vote for Oz. Lamb would have wiped the floor with that snake oil salesman. Fetterman should have put the party above himself but because of his selfish act, we Democrats will likely lose the Senate in addition to the House.
jemck (phila., pa)
@Leesburg & Down Ooooh, it hurts my soul, but tragically, I think you are correct. C. Lamd, however, wasn't the preferred man, as the final count proved. But I'd take the chances right now, after that sad performance. Hope we're both dead wrong.
Gary (Monterey, California)
So .... "At this point, party is all that matters." That line also explains why many people in Georgia will vote for Hershel Walker.
Len (Pennsylvania)
Yes it was painful to watch as John Letterman struggled to articulate his positions. But it was MORE painful to watch Herschel Walker struggle to articulate HIS positions and he didn't have a stroke. Yet Republican pundits attack Fetterman and say he is unfit for office because of his medical condition. If there was an award for hypocrisy the Republican Party would win it hands down. Honestly, one would have to look hard and long to find another group of two-faced people who only care about winning.
Patrick Kiger (Takoma Park, MD)
" stroke-induced confusion" You should be ashamed of yourself for writing that line. Fetterman's stroke didn't affect his cognition. He has difficulty with auditory processing and is still regaining his speech fluency, which is why he stuck to short, rehearsed answers. That's not confusion. His actual position on fracking, detailed on his website, is actually a smart one. He wants a transition to clean energy as quickly as possible, but recognizes that it has to be done in a way that preserves employment for the Pennsylvania workers in the natural gas industry. You might know this, if you'd bothered to look it up.
Lyndsey Marie Shanley (Puget Sound WA)
Fetterman’s intelligence is still there in his head. He just has trouble putting the words together and speaking them in an articulate manner at this point in his disability. He has served PA well in the past. It will be a shame if Oz, another reality star, wins this election. Did anyone other than me notice how fast Oz spoke during the debate? Maybe on purpose hoping Fetterman wouldn’t be able to keep up and he would be confused. Not only that, but Fetterman would have trouble answering some of these questions or responding in 60 or 15 seconds. I don’t think you can judge Fetterman based on this debate. I heard him speak yesterday at an event and he sounds much, much better.
Peter (The belly of the beast)
@Lyndsey Marie Shanley the time constraints definitely put Fetterman at a disadvantage. In a school or workplace accommodations would be made to allow more time for answering the question. He seemed particularly rattled when the moderator would end her question with "30 seconds".
Alex (Durham, NC)
Neither of them belong in the Senate. Fetterman has always come off, to me at least, as tremendous inauthentic and somewhat of a clown and Oz is a grifter with no business in government. The people of PA deserve better. That said I'd vote Fetterman in a heartbeat to keep Democrats in charge in the Senate.
Jeff (Wayne)
Dr Oz says he wants prosperity for all, but appears his families company was willing to undercut workers paying the largest fine ever for illegal labor. https://www.ice.gov/news/releases/asplundh-tree-experts-co-pays-largest-civil-settlement-agreement-ever-levied-ice
Sherry Wacker (Oakland)
Fetterman is more coherent than Trump any day of the week.
Sarah Costello (Houston Texas)
By this logic, I guess Georgia voters shouldn't be bothered by Herschel Walker's many shortcomings... they should vote with control of the Senate in mind. And I bet they are. In many ways, I agree with Ms. Collins, but in the end, character DOES matter. These people are making huge decisions on our behalf. And if you look at character, Democrats are going to win out almost every time, because it takes a craven liar to support the GOP platform at this point.
Karen (Boundless)
Fetterman’s recent stroke (and improving health) is not a barrier to his being an effective Senator for the people of Pennsylvania, where he is currently Lt. Governor. He is lucid and highly capable and will, no doubt, surround himself with capable aides as well. As we have seen from the octogenarian members of the Senate who refuse to retire, an effective legislator need not win daily speech and debate contests or do cartwheels to be effective and serve the people of their state. As for Oz, one need only read what his peers at Columbia think of his quackery to know that he’s not the real deal. I can’t erase from my head the image of “local government officials” in an exam room with a woman and her doctor deciding what will happen to the woman’s body and life. Like Gail said, there’s no difficult decision here.
Daisy's Cute Little Doghouse (Corvallis, OR)
One perspective I haven't seen was the lack of accommodation by the network hosting the debate for someone who has suffered a stroke, or for the hearing impaired. Sure, the moderators explained how screens with closed captioning had been installed behind them to aid Fetterman, but as someone who relies on closed captioning (to assist with what hearing I have left), I found the debate's captioning for viewers nearly impossible to follow, as was the captioning on the video of the nurse asking a question of the candidates. The captioning was FAR behind each moderator's question, and never remained on screen long enough to include all that was said & asked. And the answers? Even worse. I just hope Fetterman's captioning was better than what I had to rely on. I also had a brain tumor that affected my short-term memory and made me mix up, and combine, words; I knew what I wanted to say, but couldn't get the words out quite right. But time and healing have helped tremendously. So, I was really disappointed in Oz's lack of compassion for someone recovering from a stroke, especially considering Oz is a physician who once took an oath to, "Do no harm." He didn't have to pander to his opponent, but I think he gave us a glimpse into the kind of senator he would be, especially if talking one-on-one with constituents who might need a bit of extra time or accommodation. Don't give up on Fetterman, or anyone with disabilities. The network did bare minimum, but we don't have to.
Donna Gomien (Santa Fe, NM, USA)
@Daisy's Cute Little Doghouse I haven't read all the comments, but I find it odd that the media do not seem to be aware of the Americans With Disabilities Act, which calls for reasonable accommodation to be made for those with disabilities. Needing a little help while recovering from a stroke fits that bill (literally and figuratively) perfectly, it seems to me.
Crimea Riva (NYC)
Mr. Odd's never gonna see a constituent who doesn't pay $25K for a table. even then, he's not gonna listen.
Daisy's Cute Little Doghouse (Corvallis, OR)
@Donna Gomien, I agree about the ADA, and haven't seen anyone adress that issue. My parents bought our first closed captioning TV decades ago before captioning was required by law because my dad was losing his hearing resulting from when he was a sailor on a destroyer (ship) during the Korean war. About a decade ago, he saw a doctor at the VA who told him they saw many veterans who had served before hearing protection was widely available, going back to WW2 (earlier vets were no longer living), so Dad's experience around the ship's huge guns wasn't surprising, and he still gets a small stipend each month as a result (at 91). In articles and columns I've read since the debate, as well as some of episodes from Democratic & left-leaning pundits I follow, none have addressed the ADA aspect, and ridicule Fetterman for debating. They seem to forget what a GOP-controlled senate will do to our country. So many have a disability, or know someone who does, especially with our aging population, but the disabled are still largely ignored and underestimated. My dad is now in skilled nursing and is essentially deaf. My sister & I often must remind staff of this & to use the white board we've provided to 'speak' with him. Most say they comply, but I've been with staff who would rather yell than write (he still can't hear them) or who say he's being stubborn or temperamental. He's not, he just needs a simple accommodation. And, I'm now fighting to get a CC TV for him. Sigh...
Claudia (PA)
This Pennsylvanian is concerned about the issues and where the candidates stand on the issues. I know how John Fetterman will vote if elected to the Senate and I know how Oz will vote. So no contest - I’m all in for Fetterman.
Jim S (Andover)
None of these comments make much sense. I mean I can't even tell what the points are that the readers are making.
Ron (Tokyo)
OZ is a corrupt snake oil seller. I don't care that he is a slick talker and also lies a lot. No way he should be a senator.
Gert (marion, ohio)
@Ron Yea, but in the age of Trump this all it takes to become a politician and work for him.
Jordan (Melbourne FL)
a ringing endorsement... Fetterman may be almost completely unintelligible, unable to lie effectively about his flip flop on fracking (and should he win and be cognizant enough to pull it off he's going to stab average Pennsylvania Joe's in the back the day after he wins, if he wins, by telling anyone who will listen that he never said he was in favor of fracking) and otherwise completely compromised by his medical condition but c'mon man!........c'mon.....ya know......Trump! Right?
Constable Dogberry (Victoria, Canada)
Couldn’t find the debate on network tv in Canada. There’s seems to be a lot of comments that Fetterman was incoherent at times. Here’s a verbatim Trump quote from the second Biden debate “ …..they want to take out the cows….” For TFG incoherence is his lingua franca.
tomjoad (New York)
Does Oz have to walk around with a sandwich board sign saying 'I AM A GRIFTER . . . AND HAVE BEEN FOR MANY YEARS. . .SUCKERS!' for Republicans to finally see what he is? Or perhaps they already know and just don't care – and that it is all about power and "winning" for them? Those flags they wrap themselves in really need a good laundering.
Valerie Elverton Dixon (East St Louis, Illinois)
I hope women, non-binary people, and the men who love them will vote for Fetterman. He is clear on the issue that matters above all the rest, the right to control one's own body. If abortion rights are not codified into federal law, no one in this country is free. If the state can command a person's uterus in the name of saying a life, how long before the state comes knocking on everyone's door demanding blood, bone marrow, a kidney, or a piece of liver in the name of saving a life? Vote for the Democrats. See: "No Compromise" at: http://www.justpeacetheory.com Click on essays.
Douglas Dyer (Texas)
Gail leans hard left, so her opinions reflect that bias. Discount her lack of objectivity at your discretion. Fetterman did a 180 on fracking and, good on 'em, your readers below offer hollow reasons Fetterman should have used to account for that... like blaming it Putin or the Republicans. It's interesting that so many people have an opinion about fracking; something they know nothing about... just like climate change. Have you ever engaged a climate change believer on the issue? The level of ignorance on the subject is both astounding and disappointing. Start by having them explain why the tropical troposphere isn't warming the way the models predict and how that undermines the Left's hysteria about climate change. Build a lot of nukes and move on. As for Fetterman... he should withdraw.
RN (Ann Arbor, MI)
@Douglas Dyer Yeah, If you can look around and NOT see climate change then you have a greater ability to deny than all those "peaceful protesters" on Jan 6. I believe in climate change and I oppose fracking. Why? Because of the chemicals used to drill those wells and that are then pumped in open-air ponds. Many of those chemicals are not revealed because they are proprietary. So, I'm opposed because of the poison. Of course, if the climate change deniers - such as yourself - would like to engage in an open and honest discussion wihtout twisting facts I would love to listen.
Seriously??? (NJ)
If I could vote in other states: No to Fedderman, he seems brain damaged No to Walker. I don’t know if he impregnated than woman but he certainly isn’t bright enough to be in the senate. Intelligence matters.
PenguinLady (USA)
@Seriously??? So you'd vote for a snake oil salesman like Oz who actually lives in NJ?
Kip Leitner (Philadelphia)
The sight of Oz attacking a man who has trouble finding the right word was nauseating. I turned it off after 3 minutes. The good news is Fetterman is breathing and seem to have his ordinary faculties. That's all we need. Vote "D" to go forward, "R" for reverse.
Jordan (Melbourne FL)
@Kip Leitner and thank you for repeating the " Vote "D" to go forward, "R" for reverse." trope by Socrates that got old 3 years ago..
Renee M (CA)
@Jordan But three years is less than one tenth of the time that has passed since Republican politicians last had any policy other than tax cuts for the wealthy to offer. Some of are more concerned about that.
PaulB67 (South Of North Carolina)
Fetterman stumbled but Oz -- the managed, manicured, manipulative master of ceremonies gave all of us an unforgettable word picture: a pregnant woman, her OBGYN and a room full of state legislators -- mostly men -- deciding whether the woman could or should have an abortiion. The stumble of this election season.
Neil Williams (Charlotte)
Oh, Gail, for you and two many others, it’s all about the color of the jersey.
zarathustra (VA)
The disturbing trend here is that we overloook the actual candidate and only stare fixedly on ideology. Since many of these candidates are inexperienced in the ways of managing big things, we are leaving it up to 'party elders' to guide them in the right direction. But what happens when the party elders depart the scene. We will be left with a carload of clowns, grifters and incompetents...oh wait, that's what we have now.
PenguinLady (USA)
@zarathustra Since Fetterman was the Mayor of Braddock, PA, I don't see how you can say he is inexperienced in they way of managing "big things". It's Oz who has no experience, except in selling fake remedies and doesn't even know what grocery store he's in.
zarathustra (VA)
@PenguinLady Do you mean Braddock PA, population 1700?
Patch Faa (Lucerne)
@zarathustra That's still more political experience than Donald J. Trump ever had. And, frankly, the R- party "leaders" DID depart, long ago, and have already left us with "a carload of clowns, grifters and incompetents." I suspect that final crack-up came about the time that John McCain didn't bother to check on Sarah Palin's credentials. So... can we expect to see you running for public office any time soon?
Timothy Tumbleweed (Dallas, Texas)
Inasmuch as communications skills play a critical role in being a Senator, Mr. Fetterman is not qualified, even if you agree that his cognitive abilities are unimpaired. If he were a man of integrity, he would have dropped out of the race in favor of a more qualified candidate after his unfortunate stroke in June. This criticism is entirely fair. He choose to run for office without disclosing the full extent of his condition. Moreover, he continues to hide the ball about his condition by refusing to release medical records. His lack of transparency and arrogance may well cost the Democrats control of the Senate.
Kathy Riley (MA)
@Timothy Tumbleweed I read there are at least 3 stroke survivors among our current Senators. Remove them from office too? If Oz were a man of integrity, he would've used his medical degree to educate people about strokes. I would remind you of the fellow MD's from Oz's Alma Mater who signed a letter asking that his medical license be revoked for all the false claims on his tv show. So he has more integrity? At least Fetterman admitted his struggles, which makes him much more relatable that a carpetbagging zillionaire who has little understanding of the challenges people in PA face..
Randy (SF, NM)
@Timothy Tumbleweed That's rich. We're still waiting for Trump's tax returns, the GOP's "beautiful" health care plans and do you by chance remember the glowing letter written by Donald's personal physician claiming the Trump, who needs two hands to sip water, was the fittest person ever to run for office?
jamiebaldwin (Redding, CT)
@Timothy Tumbleweed Hey, Texas! Thanks for weighing-in. My view, and I'm closer to PA than you are--is that Fetterman is an honorable person and that his doctors told him he can expect a full recovery. Still waiting to see the orange man's medical records, although, obviously, he's indestructible. Oh, and tax his returns!
Alyson Lloyd (Philadelphia PA)
After reading so many people write that John Fetterman's stroke and his recovery make him unfit to be PA's Senator, I have to ask what other disabilities do you think makes a person incapable of working a political position? I'm serious. I really need to know if my disability is on it.
Glenn (Chicago)
@Alyson Lloyd well I would say high on the list of disqualifying disabilities is the inability to articulate your positions and convince voters that you are qualified for the position and that you will be able to function at a high level representing your constituents. Oh yeah and not being able to cognitively function at an appropriate level and understand basic questions. If that is you theN I recommend you don’t run for the senate.
