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Does The Post-Stroke Fetterman Have The Cognitive Ability To Be A US Senator? – OpEd

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TV doctor and quack medicine hustler Mehmet Oz, the candidate running for an open Senate seat on the Republican line in Pennsylvania, has been hammering away on his opponent, Democratic Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, who suffered a serious stroke four and a half months ago. Oz has been saying Fetterman, who since the stroke has shown some trouble finding words on occasion during his note-free speeches on the campaign trail (a not uncommon problem, usually temporary, for people following a stroke).

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Last week Fetterman released the results o two cognitive tests he had administered to him, both of which he passed, though this hasn’t satisfied Dr. Oz, who’s down in the polls and trying to backpedal from positions he took during the Republican primary when he won the backing of Donald Trump who narrowly won the 2016 election over Hillary Clinton in the state.

Oz is claiming Fetterman hasn’t shown he has the cognitive ability to be a Senator.

Now that strikes me as odd, not so much because Oz, a TV personality but also a retired heart surgeon, surely knows the temporary mental after-effects common following a blood clot in the brain, but because the demonstrably low cognitive abilities of US Senators, especially these days, sets a pretty low bar for what’s required for the job.

Let’s take Republican Sen. Ron Johnson, struggling for re-election in Wisconsin. Johnson is in the running for dumbest person in the US Senate, for saying things like, “Why do we think that we can create something better than God in terms of combating disease?”

Most Republican senators, in fact, vote in lockstep with either the wishes of former President Donald Trump (a prime example of how little intellect matters for success in politics), or of Republican leader Mitch McConnell, famous for such expostulations as, “Nothing in this extension (of the USA PATRIOT Act has ever been found to be unconstitutional.”

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And Democrats don’t fare a lot better. Here’s House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, “Every month that we do not have an economic recovery package, 500 million Americans lose their jobs.”

And then there’s Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY): “You know we have three branches of government. We have a House, We have a Senate. We have a President.”

Of course, there are word slips and there’s rank stupidity all through both sides of both the House and the Senate.

I don’t know John Fetterman, but I’m betting even while recovering from his stroke, he’s got more on the ball than the average sitting Senator or Representative. At least he has shown something that is almost completely lacking in the bodies of most of those politicians: a spine. Fetterman, well on the left side of his party ideologically, demonstrate his with his determined, an against-the-grain, effort to try and win parole for long-time inmates in Pennsylvania’s overcrowded prison system who have clearly rehabilitated themselves and shouldn’t be kept behind bars just because of some lust for vengeance on the part of Republican elected officials who refuse to reform a corrupt, racist and failed state criminal justice system.

Voters in this state should sent Oz back to the land of Television Oz where he can continue to hawk quack health care advice and quack “cures” to his gullible on-stage and on sofa or recliner viewers. He may do a lot of harm there, but he’d do a lot more harm as a US Senator — especially if he were the one to give the Republican Party control of the Senate by winning Pennsylvania’s open seat.

Dave Lindorff

Dave Lindorff is a Philadelphia-based journalist and columnist. He is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening!, an online newspaper collective. Lindorff is a contributor to "Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion" (AK Press) and the author the author of “The Case for Impeachment” (St. Martin’s Press). He can be reached at [email protected]

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