The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette cut through the noise of the Keystone State's messy U.S. Senate battle in an editorial on Tuesday highlighting, again, the obvious questions voters have about Democrat John Fetterman's fitness for office following overstated expectations from his aides that have not been fulfilled.
The piece by the PG Editorial Board points out that the current Pennsylvania Lt. Governor "has not fully recovered from the serious stroke he suffered in May" just as primary voters chose Fetterman as their candidate for November's general election. "His campaign has acknowledged his obvious struggles with 'auditory processing' and speech, but the persistence of those struggles has contrasted with the campaign’s rosier predictions of a return to the rigors of campaigning, including debating his opponent, Mehmet Oz," the editorial continues before saying what seems obvious:
"If Mr. Fetterman is not well enough to debate his opponent, that raises serious concerns about his ability to serve as a United States senator." You think?
Fetterman has refused to agree to a series of debates proposed by GOP nominee Mehmet Oz, continually making excuses about anything other than the notable issues Fetterman continues to struggle with after being absent from the campaign trail for the first few months following Pennsylvania's primary.
As Townhall has covered, Fetterman's limping performance in returning to the trail is understandable for someone who suffered a serious stroke, but that isn't an answer to questions as to why he's got what it takes to keep up the activities of a U.S. Senator. While the PG's editorial board takes issue with the tenor of criticisms from Fetterman's GOP opponent, the piece admits Oz "has raised legitimate concerns" about his general election competitor.
"If Mr. Fetterman’s communication skills have not yet recovered sufficiently to effectively debate his opponent, many voters will have concerns about his ability to represent them effectively in Washington," the editorial points out. "While [Fetterman] has gamely undertaken more campaign events and media interviews in recent weeks, Mr. Fetterman still speaks haltingly and relies on closed captioning to fully understand his conversation partners," it adds of the ongoing trouble Fetterman is having when it comes to projecting the persona of a fighter his campaign has tried to construct.
Fetterman's campaign continues to promise that their candidate will make a full recovery before November's general election and January's start of the new Congress — but that campaign has failed to provide enough basis supporting promises of such a rebound and hasn't proven itself to be adequately transparent.
Earlier in the general election campaign, Townhall also noted that even Democrats in Pennsylvania were starting to sweat over their nominee's condition: "some of Fetterman’s fellow Democrats say they are worried both about his health and what they describe as a lack of transparency from his team about just what happened when he was hospitalized last month."
The Post-Gazette pointed to the previously over-hyped expectations set by Fetterman's campaign, calling the latest promises of full recovery "hopeful and laudable" while also noting that "stroke recovery is notoriously unpredictable."
Real Clear Politics currently has the U.S. Senate race in Pennsylvania rated as a "toss up" while their polling average for the race shows Fetterman, despite the questions of fitness swirling around him, with a 6.5-point lead over Oz.