Scott (New York)
@Glenn So Trump is disqualified? :)
Glenn (Chicago)
@Scott yes
Walter Nieves (Suffern, New York)
Politics..at least when well done, allows a dead candidate to win over a living opponent ! Getting people to vote is to get them to identify with a particular party ..specific issues are secondary, rather voters are asked to identify with the passions of a particular party. The current passion of the Republican party is to no one's surprise TRUMP. The Republican party has made it their responsibility to broadcast his claims of having the 2020 election stolen a centra mantra. The Washington hearings were used by the Republican party to allow him to claim martyr status and they made certain that they have made it clear that a vote for Walker or Zellner is actually a vote for TRUMP! Democrats have opted to focus heavily in ..gasp...the same passion...TRUMP...only they are hoping that they can bank on painting him with the negating of women's rights to abortion and are hoping that Republican candidate will be seen all as surrogates for Trump. So for as much as inflation and the war in Ukraine are important issues, Trump hovers over the November election which has become a referendum on his policies and ideas, his racism and his anti-women's rights stance...tragically it is also a test to see if voters can get past the Republican traded on image of Trump and see who he really was and is .
Elizabeth (Athens, Ga.)
Having had two close relatives that were stroke victims, I have high hopes that in another 6 months Fetterman will seem like a different person. In 1960 my mother, age 59, had a serious stroke. She was comatose for a month. When she was released from hospital, she needed help to walk, had trouble eating and slowly got better. This was before PT, OT, rapid treatment and all the medical advantages of the past 60 years. She made an amazing recovery and lived to be 80 with only mild disability. Likewise, my brother, who at 92 suffered a stroke. He was in hospital in 20 minutes, and made a rapid recovery. So much has been learned about rapid treatment. He lived in remarkable good health for another 4 years. Recovery takes time but the progress we have already witnessed with Mr. Fetterman is impressive. His courage to stand for a debate is both admirable and concerning. I expect the next few weeks will make an enormous difference, as will the time between the election and swearing in. I hope the people in Pennsylvania will realize this and give him their vote. Dr. Oz is a fraud and a danger to this country, women especially.
Nan Socolow (West Palm Beach, FL)
The millions of viewers of the Fetterman-Oz debate knew who they were voting for before they watched the event. The big guy who had a stroke during the PA primary, or the smooth-talking TV star? Dr. Oz, Trump’s endorsee, moved from NJ to PA 2 years ago. A glam, rich carpet-bagger surgeon who lorded his TV star savvy over Fetterman, who was clearly healing from a stroke. Oz opined that abortion should concern “only the woman, her doctor and a local political leader”…say what? Any doctor who doesn’t show empathy for a man who is recovering from a stroke doesn’t deserve election to anything, let alone the U.S. Senate. The midterm debates have been must-see reality TV shows and fields for venomous comment in our divided country. Voting is the only way our democracy will change. Vote.
baba (ganoush)
If Fetterman had been impaired fighting in Iraq, he’d be called a hero courageously overcoming his injuries. Unfortunately the media are sucked into the narrative that smears him as impaired. Disgusting.
Tom Tuna (Michigan)
For the ghouls calling themselves American Conservatives, it was red meat. Fetterrman reminded everyone up front that he would have trouble articulating speech. But what Oz said was all to revealing. When Fetterman said repeatedly, and with trouble, that he supports fracking, everyone knows he doesn't. But when Oz says the choice regarding a woman's reproductive rights is between a woman, her doctor, AND LOCAL POLITICAL LEADERS, that was no mistake. The debate was pretty damning for Oz; not so much for Fetterman.
John (South Bend)
Oz’s slip of the lip is getting more air time than Fetterman’s struggles. Oz is getting pilloried because of what he said. Fetterman is receiving plaudits for how he spoke. Let Oz eat his crudités in one of his many houses, perhaps with a local politician to monitor his chewing.
Impatient (Boston)
We are a nation of idiots. That’s why OZ even has a platform. Who in their right mind would even trust his medical judgment? Oh, millions of Americans. Same idiots who think DJT was a brilliant business man. Well, the joke is on us! DJT and Oz using the same playbook have huckstered their way into millions of dollars and followers. We get the government we elect and we are a nation of idiots. It is almost like we pride ourselves in being ignorant. Like the hillbillies JD Vance ridiculed. Now they vote for that butt kisser.
Currents (NYC)
I sent Fetterman a donation last night. His mechanical issues with speech have nothing to do with his abilities to think, with his determination to actually govern to help people, with his honesty and integrity. Compare him to the swindler, the carpet-bagger, the person who wants to harm women running against him. There's one obvious choice if you don't pay attention to the optics and to the media who is still reporting as if both sides are legitimate. Mind boggling.
Jackson (Virginia)
@Currents Honesty and integrity? If that were the case, he would be in rehab instead of running for Senator. His left wing politics apparently appeal to those who want to release criminals.
forgotten voter (Indiana, PA)
From your perspective it is regrettable that people like me will decide this election. If 45% of Pennsylvanians will vote Republican no matter what and 45% will do the same with Democrats; then it comes down to moderate independent voters like me. I watched the debate and I don't believe his problem is so blithely credited to auditory processing. I looked at pre stroke videos of Mr. Fetterman, he was dynamic and strong. That is not the pathetic figure I saw on Tuesday night. I am very disappointed that he refuses to release his medical records. I cannot vote for a Senator or even a dog catcher who is possibly cognitively impaired. This is not the type of disability that would not affect performance. The Democratic Party in Pennsylvania failed to persuade Mr. Fetterman to drop out of the race and place an effective Democrat to run against Dr. Oz. I think the second place finisher in that primary, Conor Lamb would have won easily over Dr. Oz. It is a sad "choice" for us.
RC (NY)
@forgotten voter The reality is this is going to be most elections--Hochul Zeldin here in NY? Cuomo would've wiped Zeldin back to Long Island, but the "powers that be" forced him to resign and what we're left with is a twit who would rather ignore the actual problems New Yorkers are facing to take hush money and a state legislature that's even worse. Honestly, I'm a former Democrat, and I still would rather vote for Democrats than Republicans, generally. However, in spite of his faults, I have to back Zeldin. Only because in their one on one debate, Zeldin decisively won. Hochul was on the defensive trying to defend a status quo that has, for the nearly two decades since George Pataki left office, seen homeless people nearly triple, seen CUNY prices double (prices doubled from 2005 to now) seen more working people worry about homelessness than ever before. The reality is-- NY's problems aren't a matter of supply and demand. If they were AOC and the like wouldn't have chased Amazon's headquarters in 2018, more or less sealing the fate that NY is no longer business friendly, and denying every housing development proposed. Look--common sense gun laws are just that, common sense. But no concealed carry for law abiding citizens? This is the same city that doesn't want women carrying pepper spray to defend from rapists. Trying to buy a Swiss-Army Knife will get you red flagged. They tried to press murder charges on an elderly bodega owner. What other conclusion is there?
Joe L (Michigan)
I'm bracing myself for a more tax cuts for the rich, etc., Senator. It's sad.
Jim (OR)
No Congressional decision is made quickly or requires fast thinking. Hell generally freezes over by the time Congress acts. Besides if Fetterman wins no one will have to endure the long winded speeches that so many Congressional members rely on to put everyone to sleep. Oz is a snake oil salesman. Always has been and always will be.
drawde31751 (PA)
This column is an example of ideology versus common sense. Fetterman's performance was a disqualifying disaster and clearly demonstrated that he is unsuited to serve in the Senate. Yet this progressive columnist would rather support a brain damaged stroke victim as long as he is a guaranteed vote for Biden's agenda. The hell with being a viable and contributing member just as long as he's Schumer's puppet to use.
Concerned (MA)
Would you say that Churchill was unqualified? He had a stroke during his time in office. Or Roosevelt? What makes someone qualified? Being a TV personality who by the way has hardly lived in PA? Or perhaps someone who actually has worked for its citizens before.
mhklein57 (Brooklyn, NY)
@drawde31751 I agree with you, but I'm with Gail. When it comes to Congress, agenda comes before personality. If I was a Pennsylvanian voter, I'd want to be confident that John Fetterman will come in and vote my agenda. That's all I would care about. That's what I care about here in New York.
Michael (Wisconsin)
@Concerned In both those cases, there was ample other evidence for voters or citizens to make a judgment of their fitness to serve. They were visibly performing their duties under very stressful circumstances and the citizens could judge them by their results. In this case, the only thing voters have is his debate performance a simple doctor's note - not even complete records.
Dan (Florida)
"The most important thing about this election, by far, is that it could decide who will control the Senate." Think bigger, Gail. The most damning fact, by far, is the fact that a congressional representative's party affiliation dictates how they represent their constituents. SMH.
Richard Brody (Mercer Island, WA)
The big question is why Oz is running at all. His accumulated wealth, mansions included, plus his fame from being a “TV doctor” and his medical experience do not necessarily qualify him for this office. Hidden behind his TV personae is the big question of why. His support by Trump as well as his admonition to support Trump for President in 2024 alone should disqualify him. Voters, do not be persuaded by his smoothness. Remember that should he win he will become part of the McConnell cadre of naysayers.
David H (Northern Va.)
@Richard Brody He's running to be a cat's paw for Donald Trump.
larkspur (dubuque)
I do not believe in the swing vote, the person who votes for Obama, then Trump, then Biden, or any mix therein. I do not believe polls can get an honest answer from anyone. Polls have been broken by social media algorithms. People don't even view what they believe, but what is delivered by the algorithm to maximize agitation in the name of attention. Mr Fetterman should have dropped out not out of a question of competence but of credibility. I hate to see Oz seem reasonable.
Lyndsey Marie Shanley (Puget Sound WA)
A poll of 1000 people does not represent over 150,000 million voters. I do not put any value in the polls any longer. They are not only inaccurate, but people also lie about who they are voting to make them that way.
Renee M (CA)
@larkspur If you see Oz as reasonable, then you are not reasoning.
Jay Holzman (Portland, Oregon)
Democrats are different than Republicans. Democrats would never offer up Herschel Walker as a candidate.
james (USA)
@Jay Holzman But will offer up Fetterman?
Abraham quisling (Norwegia)
Well of course not. He’s a republican.
Roadrunner (NV)
@james Yes. Fetterman is a son of the soil with a masters degree from Harvard who cares about Pennsylvanians and who happens to have some auditory processing issues after a stroke.
Jane Miller (Scottsdale, Arizona)
Debates are simply political NASCAR. People watch to see the crashes. By the time we get to debates, there is nothing we don't know about candidates. We know their position on issues, their personal morality, and how proficient they are at bullying and name-calling.
Marie (BOSTON)
Isn't it ironic? If Republicans believed their small government rhetoric they would have to vote for Fetterman since they say he won't be able to do anything. Right? here characterization of him sounds like the perfect no-government candidate! Republicans always expect to have it both ways. He's as competent to serve as a sack of potatoes, but he's such a danger for what he will do if he does.
Steven (Marfa, TX)
We watch politics for the clown show. Since Daniel Webster, even.
A Blinkin (Chicago)
Fetterman is walker with a brain and conscience and with the benefit of having read a book
Volker (Germany)
Talking about movies: When you look at the leading politicians in Europe ("Shady Deal" Scholz, "Stock Exchange" Sunak, for example, not to speak of all the right-wing to fascist figures) and then look at the USA in the hope of finding better conditions at least in the (still) most powerful country on earth... ...you somehow feel like you're in a political remake of "Invasion of the Body Snatchers". And I explicitly do not mean this in relation to Mr Fetterman and his health condition. I wish him a speedy recovery!
P McGrath (USA)
Even after his stroke, Fetterman is sharper than Biden.
Lyndsey Marie Shanley (Puget Sound WA)
And even more so than Trump.
Grabski (Morris County, NJ)
Hi! Good night! Fettermans problems were legion Of course he has always been against fracking. All e could muster was “I am not against fracking”, and not addressing his own policies He was reduced to complaining about the closed caption system he wanted and the format he agreed to At some point we metaphorically wanted his corner to jump into the ring and stop the fight The main takeaway is there should not be voting but in Election Day.
Lyndsey Marie Shanley (Puget Sound WA)
People should only be able to vote on Election Day? Is that what you were saying? How can over 150 million people vote in one day? That is why we have mail in ballots. It would be impossible for that many people to vote in one day. Wouldn’t that leave out people who are elderly, disabled, or work? Do you realize how long the lines would be?
Bluebird (NY)
@Grabski We should all oppose fracking. It releases dangerous carcinogens into air and water, making it hazardous to the health of anybody who lives or works where fracking is occurring. https://www.forbes.com/sites/judystone/2017/02/23/fracking-is-dangerous-to-your-health-heres-why/?sh=7679a44d5945
JWALD (Brooklyn)
@Grabski Most western European countries, Canada, Australia and New Zealand allow early voting. Limiting election day for a country as big as ours to one day (on a Tuesday no less) is anti-democratic and voter suppressive. Heck, you don't even need to be a registered voter in Canada as long as you have ID.
Wally Grigo (Madison, Ct)
Did you ever wonder why the anti-abortion crowd won't tolerate an exception for incest? It's because white evangelicals believe in the Bible. In the beginning God created Adam and Eve, who begat Cain and Abel. Now it stands to reason that Eve must have begat a daughter or two that we've never heard about. Was Adam the father of a girl as well as his 2 boys? If not, at least one girl must have been the daughter of either Cain or Abel, beating Oedipus to the literary punch. And after Cain killed Abel and Adam and Eve departed, it was up to the murderer to have sex with his own daughter--or was it his sister? Or both, I guess. If you're a devout evangelical, you can't have one without the other. If you believe in the Bible, then it makes perfect sense that you would tolerate incest. After all, how else did the rest of us get here?
Elizabeth (Athens, Ga.)
@Wally Grigo Wally, this is why they quickly invented the land of Nod. It lies somewhere East of Eden. So they say.
Carl (Idaho)
@Wally Grigo This is just wonderful!
Patrick Wart (San Francisco)
“Everybody knows someone who has had a stroke.” I wouldn’t put my crippled senile grandma in charge of important leadership decisions, sorry.
Grouse (PA)
@Patrick Wart My father had a stroke, fully recovered, and lived 23 more years as an intelligent, kind, compassionate, fully-functioning, well-informed, non-partisan human being who would have made a better PA senator than a smooth-talking bunco artist from NJ.
Lyndsey Marie Shanley (Puget Sound WA)
your senile grandmother is probably 80 years old. So yeah, I agree with you.
Robert (Coventry CT)
This is another case where the democrats, being more concerned about kindness and PC, have lost themselves a senate seat. I feel badly for John Fetterman. But he should have been removed from the ticket and replaced with someone who is qualified, and physically and mentally healthy, and who could have raked Oz over the coals in that debate, and show that this Oz, like the Wizard, is another republican humbug. But the democrats are more concerned with being nice guys than they are about winning, and now we may get a republican US Senate. God help us.
Grouse (PA)
@Robert It's more like democrats–being rightly concerned about a smooth-talking carpetbagging flimflammer who has embraced Trumpism and who thinks "local officials" should decide who is allowed an abortion and who isn't–are backing a man who had a bad night on a debate stage but who also has been open about his auditory processing issues, and who is a decent human being with a history of doing right by the people of his state.
