Playing the Blame Game Honestly

Last week I listened to a conversation between Jesse Watters and Karl Rove about the “embarrassment” of having the brain-damaged, clinically depressed, and now hospitalized John Fetterman serve as a U.S. senator from my state of Pennsylvania. Fetterman is unfit for the office he holds for multiple reasons. He is mentally incapable of exercising his senatorial responsibilities and is spending his days not in the Senate but as a patient being treated at the Walter Reed Hospital for various health conditions. 

These various health issues do not even touch on John’s kooky political views. These include setting up heroin centers at convenient locations at government expense, releasing second-degree murderers from jail, and placing no restrictions on the right to dispose of one’s offspring up until the moment of birth and even afterwards. Jesse and Karl addressed the question of how such an underqualified, incapacitated eccentric was “allowed” to become our U.S. senator.

Our conversationalists target two objects of blame. One, Fetterman’s wife Gisele, who has now gone on to the politically congenial country of Canada, was responsible for her husband’s ill-advised election. Gisele could have headed off our current problem if only she had dissuaded hubby from staying in the race, particularly after he suffered a serious stroke during his campaign. Unfortunately, Fetterman’s spouse, according to Jesse, was just too hungry for the benefits of Washington high society to keep her debilitated husband from winning a Senate seat. Two, the real fault, according to Rove, lies entirely with the Democratic Party. The Democrats did not have to run Fetterman for the Senate after it was apparent that he was physically and mentally unable to serve. They should have replaced him with the “moderate” Conor Lamb, who is now a congressman  from Western Pennsylvania. Since Lamb has voted most of the time the same way as Nancy Pelosi and Adam Schiff, I’m not sure what makes him, even in the eyes of a Bush Republican, a “moderate.” But let’s focus on the question of whom we should blame for Fetterman’s election.

As far as I can determine, only one group bears blame for this unhappy outcome, and its blame may be total. It is the majority of the voters in Pennsylvania, who put Fetterman in office, knowing full well that he was gravely incapacitated. Our Pennsylvania voters happily elected him as a placeholder for the far Left, even after watching a debate with his opponent Dr. Mehmet Oz, in which Fetterman was utterly incoherent. At that time and ever since Fetterman has used a computer monitor to understand and respond to questions. Fetterman made absolutely no sense during the debate in providing answers to queries from a generally friendly moderator. Please note that Fetterman didn’t just squeak through in his contest against Oz. He won by almost five points; and even with early voting and the usual dishonest precinct reporting from Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, the odds are that Fetterman really did beat his very centrist, inoffensive opponent. The majority of voters wanted a woke leftist as senator, no matter his obvious disabilities and no matter how non-threatening Mehmet Oz seemed throughout his campaign.  

The conservative media establishment, as I’ve frequently observed, most definitely doesn’t want to blame voters for anything that goes amiss. It’s always that old Devil the Democratic Party that successfully conspires to put the wrong guys into public office. Inner city voters, I am led to believe, don’t elect wicked district attorneys who favor violent criminals at the expense of their victims. The Democratic Party is entirely responsible for this disaster. Nor was it a combination of unmarried women, soccer moms, college students, government workers, and urban blacks who bestowed a senate seat on Fetterman. Again, it was the Democratic Party that perpetrated this mischief.

 The Democrats put up candidates who are electable; and Fetterman was one such candidate. This is a far scarier truth than imagining that the fault lies entirely with one of the two national parties, and once we alternate parties, the problem is fixed. We need more responsible citizens and a more virtuous electorate, and that may be harder to produce than a few more Republican victories.  

Almost every Western country has seen its electorate culturally radicalized in recent decades; and it doesn’t help denying that the public is fully complicit in this process. Last night I heard news about the police in Calgary, Alberta roughing up and arresting a devout Christian pastor, who had been protesting a drag queen story hour taking place at the public library. Tucker Carlson and the Canadian press magnate Ezra Levant stressed that it was the leftist government in Calgary and elsewhere in Canada that were trampling on religious and other civic rights. Although I am second to none in despising the woke totalitarians who are denaturing our politics and culture, the baddies didn’t achieve power on their own. A massive popular vote stands behind them.

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About Paul Gottfried

Paul Edward Gottfried is the editor of Chronicles. An American paleoconservative philosopher, historian, and columnist, Gottfried is a former Horace Raffensperger Professor of Humanities at Elizabethtown College in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania, as well as a Guggenheim recipient.

Photo: PHILADELPHIA, NOVEMBER 08 2022 Mark Makela/Getty Images