This editor watched the Pennsylvania Senate debate between Dr. Mehmet Oz and John Fetterman last night in its excruciating entirety. He’s not crazy about Oz being the Republican candidate, but no, Oz did not present “a masterclass on how to bully people with disabilities.” It was actually one of the nicest debates we’ve seen recently: the candidates kept to their time limits for the most part and didn’t interrupt each other (with one big Fetterman exception). But there were a couple of times when Fetterman just froze up after a question — those seconds seemed to drag on forever. Fetterman had the questions close-captioned, so it’s not like he didn’t hear them. He just had no answer.
The narrative has been forming that 1) yes, Fetterman is disabled, and 2) it takes great bravery to put yourself out there with a disability. Phil Kerpen nails it:
Fetterfans cannot defend his nonexistent qualifications, lifetime on familial welfare, fake persona, or wildly changing policy positions. Their argument is down to: vote for him *because* he had a stroke.
— Phil Kerpen (@kerpen) October 26, 2022
That’s really what it’s come down to. Seyward Darby (she/her) is editor-in-chief of Atavist, and reminded us all the morning after the debate that “ableism is a key component of fascism.”
Good morning. Just a little reminder that ableism is a key component of fascism. See: eugenics.
— Seyward Darby (@seywarddarby) October 26, 2022
Every accommodation was made for Fetterman. His campaign agreed to a debate but asked that the questions be close captioned, which they were. The Oz campaign had no objection to it. Was it fascist to make Fetterman answer questions about his flip-flop on fracking? What does this mean?
Oh, and Darby limited replies.
It’s ableist to refuse boarding a plane with an unqualified pilot.
— Finn (@JohnFinnCaudill) October 26, 2022
Not voting for a vegetable is fascism. https://t.co/TPNpfVIMWg
— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) October 26, 2022
If you want your Senator to be able to form a sentence, you’re just like HITLER guys https://t.co/GqEtiN4tEV
— Inez Stepman ⚪️🔴⚪️ (@InezFeltscher) October 26, 2022
You know who else didn't want people who can't speak or understand words running their country?
— Auron MacIntyre (@AuronMacintyre) October 26, 2022
Expect more of this. Basic standards and competence, in anything, becomes "fascism." Progressives seem resigned to the fact that they can't actually accomplish anything productive or good, so now the dialogue has shifted so that it's fascist to want anything productive or good. https://t.co/k3jhycsNjx
— James Kirkpatrick (@VDAREJamesK) October 26, 2022
There’s no such thing as “ableism”. FFS, stop it. And the other people who have been big on Eugenics are Progressives. You know: the people who figure aborting Downs Syndrome babies is a good thing. https://t.co/SXpCp3p2Ka
— Mark Noonan (@Mark_E_Noonan) October 26, 2022
— Carl Gottlieb (@c_cgottlieb) October 26, 2022
Vote for a stroke victim, fascist! https://t.co/dSphDaHer0
— Katya Sedgwick (@KatyaSedgwick) October 26, 2022
Pointing out the reality that someone has brain damage from a stroke is not fascism or eugenics, dipshit. The reality is he has no business running for or being elected to a job he is not capable of doing. This is abuse by his wife and everybody around him pushing him to do this. https://t.co/POxoDkDKyZ
— Joe (@JoeC1776) October 26, 2022
New rules just dropped: If you don’t vote for an addled caveman, you’re a fascist now. https://t.co/V7soo7m3G3
— KingDomRedux (@KingDomRedux) October 26, 2022
Replies are locked, but I am against ableism. Also, Fetterman is a terrible candidate and failed at his debate https://t.co/5R3GJMd8Hw
— Internet News Agency (@InternetNewsAg2) October 26, 2022
I am disabled. Stop using us as your political props. Discrimination against qualified disabled people is wrong, but #Fetterman is not qualified for the job of a senator
Denying reality is also a key component of fascism https://t.co/BvdArvH4ID
— (((Aaron Walker))) (@AaronWorthing) October 26, 2022
Fetterman has limitations that have been brought on by a stroke. Accommodations were made to level the playing field during the debate. Fetterman could have refused if he thought conditions were unfair to someone with his disability. And as we reported, the media spent the whole day beforehand lowering expectations, which sounds pretty ableist.
Speaking of the word “fascist”:
Shocking: MSNBC has used the words "fascist" or "fascism" 1,614 times from January 1 to October 23, 2022. And it's not stopping any time soon.https://t.co/dBsR3PUaJq
— NewsBusters (@newsbusters) October 26, 2022
Lib journos defending John Fetterman from ableist bullies are too far gone to realize that *they’re* the ableist bullies they claim to hate https://t.co/TaKJOqQOdK
— Twitchy Team (@TwitchyTeam) October 26, 2022