Robert (Coventry CT)
@Grouse I agree with you, and if I lived in PA, I would vote for Fetterman. The problem is that a lot of other people are on the fence, and the democrats have given them an excuse (however lame) to vote for Oz. The political issues you raised are very serious and for that reason, the democrats must win that senate seat. That should have meant the nomination of strongest possible candidate.
Rose Anne (Chicago)
Obama won because of his speeches. No we know better.
Alyson Lloyd (Philadelphia PA)
So did Ronald Reagan. Hey, Reagan should have 8 Tony's thanks to his State of the Union performances.
J Beatty (Ohio)
@Rose Anne Sure, Jan. Obama turned around the worst recession since the Great Depression, and Trump coasted on that economic success. When Trump took office, the U.S. economy had already enjoyed years of expansion with historically low unemployment and steady job creation. President Obama took a 10% unemployment rate and drove it down to 4.7% in his final days. That rate dropped during Trump’s time to 3.5% by 2020. It was already back to 4.1% by the time his tax cuts for billionaires took effect in 2018. Job growth fared better under Obama, too. During the last 33 months of the Obama administration, job growth averaged 224,000 a month. The first 33 months of the Trump administration saw an average of 34,000 fewer jobs a month. Moreover, the so-called “rocket fuel” President Trump touted dumb tax cut only ended up supercharging stock buybacks and providing one-off bonuses for some employees. And so on.
B Sharp (Cincinnati)
No I did not watch the debate, I chose not to, but I read about it. I give John Fetterman credit, recovering from stroke, he was honest about himself. Lets not forget that D. Oz`s business was chatting up in his television shows. His mixing up the facts was evident, on woman`s abortion.
bsb (ny)
Gail, you have always been "out there". Still, your comment, "At this point, party is all that matters..." shows not just your bias, but your closemindedness. And for you, with the bully pulpit, to suggest to your readers that "At this point, party is all that matters..." is shameful, arrogant and harmful.
Bonnie Huggins (Denver)
I don't know why Republicans bother with campaigning. They could stand there and do nothing and say nothing and you people would still vote for them because they aren't democrats. You people like to believe you have a deep understanding of things but really you believe lies. Republicans get to lie as much as they want and still get elected. What does that say about American voters? No wonder you all hate yourselves and vote against your own interests.
Lawrence Rubin (Buffalo, NY)
I would vote for a brain-dead Fetterman over the Dr. Quack Oz, who pushed hydroxychloroquine as preventing Covid-19, who is anti-abortion, who is only nominally a resident of Pennsylvania, who welcomed and was endorsed by Tantrum Trump, who holds Turkish citizenship (he may have given that up as part of his campaign for the US Senate), and who definitely voted in the 2018 Turkish presidential election.
Marie V. Gagliardi (Ossining, New York)
Like maybe your elected Animal Control Warden.
Sydney (Chicago)
Republican Oratory Prize winners quick list: Herschel Walker Lauren Boebert Louis Gohmert MTG Paul Gossar Jim Jordan I'm sure there are more.
Kensluck (Ft. Florida)
@Sydney Louie Gohmert.
Mike Edwards (East Bay, RI)
In 1972, it was revealed that McGovern's running mate, Thomas Eagleton, had undergone electroshock therapy. The Dems replaced him immediately with R. Sargent Shriver. So it was, so it always will be.
Stephen Smith (East Greenbush, NY)
This may be the first time I saw an Opinion columnist basically say, 'Don't worry about voting for the better candidate for the office, the big picture is who controls the Senate, so vote that way!' The funny thing is, I kind of agree with Ms. Collins (but I'm looking at it from the other side politically).
DL (Albany, NY)
@Stephen Smith I totally agree with her. I like to think of myself as a nuanced voter who votes for every candidate based on qualifications and positions on the issues, but since the GOP lost its mind and gave it's unwavering support to an incompetent, malevolent demagogue, I will "vote blue no matter who" for the foreseeable future.
tanstaafl (Houston)
How is it that there are so many poor senate candidates? I wouldn't vote for either one of these guys. I feel very bad for Fetterman but I don't think he has it mentally. Maybe he will recover over a couple of years, but right now he is not fit.
Ulysses (Lost in Seattle)
A very revealing column by Ms. Collins. To sum it up: it doesn't matter who the candidate is; or what, if anything, he believes; or what, if anything, he says or can say. It only matters that he vote the Party line. In that sense, Fetterman is a perfect Senator. Just as Joe is a perfect President.
AACNY (New York)
@Ulysses One could almost call it the new "Biden standard."
Peter (Albany. NY)
Fetterman has no business running. He needs to step back and focus on rehabilitation--the sooner the better for long term health. As for the media--reporters have lied to the public about the true state of Fetterman's health issues.
Al M (Norfolk Va)
@Peter That's what many said about F.D.R.
John Davis (Austin TX)
The human mind can, and does heal: we see many examples of stroke conditions diminishing with time and therapy. But empty morality only defends itself, as such a world view must focus only on survival. GOP talk about self- sufficiency, middle class resilience, ending elite dominance - all turning on their heads as *that exact guy* runs against Oz and his wealthy, mail it in from Jersey proposal. Methinks Pennsylvanians respect character more than GOP membership. They’ve seen for some time now that the majority of them will never be included in the Republican version of a Great America. Fetterman IS our best shot at a decent human in the Senate.
Mark Shoenfield (Cedar Grove)
I agree with much of Gail Collins argument but then one must ask why do the polls keep showing so many swings? Are folks fickle or steadfast to their tribe? Why were the Dems in such a more favorable position just a few weeks ago? Is it independents that swing in the breeze (abortion, inflation issues etc)? Folks are just so tired of the hypocrisy, lack of critical thinking, voting against self interests and political manipulations that we fear the worst and politicians seem to play on that fear rather than fix the real problems..
Elena Marcusi (PA)
Voters have to keep in mind that the Republicans, if they were to win the House and/or the Senate will bring with them a big, enormous eraser in order to obliterate all the good that Biden and the Democrats managed to achieve despite having to do it alone. Just think how quickly the partisan Supreme Court managed to overturn 50 years of accepted legislation. A vote for Democrats in every branch of government is the only way to save us from that BIG ERASER.
Paul (Dallas)
The outright denial and spin that Mr. Fetterman is just fine is pretty remarkable, but insulting to voters just the same. He's obviously not fine. Shame on the Democrats for nominating him.
PJ (Saratoga County, NY)
@Paul He was nominated around the time of his stroke. Considering the alternative, Oz (don't look behind the curtain) he will make a great Senator.
TDD (Florida)
Fetterman, stroke effects and all, is much more articulate, logical, and qualified than Herschel Walker.
ISR (Olney, MD)
Other than the usual for Gail: Republicans=bad; Democrats-all that is good in the world she does not seem to have really wanted to analyze the debate, if she had watched it at all. Yes, Fetterman was courageous coming out from his hidey hole to debate a seasoned TV performer. However, it is clear that the man is still impaired in some significant manner. Assurances that while he thinks cleanly but has trouble articulating it in his speech is pure speculation by this publication and his supporters. The voters really need to know the extent of not only his stroke impairment but whether or not his cardiomyapthy (which is just as serious) will allow him to complete a 6 year term. And please stop with the carpetbagging routine, Hillary Clinton an Arkansas carpetbagger as well Robert Kennedy, a Massachusetts carpetbagger represented New York in teh Senate.
Fed Up (PA)
Democrats say abortion should be a discussion between “a woman and her doctor”. Republicans say the legality of abortion should be decided by “local politicians” (though we know what they want their local politicians to decide). So Oz tries to split the middle with, “it’s a decision between a woman, her doctor, and the local politicians”??? Absurd, but also the type of answer I’d expect from the once highly respected and gifted heart surgeon who shelved his talents as a life saving physician to make a fortune selling snake oil on TV.
GC (NC)
We should outlaw all political advertisements both written and broadcast as they are all carefully sculpted and sensational half-truths. We have to take the billions out of a process that needs only to have the participants state their positions, their qualifications and goals. The childish trash that passes as debates today is no more than inane reality television. Do we really need WWE wrestling audiences yammering in the background? There should be three REAL debates per race and then the vote takes place. Then the transcripts can be printed. Most Americans are no longer intelligent enough to think objectively or critically. Fattened sheep being led to slaughter. We are in deep kimchi.
Mia (Tucson)
50 votes are needed in the Senate to save democracy, women’s rights, the right to vote, equity, the economy, the PLANET…etc. Sorry to say, Gail is correct. If a senate candidate is R or D, that’s how he or she will be obliged to vote, their hedging on words notwithstanding. The days of compromise or negotiation are over. No nuance. If Romney is compelled to vote with Cruz - that says it all. Susan Collins is the poster child of this. And Gail is correct about your local and state executives. They matter. They will lead, set policy. Vote for democrats for governor and secretary of state, for mayor, for sheriff. Preserve your rights, truth, safety, sanity!
AACNY (New York)
@Mia The idea that people like Biden and Fetterman are going to save us or the planet is laughable. Progressives really do live in a wish-filled universe.
PTR (NJ)
Oz is the worst kind of candidate for national office - arriving on election day seemingly with all the advantages, including wealth, privilege, polish and now with an opponent coming around from a medical problem. What he lacks is honesty and integrity, a typical current day GOP creep endorsed by none other than Trump, who would sell those not like him down the river in one minute down in DC, then walk away from the aftermath unscathed. A vote for him Pennsylvanians is a vote to harm yourselves and possibly the whole country. Vote Fetterman.
John Zotto (Ischia, Italia)
It seems your argument is that no matter who is running as long as they support your position they should get your vote. Does that apply to people with questionable moral values, people who are despicable in every way except they will vote for your cause ? Why not just elect a machine ?
SF Resident (SF)
And now you understand the modus operandi of the Republican Party.
Roger (Yorba Linda, CA)
Post-Roe, Dr. Oz is 100% correct. An abortion is a decision between a woman, her doctor and what the state of PA allows.
AACNY (New York)
@Roger A majority of Catholics polled supported abortion rules being set by the states. To their credit, they understand that abortion is a complicated issue.
David Williams (San Diego county)
What's the diff now? It's pretty clear our democracy is toast.
Mouse (Maine)
I'm the epitome of this issue: I vote party, esp. now that the Repub party has lost its tiny little tax-cutting mind. It makes me a little sad--there's a Repub candidate in Maine who has been great on a number of issues and seems a lovely principled guy. But no way am I voting to put anyone in this irresponsible, cynical, dangerous party in power. Not one.
A Blinkin (Chicago)
Curious what "new ideas" the local republican officials have for the abortion issue, as oz suggested. People have dealt with the issue since the beginning of humanity and the answers don't change
DebbieR (Brookline, MA)
IMO, Gail has spent waaaay too much time in prior columns poking fun at Republican character flaws like hypocrisy, stupidity, misogyny - when we know, from Trump's election and continued support - that Republican leaning voters don't care about ANY of those things. No, as in Clinton's day, it's the ECONOMY stupid, and the voters are like skittish colts - all you have to do is spook them with talk about economic apocalypse if Democrats take control of congress, and boom, game over. Trump was so successful at obscuring the fact that Republicans are the party of multi-millionaire plutocrats who believe in markets (one dollar one vote) and not democracy (one person one vote), that they simply CAN'T quit him, and truth be told, they have no problem with his greed, his corruption, his refusal to show his tax returns, his tax cheating - it's just his buffoonery that bothers them. The financial collapse of 2008 should have demonstrated to one and all that markets CAN'T be left to self regulate, that those fabulously wealthy investors on Wall Street aren't, in fact, geniuses, that the system is rigged in their favor, that deregulation leads to disaster. Republican attempts to repeal the ACA should have proven that Republicans in fact do NOT care about "life", or the well being of working class Americans. That this message still needs to be driven home does not seem to have registered with Gail.
LMartin (UT/FL)
Unlike the UK, where this would be considered satire, Ms. Collins actually would vote for a head of lettuce so long as it identified as a Democrat.
A Blinkin (Chicago)
The value of debate on the senate floor has been overstated. Here's an excerpt from a debate last week. Both Ron Johnson and Marsha Blackburn contributed: Johnson: "me no like taxes. Me no like." Blackburn: "me no like more. And me like guns good." Johnson: "me like guns good more." Blackburn: "me goodest." Fetterman is at no disadvantage
Elizabeth (Athens, Ga.)
@A Blinkin Wow! Always good to see quotes from the most brilliant minds in government. As we say in Georgia, a yellow dog would be a better choice
Steve F. (Pompton Lakes, NJ)
I guess nobody notices the huge elephant in the room that the US occupies: TV. -Our political process: TV -How we elect our "Leaders": how, they look, say and perform on TV -Crime right outside your front, side and back door: On TV -Americans minds molded and shaped: From TV -Lead the country into another stupid war: lead with TV -Get everyone to Obey and buy stuff: TV -Keep everyone entertained and docile,, while simultaneously getting them riled up and picking their pockets: use the TV TV: Now interactive TV that you can clip to your belt or keep in your pocket 24/7/365. It doesn't get much better than this. Right?
Karen (StL)
Hey, back in 2000, stranger things have happened. In Missouri, rather than vote for Republican John Ashcroft, Missouri voters voted for Mel E. Carnahan. Elected to Congress three weeks after his death in a plane crash, Mel Carnahan became the first U.S. Senator elected posthumously. His wife, Jean Carnahan, the former first lady of Missouri, was appointed to the United States Senate to fill the vacant seat from Missouri caused by the death of her husband of 46 years. Despite having never held public office, Jean Carnahan earned the distinction of being the first woman Senator from Missouri.
Harvey (NC)
I have never been disappointed with a Collins opinion piece. This one was a disappointment. Fetterman as pointed out early in the piece has an auditory processing issue. He misses hearing a word or two and that makes quick verbal responses difficult. He has no problem processing information if he is reading it. Also his condition is considered temporary as he continues to improve. The author confuses the reader claiming Fetterman has “stroke induced confusion” which is not the problem. Has Gail Collins ever missed a word or two in a conversation hence giving a response she would change after hearing the words again? This small handicap even if permanent (he is expected to recover completely) would not prevent him from performing the duties of a Senator. He most likely would be using a computer to assist him to overcome any loss of auditory hearing. Something that was not allowed him on stage during the debate. Or do we not want a “handicapped” person from holding a Senate seat? No one ever challenged Steven Hawkins on his inability to talk when discussing the most complex issues relating to Physics.
Mad Moderate (Cape Cod)
Let's be honest. Fetterman didn't come off well. If I lived in PA I'd vote for him over the snake oily, Trump enabling Oz. But I'd much rather have someone who speaks like (and has the positions of) Pete Buttigieg. That goes for President too.
Jay S (South Florida)
Fetterman held a rally Wednesday in which his speech was fluid and normal, very different from the high pressure read, absorb, reply, all in 15 seconds debate. Please review his performance in the video, located in the usual place you find videos, and see the real John Fetterman before you vote, and encourage your friends and family to do so too. You will want to make him your next Senator and, at the same time, keep McConnell and his destructive crew caged in the minority. Fetterman, the better man, for PA, and for America.
