The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Why Democrats Can’t Take the ‘L’

Posted on | October 27, 2022 | Comments Off on Why Democrats Can’t Take the ‘L’

When your Senate candidate suffers a debilitating stroke, to such an extent that he can’t communicate coherently, what do you do? Well, if you’re Democrats and the media (but I repeat myself), you pretend that this devastating setback isn’t really devastating, that somehow Pennsylvania voters won’t notice, or won’t care, that John Fetterman is like the monster in Young Frankenstein: “He’s got a rotten brain!”

Noah Rothman offers this excellent explanation:

The sunk-costs fallacy describes a tendency to devote ever more resources to a lost cause rather than simply take the loss. And for Fetterman’s media boosters, some of whom sunk so much reputational capital into the idea that the Senate candidate was up to the job, Tuesday night’s debate was a big loss. But rather than concede that fact, their crusade continued with the fury of an addict chasing a high.

(Hat-tip: Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.)

If you look at the situation Democrats are facing, it makes sense that they’re desperate to salvage their investments in Fetterman. There were three states — Wisconsin, Ohio and Pennsylvania — where Democrats believed they had a reasonable chance to flip a Senate seat from “R” to “D,” thus countering their likely losses elsewhere, in order to sustain Chuck Schumer’s razor-thin majority. But Ron Johnson appears to have weathered the storm in Wisconsin, and Tim Ryan has flopped in Ohio, leaving Pennsylvania as the Last Best Hope for Schumer.

The contest to fill the seat of retiring Republican Sen. Pat Toomey seemed winnable, in part because Democrats felt that the Republican candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz was unqualified, damaged by a bruising GOP primary, and tainted by the endorsement of Donald Trump. Fetterman had a certain sort of “Regular Guy” persona that might appeal to some blue-collar voters who had gone for Trump, and so Democrats poured tens of millions of dollars into his campaign. But then, four days before the May primary, Fetterman’s campaign announced that he had suffered a stroke, reportedly caused by a heart problem that Fetterman had not previously disclosed. Exactly when the stroke happened, I’m not sure, but it was announced the Friday (May 13) before the primary on Tuesday (May 17), and the way the media reported it, you would have thought that they were interviewing Fetterman, when in fact they were quoting press statements issued by the campaign:

Fetterman says his wife Gisele spotted the symptoms and got him to the hospital where they removed the clot, reversed the stroke, and got his heart under control.
Fetterman says doctors believe he didn’t “suffer any cognitive damage” and that he’s “feeling much better.” . . .
“I’m well on my way to a full recovery. So I have a lot to be thankful for. They’re keeping me here for now for observation, but I should be out of here sometime soon. The doctors have assured me that I’ll be able to get back on the trail, but first I need to take a minute, get some rest, and recover. There’s so much at stake in this race, and I’m going to be ready for the hard fight ahead.”

See? “Fetterman says” — but to whom did he say these things? These weren’t actual quotes from an interview with Fetterman, who was undergoing surgery at a hospital at the time he allegedly “said” all this.

The media deliberately misled the public about the severity of Fetterman’s condition, which so damaged his capacity for speech that, if he’s not capable of forming coherent sentences now, after months of recovery, he sure as hell was in no shape to be giving these glib quotes to the media in May, when he was at death’s door.

There must be a word for this — ah, yes, “disinformation,” they call it.

So the media, by acting as stenographers for Fetterman’s campaign, were engaged in a cover-up, an attempt to conceal the true gravity of the candidate’s condition. And then when they couldn’t hide it anymore — when the televised debate showed everybody that Fetterman’s basically a walking vegetable — they went into denial mode, trying to pretend that he didn’t really do so bad, all things considered. Ironically, even Chuck Schumer seems to be living inside that bubble:

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) was caught on a hot mic telling President Biden Thursday that Democrats are “in danger” in at least one Senate race and admitting that the party is “going downhill” in the closely-watched Georgia contest.
“That seat, we’re, we’re in danger in that seat,” Schumer could be heard telling the president on the tarmac at Syracuse Hancock International Airport. It’s unclear to which seat Schumer was referring.
“But you know, it looks like the debate didn’t hurt too much in Pennsylvania as of today, so that’s good … basically, we’re picking up steam in Nevada,” Schumer continued, referencing Pennsylvania Senate candidate John Fetterman’s poor showing in his first and only debate with GOP opponent Dr. Mehmet Oz.
Biden could be seen crossing his fingers as Schumer delivered his assessment that Fetterman’s debate performance didn’t end his chances. The president exchanged some words with Schumer as well but it was unclear what he was saying.
Seconds later, Schumer updated Biden on the state of play in the Peach State, where the latest average of polls from RealClearPolitics shows Republican Herschel Walker leading incumbent Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock by 0.6 percentage points.
“The state where we’re going downhill is Georgia. It’s hard to believe that they will go for Herschel Walker,” a shocked-sounding Schumer told the president.

Indeed, things are “going downhill in Georgia,” but Schumer’s claim that “the debate didn’t hurt” Fetterman must be considered merely a repetition of the “spin” coming out of the media.

Just 12 more days, and we’ll see about that.



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