'Latest triumph of power of principle': Why claims about Fetterman and Walker betray GOP’s 'hypocrisy and immorality'
Before their recent debates, two U.S. Senate candidates — Democrat John Fetterman in Georgia and MAGA Republican Herschel Walker in Georgia — set the bar low. Fetterman was candid and up-front about the fact that he was still recovering from the effects of a stroke he suffered back in May, and Walker made self-deprecating comments such as “I’m not that smart.”
But following the debates, the party line among Republicans has been that Fetterman showed that he is unfit to serve in the U.S. Senate, while Walker demonstrated that he has what it takes and must be elected at all costs. Journalist A.B. Stoddard, in an article published by the conservative website The Bulwark on November 1, lays out some reasons why such claims are flawed and problematic — not to mention cynical.
“Everyone agrees that John Fetterman had a bad debate last week,” Stoddard explains. “Also, the general consensus is that Herschel Walker recently had a good debate. Walker, faux police badge in hand, survived with several sentences intact amid the lowest of expectations, while Fetterman startled everyone with his pauses and jumbled — sometimes conflicting — answers. Walker has been incoherent for much of his campaign and is surrounded by Roy Moore levels of personal scandal —accompanied by the requisite lying and hypocrisy.”
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Stoddard, best known for her work for RealClearPolitics, continues, “Yet Republicans, proud to have nominated a man not remotely suited to the job of U.S. senator, have now declared John Fetterman is incapable of doing the same job. Ted Cruz called Fetterman’s debate performance ‘stunningly painful.’ Since then, Cruz has been on the campaign trail telling voters that Walker needs to be in the U.S. Senate.”
According to Stoddard, Republicans “have disqualified Fetterman while brushing aside Walker’s limitations and scandals and openly admit they are using him — abortions, assaults, Russian roulette, and all — for one purpose: power.”
“Republicans are open about this transactionalism: They want chairmanships, and Mitch McConnell wants to be majority leader again,” Stoddard observes. “Walker doesn’t need to do anything as a senator except vote for them. He’s a body in a column.”
After the debate between Fetterman and Dr. Mehmet Oz — the Republican U.S. Senate nominee in Pennsylvania — MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell stressed that Fetterman is hardly the first politician who has battled major health problems, noting that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the U.S. and Prime Minister Winston Churchill in the U.K. battled one health problem after another. O’Donnell argued that there is no reason why the effects of Fetterman’s stroke should prevent him from serving in the U.S. Senate if he wins, as having speech problems isn’t the same as being impaired intellectually.
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Stoddard, similarly, observes, “Experts believe that Fetterman’s auditory processing issues are unrelated to his cognitive capacity. They also note that patients recovering from strokes have good days and bad days, which is why Fetterman has given some interviews where his conversation and speech are fluid, while at other times, he has struggled with even prepared lines on the stump. Many stroke patients recover functions, such as auditory processing, over time.”
Stoddard wraps up her article by pointing out how flawed Republican thinking is when it comes to Fetterman and Walker.
“As always, Republicans want to have it both ways,” Stoddard writes. “They want to say that Herschel Walker should be seen as nothing more than a reliable Republican vote, but that John Fetterman isn’t cognitively fit for the Senate. But if we’re choosing bots whose fingers just have to press the right button when voting on the Senate floor, then (by) the Republican Party’s own standards, John Fetterman is a fine candidate.”
Stoddard continues, “Republicans aren’t asking too much of Walker should he win, and his efforts to kill off all those babies he said he wants to protect is fine with them. In Trump’s GOP, lying, hypocrisy, immorality and ignorance are not only tolerated, but celebrated. But a lieutenant governor with aphasia, which is temporary? Republicans are certain Fetterman cannot serve his constituents. It’s the GOP’s latest triumph of power of principle.”
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