Nick (NYC)
Fetterman may well continue to recover, but Oz will always remain a snake.
Ziggy (PDX)
Some amusing memes going around on Dr. Oz’s political leaders gaffe.
I Can Hear The Ocean From My House (Somewhere On The Shore)
I grew up in Pennsylvania and my brother still lives there. We were talking yesterday after the Oz — Fetterman debate. My brother’s assessment of Dr. Oz was one word: Slickster. He went on to elaborate that Dr. Oz is not genuine and is not even a real Jersey Boy. We both praised Lieutenant Governor Fetterman for his honesty and bravery. For me the most cringe-worthy gaff from Dr. Oz came when he said that abortion decisions should made by the woman, her doctor and local political leaders …. Which local leaders? The commissioners from the commonwealth’s 67 counties? Or perhaps the political leaders from Pennsylvania’s 2,560 separate municipalities? How would that work? And apparently Dr. Oz did not know that fellow Republican Doug Mastrino who is also running for a Commonwealth-wide office in 2019 said that “women who violated his PROPOSED abortion restrictions should be charged with murder”? Really! Gubernatorial candidate and Confederate sympathizer Mastriano has since hardened his stance on abortion praying for an outright ban. Is the Governor Dr. Oz’s idea of a “local political leader? What else does Dr. Oz not know about Pennsylvania?
Storms01 (Lebanon, PA)
Fetterman may still be struggling to recover from his stroke. But, in six months he will be better than his debate performance might have indicated. In 6 months, Oz will still be a carpet bagging quack from NJ who doesn’t have a clue about PA or it’s residents. And that’s before we even parse the total ridiculous statement of a woman, her doctor and local politicians!
Truth Hurts Red (MA)
@Storms01 Are you a physician, perhaps a neurologist? Have you seen Fetterman's complete medical records? Have you been able to analyze Fetterman's progress since his stroke based on his limited campaign appearances? Most of us have not I agree with you that Oz's character will be the same in six months, but how do you know that with any certainty that it will not be the same with Fetterman's cognitive deficits?
sorcier (San Antonio, Texas)
let's compare. Fetterman, a proven public servant, with true Pennsylvania bona fides. Or, Dr. Oz, the johnny come lately, the doctor that promoted quack treatments on his tv show, the doctor that his peers tried to get him kicked off the Columbia staff for his quackery (as physicians, that is a very big deal to us), and now, who thinks local politicals should control women's choice. for the thinking voter, this should be a no brainer...
Fanny P (New York)
Wow, I thought fetterman was the clear winner on every level. Yes I do agree with his politics. But also, what courage to get up there after a stroke and take on Mr. snake oil. We forget that FDR could not stand and was a commanding president through a world war. There was no microscopic media to see him sweat when he tried to stand. Oz is just that. A fake wizard. When he had to express a significant thought, about abortion, it came out of his television star, non-disabled mouth in the worst possible way. Let’s vote for courage and values.
R Thomas BERNER (Bellefonte)
Based on what the Fetterman campaign has been saying for weeks, I expected Fetterman to be in better shape. I'll still vote for him and I hope he wins in a landslide but I wish he had been more transparent about his condition.
WAYNESBOROOBSERVER (WAYNESBORO, PA)
Gail, your article is spin. You know that the debate makes a huge difference and that Fetterman's health is a relevent issue.
Michael (New York)
You can vote for someone like Fetterman, who cares about the working class, or you can vote for Oz, a charlatan. Sure, Fetterman had a stroke, but he is recovering and still way healthier than most of the dinosaurs that make up our Senate.
Diogenespdx (Portland OR)
“ Oz seemed unthrilled about being asked if he’d back Donald Trump for the 2024 nomination. Which was a little ungrateful, given that he was probably on stage only because Trump had endorsed him in the Republican primary.” don’t you know, for each, it’s always all about ' him'. Mommie Dearest and Mommie Dearest jr. If things go their way, there will no more of these troublesome debates. Leaders will simply be appointed and we’ll be required to endure hours long monologues standing with continual clapping. Grateful for the mere opportunity to adore them. And our local Kims will all receive honorary medical degrees.
Dr. John (Seattle)
To clear up the false accusations, all Fetterman has to do is immediately appear for a live interview on CNN, MSNBC and Fox Business News and prove that those attacking him are wrong.
Kate M. (Boston)
At a time when courage is in short supply (witness any number of republican hacks who can barely whisper the word "Fifth" and fight to the end of the earth not to testify or perform any kind of civic duty) John Fetterman shines brightly as someone this country needs as a Senator.
thomas (Seattle, WA)
I find the differences in how Fetterman, Oz, Warnock, and Walker are each evaluated to be fascinating. It's almost as if the media are adjusting the scales to falsely make the choice appear as close as possible. Doing so makes the races as close as possible, great for ratings/readership, at what cost?
Michael (Wisconsin)
We were so partisan that we will make excuses to justify voting for someone who obviously is not in a position to serve. In this respect, Democrats are no different that Republicans.
Warmouth (WI)
@Michael Aren't you making an excuse for a resident of New Jersey trying to become a Senator for Pennsylvania? Would you want Dr. Phil, who lives in California, to be your Wisconsin senator, just because he's a Republican? I wouldn't. I've listened to Fetterman in interviews and on the stump. He sounds absolutely fine. He does speak awkwardly and haltingly at times but he has been forthright about this auditory processing problems.
Maxine Vandate (USA)
Fetterman is suffering from a disability relating to speech, one that may well go away or improve with time. It's not a disability that impedes work in the Senate, which has included some barely living members over time. Fetterman has not lost the ability to think or lost his intellect. He is not brain dead. All that is needed is some, possibly temporary, assistance in the matter of his his disability. If I were hiring for my company and I had the choice of (1) a slightly disabled person or (2) a snake oil salesman who exploits gullibility and who seems to collaborate with a quasi-dictator, I would hire the former. At least the first guy can be trusted.
Denis Montenier (Hudson, Iowa)
@Maxine Vandate ..Well said. Furthermore, Oz and all the naysayers who spout the false narrative that Fetterman is incapable of serving in the Senate conveniently overlook the fact that several other politicians including senators AND presidents, despite suffering strokes, heart attacks, or other serious medical conditions were able to continue to capably fulfill their duties. FDR, Eisenhower, JFK, Lyndon Johnson, Bernie Sanders and just this year Maryland Senator Chris Van Hollen.
Truth Hurts Red (MA)
@Denis Montenier But we didn't' vote them in that way.
dn33 (Washington DC)
"At this point, party is all that matters." Another false equivalence. Republicans vote on party, no matter what. Democrats mostly are voting on morals, rationality, and decency. Big difference.
larkspur (dubuque)
@dn33 I don't know. I bet Republicans believe in their own morality and decency and object to Democratic values no matter what. The differences are deep and the aversions to the other side profound no matter how (un)reasonable. The country will never be healed because it has never been healed.
justgimmesometruth (New York)
@dn33: Liberal Dem here. Dems voting on morals? Really? Opposition to abortion is clearly a moral stance as is liberal support for choice. Both are moral positions. Dems do not have a monopoly on morals. People simply have different moral views. Republicans think abortion is murder. Dems think abortion is a human right. Both are reasonable personal views of abortion. The two sides need to find some middle ground. That's a difficult problem in our tribal nation.
Susan (home)
"women, doctors and local political leaders" will go down as one of the all time greatest debate gaffes in history. And this is from the guy who didn't have a stroke.
historyRepeated (Massachusetts)
What got me was how Oz, a supposed doctor, could practically contain himself over Fetterman’s struggles. There was no empathy shown at all. It is fair game to attack positions, etc., politics is a rough sport. But the lack of humanity shown by Oz was incredibly disturbing (at least to me) considering his prior life as a doctor. The GOP’s meanness is on full display around the country. Apparently, that is who we are now?
Warmouth (WI)
@historyRepeated The Oz campaign's attacks on Fetterman because of his stroke have been really mean-spirited. Aides said at one point that Fetterman might not have had a stroke if he had "ever eaten a vegetable in his life." Would they have said this if TFG, not known for his healthy diet, had suffered a stroke? (We never did learn why Trump made that sudden, secret, middle-of-the-night trip to Walter Reed in 2019.) Oz claims he wouldn't talk to a patient the way his flunkies has talked about Fetterman, yet he allows the deliberate cruelty to continue. As my Grandpa used to say, "A fish stinks from the head."
Cool (Dude)
Gail brings it. Before COVID felt that we are a compassionate nation, but after -- yup, ready for voters to switch away from a guy because he's recovering from a stroke. Life is for the living.
Trulyours (New York)
Protecting the filibuster is important for everyone. Quit being shortsighted. We will soon be in the minority and that tool will be necessary. The hard truth is, my party, democrats foolishly aligned themselves with extreme positions at a time when we needed an economic plan and a border plan. Biden was gas lit and yes age has a lot to do with it. He was convinced that he won because of woke women and activist millennials. He won because of centrist white men who abandoned Trump believing he was simply a bridge too far. Biden promised centrist normalcy. He lied. We blew it. We had three houses, and soon maybe just one. ZI decided I am becoming a one issue voter. Crime. My midtown neighborhood is unlivable. I blame democrats and their refusal to stand up to progressives who destroyed civilized life in New York. I will vote only Republican for the near future. The party dumped me, not the other way around.
Paul Wortman (Providence)
The media and the public need to realize, especially after the fiasco in the coverage of Donald trump in2016, that these are not normal political times and the Trump-anointed candidates like Mehmet ("The Wizard of") Oz are far from normal candidates. In other words, John Fetterman may have physical disability, but at least he doesn't have mental disability that support Trump racist, antidemocratic policies like allegiance to the Constitution and its "rule of law" rather than the authoritarian "rule of Trump. Elections are all about democracy, but when one candidate doesn't support it, he should be disqualified rather than be treated by the media as a normal Republican candidate. Fetterman is a man of principle, patriotism, who supports the Constitution and will represent the people of Pennsylvania; Oz is definitely not. He is just another Trump-lite wealthy snake-oil salesman who denigrates those with physical disabilities, as he did last night in mocking Fetterman just like Trump has done. He has no business being in Pennsylvania nor in any elected office.
Susan (Washington County, N.Y.)
My vote goes to Mr. Fetterman. Post-stroke, he remains by far the more intelligent and motivated to help Pennsylvania in the issues it faces. Oz belongs IN Oz. He has only his own selfish interests to pursue, and represents a clear and present danger to a woman’s right to choose. Please vote at every opportunity in every election you can, and persons in Pennsylvania, please vote for Mr. Fetterman. He is a man who would vastly improve the Senate.
CDW (NM)
@Susan I don't know how Fetterman will continue to do if elected, whether he'll suffer any setback; I would hope not. But, he'll have a "democratic" running mate as Lt. Governor who will be there to assist and "take over" if anything goes wrong. So vote for Fetterman, vote democratic.
geminied (San Antonio, TX)
@Susan "Oz belongs IN Oz." Now that should be on a poster or meme.
Leslie Duval (NJ)
You are mistaken...Fetterman stated during the debate that Oz is a carpetbagger. While the media hammers Fetterman's stroke, it does not hammer as intensely Fetterman getting cleared by his doctor that he is able to run this campaign and serve competently. Fetterman is good to go...the media should get back to the more important issues and allow Fetterman to get his answers out as he improves his verbal abilities. Choosing Fetterman over a carpetbagger is really not a choice. It is the only way to go. OZ would still allow state politicians to control a woman's right to choose. What is the difference between stating that Oz would not support federal involvement yet thinking that state politicians have any greater rights in the matter? There are so many incompetent (morally and intellectually) people who currently serve in DC that having the intellectual competence and courage of Fetterman will bring a breath of fresh air to the Senate. Accommodations are easy to make...
Anonymous (Oregon)
Actually, I moved to Pennsylvania recently and I was undecided. After the debate, I decided to vote for Mr. Oz. I'm sure Mr. Fetterman is a wonderful man, but I'm concerned about his competency, and I'm more comfortable that Mr. Oz is up to the challenge.
Mitchell Baker (Massachusetts)
@Anonymous "Up to the challenge"??? So, you place amoral political posturing over a recoverable health issue? The only "challenge" Oz is up against, (and he is losing), is between morals and honesty vs. blind ambition.
DR (Santa Monica)
Oz is amoral and a charlatan. Didn’t need a debate to see that.
Quincy Mass (Da Valley of NEPA)
This debate, like ALL other “debates” these days, was not a debate. They are prime time reality shows featuring no discourse, just a lot of insults, fury, and “gotcha” lines. Might as well show the housewives of wherever.
M (US of A)
@Neil I’ll join you in stating the obvious that no one wants to discuss. Dems should have never let Fetterman continue in the race. Sadly, the Dems still don’t know how to effectively challenge the GOP, it’s like they don’t want to win!
the_woodwose (Florida)
If they had debated before the stroke, maybe you have a point. However, the stroke happened, and he is clearly struggling to communicate, which is one of the primary functions of a Senator. If debate proved anything, Fetterman should be focusing on his recovery and not on trying to get a job that he is clearly not capable of doing. The Democrat party did him no favors by not replacing him after his stroke.
Hardbull (Los Angeles)
John Fetterman's performance at the debate was no worse than Elon Musk's appearance on Saturday Night Live -- and Elon had a script.
PATRICK (Pennsylvania)
I consulted my rather large detailed World Atlas for answers to how to end the war in Ukraine and found other insight along the way. As you know, Turkey is on the southern coast of the Black Sea from where Dr. Oz came, even having served in the Turkish military. Then to the east lies the nation of Georgia which is on the coast as well. I saw some strategic troubles in my studies. Georgia is between Russia and Turkey and Syria is where Russia has a warm water naval base on the Syrian Mediterranean coast. In military terms, that is of great significance as most of Russia's coasts freeze. And I thought, I see a problem with aggression from Russia into Turkey and along the north coast to Istanbul and the Straights of Dardenelle, but decided they would have been easily stopped along that path. But being that eastern Turkey is less populated, I saw a possibility Russia might try to connect through Turkey to Syria by land. Also watch west of Odessa. So what am I writing about? Republicans are Russian allies. Dr. Oz is from Turkey. Republicans are focused on the state of Georgia. I'm advising you all of possible conspiracy between Russia and Republicans militarily as they appear to be inviting Russian forces by direction. Minority leader McCarthy has stated they will drop support of Ukraine. I now suspect we must stop Russia forcefully and render justice upon Republicans. We have to hold the Senate so the G.O.P. can't align with Putin. Know your Atlases. It's God's guide for all.
Mark Thomason (Clawson, MI)
Only party matters? Well, "candidate quality" matters if it is a Republican, right? Personally, I like Fetterman as a person, and dislike Oz as a TV huckster of quack remedies. I think Fetterman can do the job, because I've known other people do good work after strokes. But, I do dislike pretense and pretend in commentary, like "candidate quality" mattering or not mattering depending on how well that serves the purposes of the commentator.
Gary Cohe (Great Neck NY)
Fetter man is a man for the times. More interested in himself than the people of Pennsylvania or the Democratic Party. He should have pulled out soon after the stroke and recovered. But now the people of Pennsylvania and the Party are in danger of losing the majority in the Senate. I have full compassion for Fetterman but his decision impacts too many to roll the dice. Some say his cognitive abilities are not impaired but watching the debate certainly did not put those fears to rest.
furnmtz (Oregon)
Do any voters in Pennsylvania really think that during Fetterman's first days / weeks / months in the Senate he will be asked to stand up and give stirring, eloquent speeches? Articulate policy? Debate colleagues on the floor? I think he will be listening and learning, asking questions and finding his way around just like any other first term Senator.
Patty (Pacific Northwest)
Hershel Walker has not had a stroke and no one seems concerned about his complete lack of ability to understand or answer a question coherently, so to those who say that it would sound different if the show were on the other foot (a Republican with problems), I don't think so. Fetterman still displays his intellect and integrity, neither of which can be found in either Oz nor Walker.
The Fabulous Immigrant (Gucci Stores)
There are plenty of candidates, and the Dems picked one with significant health issues? The joke is on them.
Mitchell myrin (Bridgehampton)
The debate was painful to watch. Mr. Feterman clearly has serious medical issues due to his stroke, but in this cycle it is all about party not the individual. Republicans will support Herschel Walker because if he can flip the seat he will be a reliable yet unimpressive member of the GOP caucus. Mr. Feterman will be a guaranteed rubber stamp for what Chuck Schumer tells him to do.
Max Collodi (New Jersey)
Fetterman is trying to appeal to Trump voters. They’ve already proven that they’ll tolerate incoherence.
Socrates (Downtown Verona, NJ)
Republicans are extremely talented at scaring the logic, critical thinking and common sense out of voters so that they happily vote to give billionaires another raise and promotion while they themselves continue to starve. It's a talent that Lucifer genuinely admires. John Fetterman had a stroke. Most stroke victims make impressive recoveries, although it may take six months or a year or more to make a full recovery. Tommy John surgery also takes a year or so for the pitcher to make a full recovery...and then some of them wind up winning the Cy Young Award. John Fetterman, a good Pennsylvania man with a good track record, is fit to serve in Jan 2023 and afterward as his recovery continues. His opponent is a New Jersey multimillionaire doctor who likes to peddle miracle cure supplements to unsuspecting citizens to pad his overflowing bank account. And what is Dr. Oz's miracle GOP cure for inflation, record income inequality, gas prices, manmade global warming, our national healthcare rip-off system, unaffordable housing, education, infrastructure and gun violence problems ? His magical cure is inflationary tax cuts for millionaires - and a few nickels and dimes for the peons - supplemented with forced birthing, more guns, more Bibles, and assisting Mitch McConnell and his Republican brethren in stacking the courts with Federalist Society robots to ensure that oligarchy reigns Supreme and that democracy never sees the light of American day. Send Oz back to New Jersey.
CA (Key West)
I live in NJ, please send him back to Turkey!
jwgibbs (Cleveland, Ohio)
Franklin Delano Roosevelt entered the White House confined to a wheelchair. As a young man he was infected with the Polio virus. He served almost four terms as President, guiding the United States through the worst depression in our history and a World War fought on two fronts 8000 miles apart. When he attended a conference in Iran near the war’s end, he negotiated terms with Stalin and Churchill. His appearance at that conference saw a man diminished in weight and physically worn out. But his mind was sharp till the end. Fetterman had a stroke and his physical appearance at his debate was that of a strong healthy individual. Yes, his speech was haltering, common for that condition, but his ability to think was still sharp, just difficult to express. Fetterman might have difficulty at the present time to speak clearly, but this condition, according to his doctors, will eventually clear up. And he will be more than capable to keep a woman,s right to control her health. Keep Medicare and Social Security safe and secure. And prevent Republicans like Oz from giving tax breaks to people like himself. Here’s what won,t eventually “ clear up”. A “ Senator” Oz will never support any of the aforementioned types of legislation.
PATRICK (Pennsylvania)
A debate you say? Yup, they were "Baited". And rated, and degraded. Now no one except TV actors want to enter public service. It's how military TV took over the government.
Tony Zbrzezny (Binghamton, NY)
I’m from NY but now spend most of my time in Pennsylvania caring for my Mother-in-Law with my wife. I remember when NY’s budget late every year because it was up to only three people. The house and senate leader and the governor. The rest just followed along. That is what is happening today. The Senators vote in a block. Congressman vote in a block. What ever happened to blue dog Democrats or middle of the road Republicans. This is how we get people like Fetterman or Walker. No one cares who or what they can do. They have become rubber stamps for party leader agendas. This must stop. We have to stop destroying people who run for office. I’m in my 60’s Let’s just say I enjoyed my twenty’s. I had a very successful career. After I grew up. I could not run for office. How many people who could contribute will not run because of a discretion in their past.
Old Ben (Chester County PA)
A side note. My TV has been swamped with Fedderman-Oz attack ads for months. The Oz ads scream about Crime in PA. It is a serious matter. For Philadelphia County in 2022 the murder rate is 27 per 100,000. That is very bad. But consider: for Uvalde County, Texas, the rate per 100,000 is 85, most of them school children. >3 times as many. Crime statistics sound horrible for big city populations, but corrected for population they may tell a different story. (Thanks to Paul Krugman for this insight).
Michael Moran (Philadelphia)
The only words I need Fetterman to say are "no" and "yes" when it comes to voting on legislation. His words may sometimes be twisted but his heart is not. I trust him to represent my values when he serves in the US Senate.
Mark Kropf (Long Island)
Falsehoods stated with glib manner is more polished though less worthwhile than garbled text made sincerely. I really do not concern myself with the facility of the message so much as its veracity and its sincerity. I cannot vouch for the efforts of Fetterman as erratic as his vocalization may have been from time to time, but I certainly hold that it is likely to have been worth a good deal more than what came from the mellifluous flow from Oz.
JR (SLO, CA)
FDR was in a wheelchair for most of his presidency, Winston Churchill suffered a stroke while prime minister and continued to govern effectively.
Mark Shoenfield (Cedar Grove)
If were so tribal why do the polls swing so much? Why do elections always seem to tighten as we approach election day?
Therese (Philly)
With regard to Fracking, I have watched Fetterman for years. I think his views on it in 2016 was sort of to the effect that the horse is already out of the barn in Pennsylvania. Randell, a Democrat, brought it there. Not much can be done except clean up any messes from it. My only question is “how many Pennsylvanians got secure, long term jobs from the fracking industry”. I visited the Republican led state house on the issue of poison wells from fracking back in 2014. The people were concerned about the wells. There were a lot of out of state license plates working in the industry in those towns. My impression was those jobs were not for Pennsylvanians. Once again the state became an extraction state (coal was first) and the people were not benefiting from it. Some allowed the fracking on their land for a few dollars (very poor area in a Republican led state) and then regretted it from the poison wells. So did their neighbors. I saw the primary debate in 2016. Like many Pennsylvanians, John Fetterman’s concern back then had to do with the poison wells and the exploitation of landowners. He was not flip flopping on this issue. He was weighing the need for energy (there is a war) and the need for people to have clean water. Unlike Fetterman, Oz and the Republicans in Pennsylvania look at it as a way the big wigs like themselves can make money. Fetterman has heart and standards. He is a Pennsylvanian.
gcinnamon (Corvallis, OR)
John Fetterman has more courage in his hangnail than the entire republican party. Is he any less capable than such intellectual giants as Tommy Tuberville, Mike Lee, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Ron Johnson, or a 100 year-old Strom Thurmond? And of course, the most recent ex-president, who cannot put a meaningful idea or phrase together to save his life. Oz is the worst kind of opportunist and hanger-on, but the critical thinking skills of many voters have either disappeared or morphed into conspiracy theory.
Suzy Sandor (Manhattan)
Performance at Debates are not the way to judge! They are pure entertainment or a box match and mostly reinforce the opinion already formed and rarely change any informed or prejudice mind! Debates are just another layer of fakeness one can be very articulate but lousy at the job. In reality officials spend a good deal of time debating with their entourage before making a decision Period
Perkasien (18944)
Years ago, I read about the actress Patricia Neil, her strokes, and her recovery. She was arguably in far worse shape than Fetterman. After 2 years of therapy, recovering both speech and the ability to walk, she returned to acting, later receiving an academy award nomination. I see no reason not to vote for Mr. Fetterman.
Nora (NJ)
The format of the debate between Fetterman and Oz worked against Fetterman's success. Thirty seconds to answer questions and 15 seconds to rebut does not give one much of a chance to think through an answer, and if you are suffering from an auditory processing slowdown due to a stroke, you will have a hard time giving the most thoughtful answers. On another note, I noticed that most of the questions where you have a 30 second time limit to answer were directed to Oz with Fetterman given the allotted 15 seconds to respond. That appeared unfair. That combined with Fetterman giving his final remarks first followed by Oz put him at a disadvantage at the end of the debate as well. He who speaks last is the one whose words people remember the most. Finally, though, the smirk on Oz's face as he saw the auditory processing difficulties of Fetterman were very clear. But the real clincher was that Oz gave bad responses to some important questions that should disturb Pennsylvania voters - his response about women's right to choose and raising the minimum wage. Last night on MSNBC, Laurence O'Donnell gave a history of politicians with disabilities and illness who were very effective in their jobs in Congress and the Presidency. Let's not judge Fetterman's ability to work effectively as a Senator based on his continued recovery from a stroke.
drollere (sebastopol, CA)
i have to ask the truly obvious question at this point, because no one else seems to ask it. is politics fundamentally a failed solution to social control? is democracy only the best form of a bad thing? are elections only a fabrication of consensus in a zero sum matrix that is always, at bottom, adversarial? i ask these questions only because i am stupider than the average person, and what passes as obvious for most people seems to me very unclear. am i a helpless romantic because i recall the time in village lore when the people would trek up the mountain to ask the old hermit what to do, and the hermit would mumble, and gripe, and toss off an aphorism, and the solution would suddenly become clear. is it possible to have politics in a time of untrammeled innovation, social change, technological upheaval and social fragmentation? is a world where we already know whom we are voting for a world in which democracy is even possible? if we are all branded red and blue, without any other alternatives, doesn't it all come down to the tyranny of the majority, or at least the tyranny of gerrymandering? perhaps, as with the medieval belief in the church that was swept away by the enlightenment, the enlightenment belief in democracy as plebicite must be swept away for something more subtle and wise. of course: that way lies authoritarianism. but because our path leads into a dark wood does not mean we can avoid entering there.
Jd (Yorba Linda)
The dems seem to have problems with their stable of politicians. They have a president that has some minor/major issues. I don't know if the idea here is to feel sorry for them or regret that we have people that continue putting these folks into office.
John Davis (Austin TX)
@Jd OK, if you say so, I guess. Methinks humanity, in their honest efforts to right so many wrongs put in play by the (apparently you think) superior stable of GOP candidates, offers us the better solutions. I’d like to see some honesty in government, but that’s just me. The GOP doesn’t even value that trait any more.
Jessamine (SC)
Have you met your party, Jd? It's like the Island of Misfit Toys, if the toys were authoritarian and malevolent.
Kensluck (Ft. Florida)
@Jd I seem to recall that Mitch McConnell was not too happy with TFG's resent stable of hand picked politicians. I recall TFG was a president that had some major issues, Russian's influence in the 2016 election, extorting Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate the Bidens, inciting the Jan. 6 insurrection, and interfering with the Georgia elections, Oh I forgot his confiscation of Confidential/Secret US Archival documents. I don't feel sorry for TFG or republicans but I do regret they somehow keep being voted in to office.
Jennifer (Palm Harbor)
I stopped listening to what politicians said years ago. Now, I watch what they actually DO. That's all that really counts.
jeito (Colorado)
Enough focusing on the horse race. Columnists with a megaphone have a duty to underscore the platforms - or lack thereof - of the candidates. Then the choice is easy. Democracy or chaos. A government which pays its bills vs. one which does not. Social Security and lower medication costs vs. destitution. C'mon Gail, you can do better.
Michael Clark (Philadelphia)
Thank you. My thoughts exactly. If you vote Republican, you are voting for the whole mess. There is no opportunity for any Republican to influence a party that has run amok. Therefore, their words don't really matter.
craig b (atlanta)
@Michael Clark The republican mess? Do you mean the mess at the border where2.2 million aliens have breached, the disastrous withdrawal from Afghanistan, the uber violence taking place with Dem mayors AG'S Governors advocating let them loose without bail, near 10% inflation, and last but not least the horrific damage done by the Dem advocates at the teachers unions where stay at home schooling resulted in the just released national test scores showing huge declines in both math and reading.
BB (Philadelphia)
I will vote in person and wanted to see the candidates. Oz - Turkish citizenship he will not renounce unless elected, not really a PA resident, a Trump supporter, Republican Party pawn with far right social polices and more moderate fiscal policies - v Fetterman - a Harvard Kennedy School of Government alum, mayor, Lt. Governor, Democrat Party pawn, far far left policies. I had decided that social policy had to prevail despite my concern about Democrats handling of the economy. I intended to vote for Fetterman - experience, choice, healthcare, gun legislation - despite my concern that he may be another Bernie Sanders. I was devastated to see Fetterman's condition and angry that the Democratic Party didn't not immediately replace him after what was clearly a major stroke. And all these Democrats putting their spin on his performance is a further insult to voters. This was not minor inability to articulate words - he could not formulate a reply to the questions. Even his scripted opening statement was weak. Fetterman needs to provide voters with his current medical report and a reasonable statement of his prognosis (we don't need his complete records). And while I am furious with the Democratic Party, ultimately this comes down to policy - R v D. And with guns killing our children daily in Philadelphia and women no longer having the same rights as men when they meet with their doctors, all we can do is vote for Fetterman and pray for a swift recovery.
B. Rothman (NYC)
@BB I would vote for a slower than average Dem over a con man any day of the week. Oz offers Pennsylvania citizens nothing more than a continuation of do nothing or business only legislation. Pennsylvania voters who go with the salesman will be putting one more nail in the democracy they say they value. The lack of citizen protection provided by the Republicans is obvious when you pay attention to WHAT THEY DO OR DON’T DO and not just the silvery words.
BB (Philadelphia)
@B. Rothman I think the Republicans offer more than "business only" legislation (and we need legislation to boost business - it is their party's strength) and that is what concerns me in terms of destroying our democracy. At the same time, the Democratic Party has not done right by Philadelphia. We have a gun violence problem the likes of which no New Yorker can comprehend (and I lived in NYC for many years). As of October 24, there were 433 homicides and 1561 nonfatal shootings in our Democratic run city. Oh, and the number of car-jackings - it's like the Wild West. Our Democratic mayor has said that he cannot wait to end his term (and he has 2 more years) and it is well-known that the DA just is not prosecuting criminals. Pennsylvania businesses are fleeing the city due to the violence in our Democratic run city. Thank goodness for the Phillies!!
Susan (PA)
Fetterman had a poor debate. BUT all indications are he is recovering AND he can always resign if elected (many politicians have done so). Overall, the is best qualified to represent Pennsylvania (not New Jersey) in the United States Senate and I will vote for him. Oz has no substance. Fetterman does...even if temporarily impaired.
John Davis (Austin TX)
@Susan Substance. The hardest quality to find in the Senate. Well chosen, and thanks for thinking of us all.
RSB (Toronto)
I applaud the honesty of this piece. At least Gail is being transparent about the fact that she wants the Democrats to win, and that party matters more than candidate. (I generally tend to agree, but that’s neither here nor there) What I absolutely cannot stand is the way other journalists (and not opinion writers) have been trying to convince voters that Fetterman’s health is no big deal. Come on, at least pretend to be impartial. It’s actually disgusted me the way so many articles in the NYT news section say things like “Fetterman struggled, but it’s not a cognitive issue because…” I wish journalists would stick to facts and trust voters to make their decisions. I totally understand why people would still vote for Fetterman, but let’s not pretend he is at the top of his game or that anybody knows if he ever will be.
B. Rothman (NYC)
@RSB A “major” stroke will leave a person with big time disabilities of all kinds. Unless Fetterman’s actual thinking has been affected which is apparently not the case he is a stronger man than Oz who, even with a medical degree, resorts to half truths and outright lies to promote his businesses and his politics.
Hans Daoghn (Alaska)
Fetterman gets my vote on account of his courage and his effort last night. That’s what matters. It doesn’t bother me that he could not articulate his positions clearly. In the Senate he won’t be called upon to do so. He will just have to push the correct voting button or be able to say Yea or Nay both of which he can surely do with minimal coaching. There is a bigger issue at stake here: Equity. Fetterman is disabled. He should not be ashamed of that. We need at least one, probably more than one disabled Senator to proportionately represent disabled Americans. Have you been to Walmart lately and seen the number of Americans driving motorized shopping carts? It’s way more than one in a hundred. Vote for Fetterman.
Jeff (Boston)
If the election is close, which it now seems it is, and a few thousand PA voters were convinced by Oz's performance in the debate and made a decision to vote for the carpetbagging Republican Fetterman will lose. Which is most likely what's going to happen.
Vinay (Maryland)
Dear Democrats seem to have a death wish this year and are not hoping to turn the tide. That's a desperate headline. If a politician does not have oratory skills that's like failing politics 101. How would he make a case for anything in the Senate?
Alyson Lloyd (Philadelphia PA)
@Vinay Actually, the death wish for PA voters isn't John Fetterman as a PA Senator, the death wish is Doug Mastriano as Governor. Most of the people commenting are basing their opinions on a TV debate, well, the rest of us (resident of PA) are a little bit more concerned about the man (R) who wants to take away women's rights, along with rights of people who don't fall into his category.
John Davis (Austin TX)
@Vinay Maybe by thinking things through for himself, and not taking Mitch’s direction.
A Blinkin (Chicago)
@vinay: have you ever heard Ron Johnson or Hershel walker speak?
Caryn (Massachusetts)
Fetterman did fine, and he and Governor Shapiro will be leading soon. I am going with my gut, and believe the Kansas vote last summer, the seat in upstate New York and all the people in Texas, of all places, recently on television being polled as they stood in line saying ABORTION was motivating them show us a great big BLUE wave is coming.
ACA (Providence, RI)
Despite January 6 and endless election lies, Mehmet Oz still supports Donald Trump for President in 2024. That's all you need to know about how well his brain is working. It's a choice between aphasic (difficulty speaking) and a-moral. For what it's worth also, Biden is not a particular good public speaker, but he runs a good government. One talent does not necessarily equate with the other.
Fletcher (NYC)
I cannot imagine an ‘informed’ voter deciding on a candidate based upon a one hour debate.
A Blinkin (Chicago)
Politics may be entertaining but governance calls for actual work. I'll side with fettrrman on work ethic
Toast (Midwest)
The bottom line is that Fetterman did an awesome job and essentially locked in a win on Election Day. His debate performance will go down in history as a great political feat. I, along with many, many others, was blown away by the grace, power, and intelligence he showed on the debate stage. Oz, on the other hand, justifiably raised questions as to his fitness to be a senator. Anyone who would question Fettermans ability to hold office, or indeed his performance at the debate, really needs to look inward and question their ableist viewpoint.
Deirdre (New Jersey)
Dr Oz is a snake oil salesman who traded on his sterling medical credentials to sell garbage and sometimes dangerous products on his TV for ratings, content and money. Why anyone would think that Oz - who doesn’t live in PA would do anything to protect them is beyond me. Including the right to privacy- this guy is a sellout There is no day that John Fetterman will not work to do better for all Pennsylvanians. John Fetterman is getting better every day but Oz will always be a fraud.
MS (US)
Gail, you never disappoint. Democrats forever, no matter what, no matter where.
Andrea J (East Coast)
John Fetterman was no less articulate last night than Donald Trump is every time he speaks. We had four years of a president who did not have a stroke yet couldn't string together two cogent sentences. Fefferman's auditory processing will improve and it took guts for him to face the country.
Tim Lynch (Philadelphia, PA)
Very invested in this race. Fetterman has my vote. While Mr. Fetterman is impaired, his opponent wasn't as slick as anticipated. He did slyly ,however, slide in Iran as our "biggest threat",probably to gain favor with our Jewish constituents. But Iran? Above Russia,China or North Korea? Even with an impaired opponent, oz didn't exactly shine.
D (California)
Fettermans decision to stay in the race is proof of his bad judgments. I would vote for Fetterman over oz but thats not the point. he should have dropped out and let a perfectly acceptable candidate in Lamb run. Fetterman is arrogant in thinking he is special or unique, typical kid born on third base and pretends he hit a triple.
Dan (Southwestern, Ut)
A person on another forum stated that the people shouldn’t elect a person with some mental disability issues. But, that is hypocrisy. A person from New York now residing in Florida was elected and he has many mental issues-one being delusions of grandeur.
Bloviating Ignoramus (Papamoa, New Zealand)
An equally stupid comment to giving local leaders discretion over women's childbearing that has escaped notice was Oz characterizing the JCPOA revival as giving Iran nukes in exchange for Iran giving us oil. Iran of course is closer than ever to having nukes as a result of Donald Trump reneging on the deal.
R.A. (Huntsville, Alabama)
Fetterman is unfit for office. Oz isn’t much better.
Me (Miami)
How can any sane, intelligent American look at Fetterman and say, “hey, this guy has it all together, he’s confident and capable to execute the office he’s running for?” It’s impossible, the man can’t even string a sentence together, he needs time to get healthy, not to run a state like Pennsylvania, it’s absolutely insane that this man is even thinking about running for office
Lee (Seattle)
I would vote for John Fetterman. He has a disability, but that does not disable home from holding office.
Me (Florida)
Yes This disability does.
SCZ (Indpls)
Dr. Oz is a disgrace to the medical profession so there's no reason to believe that he candle being in politics. And he's a Trumpist.
CDW (NM)
I don't know how Fetterman will continue to do if elected, whether he'll suffer any setback; I would hope not. But, he'll have a "democratic" running mate as Lt. Governor how will be there to assist and "take over" if anything goes wrong. So vote for Fetterman, vote democratic.
Miguel (Bronx)
I wish him well but the campaign may be trying too hard Fettermans extreme positions under the cover of the stroke. Fetterman supports tax funded third trimester abortions on demand, he is for AND against fracking and he is for releasing murderers into the streets. Those were his position before and after the stroke. I think he's gonna lose because these positions are way outside the mainstream of Pennsylvania. His health or debate performance have nothing to do with it.
RCP (Texas)
Be honest. Fetterman is a train wreck and has no business in the United States Senate. Seriously, how could anyone with a right mind believe that he could help lead this nation? Physically and mentally incapable.
Terence (Massachusettes)
Hubris. It is killing my party. What a thought to have: Replace the ill with the well. GC tells us that it is all about ideology anyway. It is enough now. Time to regain the center of the discussion and send the oppositions into the hills with clearly superior candidates who do not stress our already fragile credulity.
Diana (Centennial)
If I were a woman living in Pennsylvania the one statement by Dr. Oz that an abortion decision should be made by “women, doctors, local political leaders …” would cement my vote for Fetterman.
A and B Gordon (New York)
Shame on you for shaming Fetterman's speech! Why dedicate two front page features on his (by all accounts temporary) disability? HOW he speaks his truth rather than WHAT he says and stands for, is tone deaf to the progressive changes taking place in our culture. Isn't inclusivity, tolerance, and looking beyond appearances, more relevant? Also at The NY Times? When it comes to race, gender, sexuality, etc? Then why waste all this ink and an opportunity to highlight a really great candidate for Pennsylvania? Which is what the majority of us Pennsylvanians believe. Leave the obfuscating and shaming to OZ and his crazy elections denying, anti abortions followers!
Beth (NC)
The people producing the debate failed Dems. They didn't question Oz on his earlier comment that abortion was murder (at the same time they harped on Fetterman's change of mind on fracking). If you think about it (on some unconscious level perhaps) it seemed to me that Fetterman was saying--in essence--that he was really not for fracking but had maybe made a deal with the devil that he might at some point reconsider. Always Fetterman shows us he has a good heart; but Oz's hammering on Fetterman about his stroke (something no decent doctor would do) shows us just the opposite.
JSH (Yakima)
Gisele Barreto Fetterman is a positive Fetterman factor in all this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gisele_Barreto_Fetterman Mark Kelly supported Gabby Giffords for the remainder of her term, and I believe Ms Fetterman will be there for her husband. I'm actually surprised she has not been given a larger roll in the campaign.
Manny Pedi (Depends Upon The Month)
I’d take John Fetterman on a bad day over any Republican on a good day. Last night John won me over because he’s like us; not some fly in, senator want-to-be with a bad case of trumpfluenza. The only booster shot for that is vote democrat
RjW (Chicago)
It’s unfortunate that a two dimensional quack can dodge the truth and look good doing it on TV/ two dimensional media, while a 3 dimensional good guy looks one dimensional. Hope Federman can overcome this disadvantage. This one is important.
Larry McCallum (Victoria, BC)
Ms Collins, you might do well to read your own paper’s opinion pages. The other day a neuroscientist explained that Fetterman’s prognosis is extremely good, as is routinely the case with people recovering from strokes. No need to shred him with “You certainly hope he’ll at least be able to get up and go to work.”
Dolly Patterson (Silicon Valley)
It's obvious to almost everyone that Oz has compromised his integrity and I hope the people in Penn recognize this. Tapes of him testifying to Congress about his "slick willy medical aids" should play non-stop. It's very discouraging to me that so many Republicans will vote for a person who denies the 2020 election, supports Trump, has already claimed that if they don't win, they won't accept the election, etc. Here is a fascinating interview on PBS Newshour re: the decline of Democracy in the USA:https://www.pbs.org/video/october-26-2022-pbs-newshour-full-episode-1666756801/
JJH (USA)
The only thing more painful than watching Fetterman debate Oz is reading articles like this that attempt to justify and excuse his performance.
Pat How (Naples Fl)
Fetterman came across as authentic, vulnerable and imperfect - real. Dr. Oz was the exact opposite - slick. Doesn't seem like a hard choice!
Barbara (Conn)
Vote Fetterman and trust he will improve but with that vote of Fetterman, vote Shapiro also. If Fettermans health fails then Gov Shapiro can appoint another Dem senator. It's that simple. By the way, have you any concerns about Diane Feinstein and Check Grasslley. Just sayin.
D.A.Oh (Middle America)
Thank you, Gail, for continuing to be one of the few remaining voices at the NYT who cares that the Republican party has been hijacked by a criminally corrupt fraud and his obsequious loyalists, like Oz, at all levels of our government, both state and federal.
Retired Fed (Northern Westchester)
You vote for Fetterman, you get Fetterman. You vote for Oz, you get Trump. A Senator represents his state with his beliefs and principles. He has a staff to do any heavy lifting. So long as Fetterman is mentally competent he is fit to serve.
Doug Keller (Virginia)
So, while the insensitivity of Romney strapping his dog’s crate to the roof of the family car was the source of merriment a while ago… …I guess Oz’s supervision over the deaths of over 300 dogs — in outright cruel and inhumane conditions — is just too real and brutal to comment upon. But I’ll ask anyway — any dog related comments Gail? Or are Fetterman’s hesitant speech patterns more to the point on the question of character?
Gary V. (Oakland, CA)
If I were a Pennsylvania voter I would be happy with Fetterman in a coma (sorry Fetterman :) than "Dr." Oz, fully alive and voting on orders from McConnell. At least Fetterman has worked the trenches even with the newest info on him taking matters into his own hands as "Hizzoner The Mayor"of Braddock, bypassing the city council sometimes. He worked for the people of his city or else he would not have been re-elected. Oz on the other skated after his respectable career as a surgeon and cashed it in to become a fake pill pusher. He is the 20th and 21st century version of the legendary 19th century Old West Snake Oil salesmen. Oz knew the effects of a recovering stroke victim and yet he took advantage of his opponent's current temporary frailty. Despicable. I have a business opportunity for the good "Doctor." He should synthesize Herschel Walker's ...um.."stuff" ( a new woman showed up claiming another abortion, this guy got around!) and selling it to the MAGA crowd...he'll make a bundle.
grandma (rocklin CA)
Fetterman supported fracking last night for political gain. His back and forth had nothing to do with a stroke...
Jenni (B.I. WA)
Republicans seem fine with the garbage that spews from Trumps mouth every day. A few fumbling sentences is hardly noteworthy. How about bobert, Gosar, Palin and MT Greene? They seem to lose track in the middle of statements all the time. And they can’t blame a stroke, its just their natural way of politicking. R’s seem fine with these folks.
dupr (New Jersey)
Absolutely agree. Trump has no oratory skills but won the presidency anyway with bad English and lies. Go John Fetterman!
Joe You (NYC)
Competent, vs not fit to serve
Silicon Valley Matt (Palo Alto, Ca)
I immediately sent a contribution to Fetterman. He was the only real person on stage last night. What pluck. You kind of wonder what the other guy has to offer in a State where most people go to work with their sleeves rolled up. And who continue to work with many more health issues than Fetterman.
JTH (Seattle, WA)
Even though Fetterman has a disability, it doesn’t mean he can’t function in society. If he had one leg, would Oz rip on that as a disqualifier? The dysfunctional one in this race is Oz. And why isn’t anyone highlighting Fetterman as a champion for powering through his disability? It’s a good, inspiring story.
Stos Thomas (Stamford CT)
So let me get this straight. Fetterman is being looked at as unfit for his potential Senate seat because he had the temerity to show the PA voters his passion and determination to serve them despite still recovering from a stroke, yet Herschel Am I Your Daddy Walker gets fawned over by our let's make it a horse race news media for showing up to his debate barely able to pronounce his own name. SMH.
Sydney (Chicago)
Republican Oratory Prize winners quick list: Herschel Walker Lauren Boebert Louis Gohmert MTG Paul Gossar I'm sure there are more.
Elena Marcusi (PA)
@Sydney you left out the former resident of the White House. He set the standard for them all.
Seen2Much (Dallas)
Mussolini was known for his great oratory skills. Unfortunately for the Italians that was his only skill. America has had enough mouth pieces. The nation was sold the Booklyn Bridge, which linked all the way to Mar-a-Lago. Not to making America great again. The gift of gabber made America more ridiculus than ever! I hope the legal system complete it's Jan 6 trials by the next presidential election. Actions speak louder than words.
KH (Vermont)
Fetterman showed great courage to participate in the debate knowing there would be some blunders. The docs say he will be fine and up to the task as a senator. Pennsylvanians only need listen to his heart and not be sidetracked with what if's. Fetterman has a solid track record in public service. What does Mehmet Oz have to do with the Keystone State again? One thing Congress doesn't need any more of is rich, out of touch, entitled men. Oz's sound bite trying to hide his true position on abortion was hilarious. Unless, of course, he wins. Get out and vote ladies and all those who care about them and their bodily freedom. Thanks, Gail.
Joan (Wisconsin)
The way I see it the media (of all sorts) were the benefactors of the Fetterman/Oz debate. The bottom line is do Pennsylvanians want a fellow Pennsylvanian who is intelligent, knowledgeable, empathetic, sincere, and advocates for both the common man/woman and for business to represent them? OR do they want a smooth talking, immensely wealthy, insensitive, transplant from New Jersey representing them?
Mostovnik (Santa Cruz, CA)
For exactly the same reason that republicans will vote for hypocrites, liars and fools, the democrats will vote for a man who may have some level of disability from a stroke. What matters is how these candidates will vote on policy. How many people held their noses in 2016 and voted for the most unqualified, corrupt, morally decrepit man to ever run for president? By the same token, Biden's actions in multiple policy areas has received great praise even as he's portrayed as a bumbling dinosaur. I for one have great respect for the man.
Cathykent (Oregon)
I also support fracking and I don’t support franking……..just not the way it’s done today, Fetterman has guts, he’s a warrior who protects my back when I’m not looking and others won’t.
Lydia (Massachusetts)
Oz is a snake oil salesman and he will continue to move around until he finds his personal kingdom.
Adler (DC)
Gail Colins pulls a Dana Loesch and throws all previously held principles out the window in the pursuit of winning. Fetterman. Walker. Is there any difference in the rank hypocrisy of each party in their respective moral pretzel twisting.
Harry Wilson (Carolinaclandestino)
Yes, Fetterman had a stroke and is getting over it. Oz had a Trump and still does. Who is sicker?
Steve B. (australia)
Is he my tribe - yeah, rah, rah! His not my tribe - boo, hiss ( or probably a lot worse)!
Richard Bicker (Chicago)
Fetterman is the Mel Carnahan of the 2022 Senate cycle. Buckets of shame on the heads all concerned and best wishes for the Senator's rapid and complete recovery.
Doctor Woo (Orange, NJ)
Whether Fetterman is fit to be a Senator I don't know. But I know this. If an intelligent being from another world or somewhere that had never heard of either candidate tuned in & watched that debate last night, there is no way you can say that Fetterman performed even reasonably well. To me it was horrible. And I want him to win. It wasn't just because he struggled with finding words. It's also because many of the questions he just didn't answer. The main one about fracking was ridiculous... . Oz is totally full of it. He's a liar, as Fetterman says. But he came off articulate & answered every question. Probably not honestly, but convincingly. I think Fetterman lost the election last night
M. J. Shepley (Sacramento)
yeh, how often did Oz call 9n local politicians for difficult patient consultations? But the choice should be easy. It isn't that Oz is not from Philadelphia. It's that he isn't from this planet. It doesn't take a Trekkie to see the obvious, Oz was actually born on the planet Romulus....
ChristineMcM (Massachusetts)
"Oz seemed unthrilled about being asked if he’d back Donald Trump for the 2024 nomination. Which was a little ungrateful, given that he was probably on stage only because Trump had endorsed him in the Republican primary." I watched the debate to gather fodder for project I'm doing for a class on wealth and poverty. If ever there were a senatorial candidate pairing that reflected that split, this was it. Yeah, I know Fetterman comes from wealth and Oz from poverty, but what matters is who they serve now. I found Oz smug, glib, and totally offputting. Fetterman was yes, hard to watch, but he actually made more sense then Oz when it comes to the people he would serve: Pennsylvanians and the most vulnerable. Would I want a "local" politician dictating the final result of a talk with my doctor about an abortion in the case of incest, rape, or my health? Would any woman?
Mike (MI)
The fact that this article needed to be written is an omen of doom for the election of Mr. Fetterman. It's the independents that count, and he's got them worrying now. Alas.
Bonnie Huggins (Denver)
Independents are too selfish to vote for anyone but Republicans anyway.
SP (STEPHENTOWN, NY)
Gail, you have just explained why Republicans in Georgia will vote for Walker.
rcburr (Tonwsend, MA)
Somehow the basic assumption of this essay is that as far as the Senate (and presumably the House) is that everyone should just go ahead and vote for their tribal candiate. If you're a Democrat in Penn. you should vote for Fetterman. If you're a Republican in Georgia you should just vote for Walker since nothing else matter except your tribe.
Jim (NC)
"At this point, party is all that matters." I just want to pluck that line out, seeing as how it's the one most likely to disappear mysteriously from future downloads of this column, someday soon when new circumstances make it hang very heavy around its author's neck. "At this point, party is all that matters." In that case, why didn't the Pennsylvania Democratic Party move weeks or months ago to take advantage of its legal option to replace Lt. Gov. Fetterman on the basis of his medical condition? The spectacle of Mr. Fetterman struggling on that stage was tragic, and no decent person enjoyed watching it. But the spectacle of Ms. Collins and her colleagues twisting themselves into knots to try to rationalize away this huge, obvious, neon-blinking problem? It's hilarious, and my popcorn bowl is full. What you're doing here is laughably transparent, Gail. Please have more respect for your readers.
Bonnie Huggins (Denver)
And everyone conveniently forgets how Donald Trump pled the fifth like a total criminal. Republicans literally want a criminal as president but everyone wants to complain about Democrats. I guess I should get used to the double standards Republicans enjoy like everyone around me seems to have done.
Les (SW Florida)
@Jim Fetterman is real and Oz is a self-serving Trump stooge. The choice is easy.
dc (Devon, PA)
If you take out the time spent fundraising, how hard can a senate job be? I want somebody who votes my values and doesn’t think too hard on it. I watched the debate and thought Fetterman sounded better than I expected. He was more concise. Oz acted and sounded like a guy from Jersey.
Lyndsey Marie Shanley (Puget Sound)
I think Oz is a fast talker. The faster he could talk the better for him. He was hoping Fetterman would have a problem keeping up and this would confuse him. The intelligence in Fetterman is still there, it is just a problem of the words going from his brain to clearly state them out of his mouth. I hope he beats Oz. He has proven his worth to PA.
grennan (green bay)
In the first three hours after the debate, the Fetterman campaign pulled in $1 million, climbing to $2 million today. The country has had plenty of deaf senators (who could forget Nixon suggesting that old Sen. Eastman could officially listen to the Watergate tapes?) It's certainly had inarticulate senators. And it's had more than few who've had strokes while in office, including two now serving, Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM). What should concern PA voters more is Dr. Oz's idea to get zoning boards and road commissions involved in making abortion decisions.
Jane (Boston)
The job is simply don’t vote with the kooks that have taken over the GOP so that our democracy doesn’t get destroyed. I think Fetterman is healthily enough for that.
SG (California)
Fetterman will vote for democracy, for families and working people. He is working on regaining his speech skills. That has not effected his judgment for doing right for the people of his state.
pb (calif)
The Republican Party has so many impaired nut cases that it is incredible that they could think that they could use Mr. Fetterman in ads.
olu (indianapolis)
'But deep down, nothing made much difference. Most viewers knew who they were going to support before the debate began'. Which begs the question. What is the point of these debates?
Thomas Renner (New York City)
I could see Mr. Fetterman representing me but never Oz. I never watched his TV show as I felt he was full of it. I can only see people voteing for him because he claims to be a republican. I have great respect for Mr. Fetterman, took lots of nerve to get up there with a very polished TV flim flam man, I would be happy to put him in the senate.
philipe (Queens)
Ms. Collins writes, "... his opponent’s (Oz) very recent metamorphosis into a Pennsylvania resident,..." I wonder if Gail would have written the same about Hillary Clinton and her metamorphosis into a New Yorker twenty-two years ago.
Socrates (Downtown Verona, NJ)
In the Georgia race, the Democrat Raphael Warnock looks like a good choice for United States Senator. His opponent, the Republican Herschel Walker looks like a good choice to open an abortion clinic ; apparently, based on the testimony of his many girlfriends, he's already one of their best customers. Here's to Republican family values: hypocrisy, denialism, shamelessness, greed, power and 'forgiveness' of abhorrent behavior.
Charles Michener (Gates Mills, OH)
Three takeaways: 1) Fetterman gets points for the sheer gutsiness of continuing his candidacy despite the debilitating stroke. In any case, how much does strange behavior really matter in today's Senate (viz. Lindsey Graham)? 2) Oz loses points for being the most brazen carpetbagger in recent political history, outstripping Hillary Clinton in 2000. 3) I hadn't quite realized how low the bar has become for admission to what was once called "the world's greatest deliberative body."
Roger (Pa)
The way the media latches onto Fetterman's health issue makes one suspect that media are more interested in its value in creating traffic and revenue for them than they are in getting rid of the pervasive anti-democracy threat to our country by people who support anti-freedom and anti-democracy candidates. Jefferson valued the press bc it promoted Democracy. I guess things change. Fetterman has a record of being pro-people, pro-small town, USA and pro-democracy.
Miles (Los Angeles)
If Republicans aren't worried about Herschel Walker's mental deficiencies - not to mention his paying for all those abortions - why should Democrats back away from John Fetterman as he recovers from a stroke? At least Fetterman will get better.
Harry (Florida)
Having watched the debate, I read this column as Ms Collins pulling & pushing to get Pennsylvania voters to favor Fetterman. I accept that her political inclination is to support the Democratic candidate, but this debate showed Fetterman with a declined acuity that is not fit for a Senator. On the other hand, Oz presented himself closer to the political center. His answer on abortion was actually not bad at all. Yes, women and their doctors must have a major say on abortion. However, some level of political input is needed. Do we want women to have a 8th month abortion ? Unfortunately the limit must be set somwhere. Rape victims should have a reasonable period to decide. Medical issues are a matter between the woman and her doctor. But other abortions must be regulated, unfortunately but logically by politicians. Ms. Collins describes Oz as an extremist which he is not, and her column will not convince anyone other than those already in her camp.
TDD (Florida)
@Harry If local politicians should be involved in abortion decisions, why is Gov. DeSantis against local politicians being involved in public health and education decisions? He demanded that the Legislature literally write the local governments authority out of the law, and they quickly did his bidding.
d ascher (Boston, ma)
@Harry When will the Democrats stop pussy footing around about abortion? It is about whether the government should have the power to force a woman to carry a pregnancy to term. Pregnancy involves significant risks to a woman's health requiring close monitoring of the progress of both the mother's and fetus' conditions throughout more than six months to avoid the death or serious injury to the mother and/or the fetus. Pregnancy is not simply a matter of carrying a weight in the mother's abdomen - it can be a serious threat to her survival as well as lead to injuries that will affect her quality of life until the end of her life. Everybody knows, but nobody seems willing to say, that no men would ever give th government the power to force them to carry a life-threatening alien body within their bodies. That the 'individual freedom-loving", "get the government off our backs" Republican Party is so committed to the regulation of women's bodies simply clarifies that they are only interested in keeping the government out of their business affairs. They believe strongly that they should be able to lie, cheat, and steal in order to make their fortunes without some "do-gooder" government interference.
Somewhere (Michigan)
It took guts for Mr. Fetterman to get on that stage. A debate is challenging enough without having to deal with the limitations caused by a stroke.
Jeff (Denver)
“women, doctors, local political leaders …” That's how low we've sunk in this country. That's how concerned Republicans actually are about freedom, about individual choice, about education, about expertise. Yeah, wouldn't want a woman, or a couple, to make a critical decision in their lives without giving a generic pundit with lots of opinions but absolutely no stake in the outcome a chance to weigh in. Oz said the quiet bit out load. And I can't say what I really want to say in response, because my comment would be rejected out of hand.
Deirdre (New Jersey)
The day after the election, no one will ever see Oz in PA again. Whether he wins or not and I hope he loses he will live in NJ where he has always lived and vote in Turkey
LMartin (UT/FL)
It is unfortunately quite predictable now that the Times is pulling out all the rhetorical stops to support Democratic candidates everywhere. Here, the thesis is - as long as one is a Democrat, vote for them. Fetterman has a serious heart condition that he ignored and had a serious stroke. It is not discrimination to question whether he is capable of being a Senator, any more than it would be to wonder if he could fly a plane. This debate was the only opportunity for voters to see for themselves - absent the game of lowering expectations - whether Fetterman could do the job. It may be enough for the Times that being a Democrat is the only qualification for office, but voters deserve more.
d ascher (Boston, ma)
@LMartin So there is no threat to democracy from a party which is in lock step with the guy who tried to violently stop the certification of the 2020 Presidential Election - and who is still trying to overturn the results of that election as illegitimate despite a total lack of evidence of impropriety.? And there is nothing "odd" about candidates who participate in an election who are unwilling to accept the results of the election unless they win? That the person who gets the most votes is the winner of an election and that the winner of the election gets to take the office are very basic precepts of democratic decision making that most people used to learn in about second grade. People who are unwilling to say that they accept the terms of the democratic election process should be automatically disqualified from participating in it. They should tell us what process they think should be used to choose who gets to take a contested office. Trial by combat, winning a chess game, flipping a coin, civil war, coup d'etat, evaluation of qualifications by a panel of experts, kissing TFGs gluteous maximus?
Philboyd (Washington, DC)
So, elect a guy for six years who has clear cognitive problems so that his staff can be a rubber stamp for the progressive policies of a Democratic Party that on many social, economic and moral issues is way out of touch with most of Pennsylvania. You are right. That is certainly not, "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington." It's, "shut up and let Washington decide your future."
Dave (New Jersey)
At the end of the day the Democratic Party should show more concern for Mr. Fetterman’s long term health and well being. He is clearly not fit at the present time for the rigors of serving as a US Senator.
Shelby Grifo Swayze (Philadelphia)
Dave, You will be getting him back on Nov. 9th. Sorry.
Bonnie Huggins (Denver)
It doesn't matter what Democrats do. American voters are stupid who will vote for stupid leaders.
Shelby Grifo Swayze (Philadelphia)
@Dave Rigors in serving in the US Senate? Everything moves at a snails pace…and then some. Fetterman will be fine. Oz is a menace to the women of PA.
Paul wright (Wellesley ma)
Fetterman should have never run for the Senate. That said, he shouldn't have debated, but he did. Oz will win easily. Yes, most Dems will go for Fetterman, but must independents will not. The person matters to them. Dems have lost the Senate,
Susan Murray (Glenmoore, PA)
Fetterman reminded everyone at the start of the debate that he had a stroke. After citing his limitations, I wish that he would have said: Although the stroke has given me auditory processing problems and difficulty speaking, it did not turn me into a carpetbagger, a quack doctor, a puppy killer, etc.
Real Observer (Ca)
The threat to democracy,and the trumpist that Mehmet Oz is, riding in from outside pennsylvania.Also Mehmet Oz is so fake. He is a huge threat to women's rights and said 'politicians have rights over women's bodies'. It sounded so much like Trump's sex tape comment in 2016. But the problem is women have lost a fundamental right because of far right party extremists like Oz. Policies are what matter. The extreme far right party has no plan whatsoever besides cutting taxes,which will be inflationary. Texas is in a state of anarchy.The police are getting shot at by unlicensed and trigger happy gun holders
AACNY (New York)
Fetterman was kept under wraps by media until two weeks before the election. At that point, Americans were shocked to see how he struggled. Imagine if Biden had been forced to debate?
olu (indianapolis)
@AACNY Biden did debate.
d ascher (Boston, ma)
@AACNY imagine if any one of the completely incoherent Trumpists running for office ranging from dog catcher to Senator and Governor around the country had been forced to debate. Those folks are unable to put a single sentence together at the best of times - many (but not even most) of them of them, excel at robotically repeating the memorized talking points of the whacko far right - especially during primary season. The GOP is running "problematic" (to quote the usually unquotable Mr. McConnell) candidates. They should not be "normalized" and treated as if they were not unqualified, ignorant, lapdogs of the proto-fascist former guy.
et.al.nyc (NY)
Mr. Fetterman is no doubt healthier today than he was a year or two ago, and will probably emerge stronger and better able to serve. But the Times talks little about the morality of "Dr. Oz" from New Jersey and how he uses innuendo to attack someone during recovery. For a physician, this is wrong, and he cannot have it both ways. When we recall "Dr Oz" promoting snake oil cures on TV (green tea for weight loss?) we also should speculate on how many bought his product hoping for a "miracle" cure. Instead of seeking an endocrine evaluation or attempting meaningful lifestyle change they made this man wealthy. So here are some suggestions for future reporting. To what extenT does medical disinformation worsen community health? Who are the participants? It would tell Pennsylvanians more about this candidate from New Jersey. It is also telling that so few doctors will speak out against this type of medical mispractice. Dr. Oz used his medical license to make a quick buck and become immensely wealthy. That is not the purpose of health care. Pennsylvanians need to get past the Fox News brainwashing.
Uncle Albert (Snow Hill, Maryland)
I read Fetterman raised a lot of money after the debate. Personally, I think it takes a lot of guts to go out on a debate stage knowing full well that one's abilities are diminished. I would not do it. Would you?
Sophia (US/DE)
Unfortunately-- the hale & hearty con man will probably win in PA. I cannot help but think though about FDR and having polio. Or JFK with kidney disease and significant back issues. Perhaps there was less scrutiny in days gone by---where people judged less by physical capacity and more by leadership skills. We live in uncompassionate times and the political arena is particularly cruel. The courage it took for Fetterman to show up far outshines any skills Dr Oz appears to have.
RP Smith (Marshfield, Ma)
Fetterman’s condition will improve. Oz’s politics and will to serve PA won’t.
Green River (Illinois)
I am "a local elected official" and I should NOT be making life and death decisions for ANYONE. There is no choice here. John Fetterman displayed huge courage the other night. Oz is a chameleon. Diet pills, anyone?
CA_state_of_mind (Northern CA)
Fetterman was going to win before the debate, and he's still going to win after. He's authentic, and Dr Oz is a pretender.
Sequel (Boston)
Television pitchman versus average guy. Not the usual game-show that we now expect from a debate.
David Bible (Houston)
The bottom line is that Fetterman has some issues that can be dealt with technology and he can improve. He is the Lt. Governor of Pennsylvania and will bring governing experience to the job of being Senator. Dr. Oz, on the other hand is a TV medical quack that supports Trump, has no governing experience but will vote to eliminate SS, Medicare and Medicaid, pass a national ban in abortion and anything else he is told to do because he is nothing but an opportunist.
leanguy (long island, ny)
Yes, it's all about party unfortunately. I think about Herschel Walker. The Republicans in Georgia would vote for a turnip as long as it gets them another "R" seat in the Senate. Their candidate doesn't have to do anything more than vote the way Mitch and the Republican leadership tells them to.
David H (Northern Va.)
It seems to me that there is one fact, and only one, that Pennsylvania voters need to be cognizant of when they cast their ballot for Senator: Mehmet Oz will be a stooge and a tool for Mr. Trump in the Senate.
Jane Smoken (Los Angeles, CA)
I’d certainly be thrilled to have my local male politician in the doctor’s office with me and my doctor. I guess at least he’s a Democrat? But on a serious note, Oz’s persona and positions are patronizing and ridiculous. And Fetterman’s are made with considerable thought and moral mettle. As is he. We should be so lucky to have him in the Senate.
Donald L. Nygaard (Edina, Minnesota)
Having two first-degree family members who suffered cerebral hemorrhage, I feel qualified to weigh in on the issue of Mr. Fetterman’s debate performance. The fact of John’s abilities to process audio input and express his thoughts the topic of the moment is an irrelevance. As we’ve seen written elsewhere in these NYT, the intellect can reside within and be sharp. Give the guy a break. His instincts and morals are correct. The other guy, not so much.
Jason McDonald (Fremont)
This is the best we can do? A man who's only jobs have been a very, very small town mayor and Lt. Governor, and a weird TV host? That's the real elephant in the room, as our democracy dies.
pb (calif)
Oz is an actor who has had one too many cosmetic procedures as evidenced by his drooping eye due to nerve damage. Fetterman is a true human being and will continue to heal. Why isnt the media covering Rep Steve Scalise who is partially crippled and has speech impediments due to his shooting?
XXX (Somewhere in the U.S.A.)
"If you’ve got a local election for governor or mayor, feel free to mull the character details." No. Vote against all Republicans. The party is committed to ending democracy and installing one-party rule and dictatorship under such filth as Trump, Desantis, Abbot, Lake, Youngkin, etc. Except for Cheney and Kinzinger, the best of the rest of them are passive, occasional complainers who do nothing serious to resist. That includes Hogan, Romney, etc. Completely shattering today's Republican Party is the only hope for freedom in America. Vote Blue No Matter Who.
Leslie Shulman (Mexico)
is it a surprise that so many politicians are not the cream of the crop?
Natalie (PA)
So worrying about medical incapacitation was all the rage when Trump was in power, but now that a guy who had a stroke a few months will vote Democrat, it no longer matters. Is it any wonder that many conservatives detest liberals?
Tom Q (Minneapolis, MN)
So, another one of those statements that begs for clarification (if one is even available). Who are these "local political leaders?" Are they the local elected officials or local political party chiefs? If they are elected...at one level? Can my city council vote to allow abortion clinics within city limits? Perhaps my county commissioners can weigh in as well? If my local Republican or Democrat party chairmen/women (they are "political leaders") get to make decisions about what women can/cannot do with their bodies, I don't think that will go over well. With anyone. Perhaps Oz is best suited for a TV studio rather than in a Senate chamber.
lehomme (marin1950)
Clearly the caliber of the people nominated by each party increasingly means absolutely nothing. The ONLY thing that matters is will they be a safe vote for Democrats - or Republicans. And that's tragic. Neither one of the Pennsylvania candidates is fit for the job. But each of them does have - in Grover Norquist's famous axiom - "workable digits" for voting. There should be a higher standard - but sadly - there isn't.
Lorraine Huzar (Long Island, NY)
I am sick of what is supposed to be mainstream media. At one time newspapers saved the opinions and the handwringing for the editorial pages, today I see the NY Times and the Washington Post focus on Fetterman's performance and not his substance. Two senators this past year have had strokes and have recovered. Fetterman was never a great extemporaneous speaker and Oz is a well practiced TV snake oil salesman. What were once bastions of news and truth have now become not much better than the propaganda machines of Fox. Report what is important.
Alan (Beaver Falls)
It's not okay that hundreds of thousands have already voted before voters really could take the measure of both men. I have no doubt that many fence-sitters who voted for Fetterman would like their ballot back. This insane push for weeks of early voting and mail-in balloting from anyplace with a post office is completely irresponsible. I had no doubt of Fetterman's cognitive impairment last night. Our PCP said the same today, unsolicited. I am seeing Fetterman supporters today try to rationalize this as a 'disability' but it's not a disability - not in the way that FDR was or TX Governor Abbott is disabled. He appears to be cognitively impaired, and he should not be in the US Senate.
Debra M. (Syracuse)
@Alan I have long lived with a TBI resulting from violence. Part of my impairment was and is still, an inability to get my words out quickly. This has left me vulnerable to people who finish my sentences not as I would finish them, but rather to simply hurry me up, shut me up, and/or express their own thoughts. With aphasia, I have managed to go to college at night while working a full- time job. There is no doubt that during and for some time after my brain was injured, I experienced brain fog, but there is also no doubt that I got good grades while surrounded by people who dismissed me as a "dullard" and "lob," among other things. I wonder how many unfortunate concussion or stroke victims your "PCP" treats. I hope not too many.
greg starr (oslo Norway)
Answering your question about the last time I changed my mind, being influenced by rousing oratory: Apparently unlike Gail, I am fairly often persuaded. Last time: a covid vaccine debate heard today ...though it took place two years ago between RFK Jr, the extraordinarily villified vaccine sceptic--- even more villified than Trump--- and Alan Dershowitz. About 38 minutes into the debate and for the next 20 minutes Kennedy sunbursted into pure eloquence and mastery of facts. Kennedy's obvious speech defect was no more than an initial impediment, forgotten by the time of the sunburst .
Marie (BOSTON)
RE: At this point, party is all that matters. Republicans are famous for saying that death is the preferred alternative to voting Democratic. It's been ingrained from the dinner table, to talk radio, to church, that Democrats are pure evil. Satan himself coming to take their children. My mom believed it enough to move herself and us kids to NH in the 60's. We still had civics classes in junior high and high school back then. I took those lessons to heart and thereafter did my duty every election to evaluate the candidates and vote for whom i believed to be best voting. Congratulations Republicans, I will not be doing that. Republicans have been standing and literally fighting against all that I learned in civics and history in a Republican town in a Republican state where The Union Leader ruled the roost. A party I don't recognize threatens to turn the country into one that is unrecognizable.
faivel1 (NYC)
1 Billion dollars of dark money flooding this so-called democracy. This book tells all. The Scheme How the Right Wing Used Dark Money to Capture the Supreme Court By: Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Jennifer Mueller Narrated by: Charles Constant How obscene is this?
kglen (Philadelphia)
Anyone who has listened to/admired the oratory of Donald Trump should be overwhelmed by the excellence of fettermans performance Fetterman used common sense and reason. He spoke the truth. He didn't slur his speech, and he didn't appeal to the LCD. Compare that to any speech made by trump and feel the hope. Fetterman is a finely functioning human being. More directly, compare to the wizard of Oz, after his remark about a woman's health care being a matter between her and her locally elected politicians... ?!?!? It makes my brain hurt.
Susan Johnston (Washington, DC)
I find it fascinating that many of the same people who are saying Fetterman isn't qualified based on his stroke-related language deficits are wholeheartedly supporting Hershel Walker who can't put together a coherent sentence.
Jack (East Coast)
Fetterman was too kind in not mentioning that Oz has dual citizenship in the US and Turkey. If you're running for one of the most senior political offices in the US, shouldn't you have figured out which country gets your undivided loyalty by now?
CitizenSissy (Suburban Philly)
PA voter here. Early voted straight blue. Recovery from a stroke, when caught early, is possible and likely. Recovery from a Republican nationalist state isn’t.
PL (ny)
Why all the fuss about Fetterman's speaking ability? We've had nearly two years of the incoherence of President Joe Biden, who not only cannot complete a sentence but can't form a rational thought. And his policy gaffes are far more dangerous than his slurred and stumbling speech: how many times has his press office had to "clarify" off-the-cuff pronouncements with global legal or public health implications?
Therese (Philly)
@PL Unkind remarks about the President.
morGan (NYC)
Would Lauren Boebort, MTG, Gaetz, Oz, Herschel, or Kari Lake stand a chance against tough unyielding probing moderators? Congress is filled with shambolic characters who have learned how to manipulate both gullible voters and shallow TV debate moderators. We need to change this. It would be more beneficial if all debates were outsourced to moderators from England or Australia.
Jessamine (SC)
@morGan Kari Lake & Oz have spent years in front of audiences and cameras. They know how to fill the air with words without saying much of anything. The others you mention would just pivot to spewing stupidity and hate, if pressed.
Mark (CT)
John Fetterman was hidden by the major media, the Democrats and his wife so that voters would not have the opportunity to see and understand the true impact of his stroke. That is just wrong. Two questions: 1. "Would you want John Fetterman as the executor of your estate?" 2. "Why then would you want him as a U.S. Senator?"
A Blinkin (Chicago)
@mark: why not? You don't have a clue what an executor does. Or a senator
Therese (Philly)
@Mark Yes I would want Fetterman because he is not a crook.
Gail (Pa)
Fetterman is not enlisting for active combat military duty as some would like to have you believe. Senators read documents make commemts and stand at podiums or sit at desks. . The guy should be given alot of respect for the guts and determination to face his rival at the podium knowing he is working to over come a disability. It gave me more respect for the man.
Nick (Portland, OR)
If forced to choose between an individual who does not seem to have the cognitive ability needed to make the most crucial decisions of the country, and an individual who has a long history of exploiting the most vulnerable, I choose the former. However, this is an indictment of the two-party system. These choices are awful!
Jay C (New Hampshire)
And it certainly worked for 44.
BDG (Ct)
Debates are pointless. Complete waste of time. I'm not particularly interested in how well someone looks or speaks- much more interested in character, political position and intellect. Whether or not the candidate makes a good visual impression has nothing to do with his substantive answers on the pertinent political topics all of which have probably been articulated in previous interviews. For god's sake - if we went by visual alone Stephen Hawkings, one of the most brilliant minds in the world, would have been ignored. As far as Fetterman and Oz- one has had a stroke and has obvious physical limitations (which in time might become less apparent and anyway who cares? his mind is intact) and the other is a slick snake oil salesman who has completely ignored his medical ethos, has lied about his residency and apparently is totally owned by Trump. And don't forget this Doctor baited a human that has physical limitations- that alone puts Oz beyond the pale. You want someone of his ilk in political office, making decisions about your life? Not me.
Jeremiah (Top Right)
Lol. Did we watch the same debate? It's not a matter of Fetterman having some difficulty expressing his thoughts as eloquently as a television host. It's the fact that the guy clearly doesn't know what he's talking about to begin with half the time. I wouldn't be concerned about his lack of eloquence if he actually had an intelligent thought behind what he was trying to say but that's obviously not the case and you know it.
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