John Fetterman very well may lose this election, but it will not be because of his painfully doddering, incoherent and downright senile performance during this week’s debate. He will lose this election because during his entire political career, Mr. Fetterman has been pro-crime and anti-economy — which has fallen starkly out of favor among voters this year.
If anything, the debate Tuesday night helped Mr. Fetterman. It proved to Pennsylvania voters that if Mr. Fetterman belongs anywhere, it is in the U.S. Senate.
“Hi. Good night, everybody,” he announced at the start of the debate, aided by an extraordinary closed-captioning system to help him understand what everybody was saying.
Once called “the world’s greatest deliberative body,” the U.S. Senate has become the world’s most exclusive memory care facility for the aged and infirm. It is a retirement home for the wealthy and politically connected.
It is a sparkling-clean building with tall ceilings, bright rooms and inspiring views. There is not a bad window in the place.
The lawns outside feature large trees that sometimes have to be moved to make way for facility improvements. The building, grounds and maintenance budget is — literally — limitless. Whenever they run out of money, they just print more.
“I, I, I do support fracking and I don’t. I don’t,” Mr. Fetterman explained, causing his closed-captioning system to start smoldering. “I support fracking. And I stand. And I do support fracking.”
The hallways of the Senate are wide enough to accommodate just this kind of logical maneuvering in any size mental wheelchair. These halls are forever clicking with activity. The colorful, waxed floor tiles dazzle the eye. Never a bulb burned out in any of the opulent crystal chandeliers.
Marble walls, exquisite artwork and carved statues bring a touch of home, no matter where you’re from.
Mr. Fetterman can discuss all his upcoming votes with the statues of Benjamin Franklin and other dead Pennsylvania luminaries tucked in quiet corners of the Capitol. On-staff stonemasons and master carpenters are there for your every need. They build all the mahogany furniture from scratch.
“You roll with Doug Mastriano!” Mr. Fetterman blurted out.
One of the most popular aspects of this long-term care facility is the endless array of senior activities for residents, who are divided into teams. In addition to team lunches every Tuesday, residents are treated to a daily media circus featuring shouting clowns, fact-jugglers and outside visitors who bring large checks in exchange for a moment of their time.
Inside the chamber, residents conduct speech contests in which they see who can orate the longest without having to use the bathroom.
Really, the Senate may be the only place for Mr. Fetterman. He certainly could not hold a real job or any actual responsibilities.
Security here is the best in the world — except, of course, for planned riots or other staged protests designed to curry political sympathy for the residents.
Armed orderlies and cameras everywhere keep an eye on your loved one at all times — no matter how far gone they may be. Neither Mr. Fetterman nor his neck goiter would go missing from this place.
This is why so many residents stay at this facility for so long and never leave for the poor house.
When Strom Thurmond — at the age of 100 — was not flirting with elevator attendants or fire hydrants outside — or pumping pushups in the hallway to display his robust physical fitness — he would get wheeled into the chamber by a most trusted aide.
Thurmond’s turtle eyes gazed at apparitions in the well of the Senate while his parliamentary nurse alertly surveyed the floor action and always made sure Thurmond voted — and voted the right way. It’s a little like having a closed-captioning system during a debate.
John Fetterman would fit right in.
In fact, the only facility in America more perfectly suited for the aged, senile and incoherent is the White House, which currently houses two of the most advanced patients from the U.S. Senate.
White House staff took Vice President Kamala Harris on a day trip to Seattle this week, one of the many senior activities offered. There she saw a yellow school bus.
“Who doesn’t love a yellow school bus, right?” she squealed.
“Can you raise your hand if you love a yellow school bus? Many of us went to school on the yellow school bus, right? It’s part of our experience growing up. It’s part of a nostalgia, a memory of the excitement and joy of going to school to be with your favorite teacher, to be with your best friends and to learn. The school bus takes us there!” [Editor’s note: This is an exact quote. Please do not correct for sanity.]
And then there is the other patient in the White House. Dear Lord.
Let’s just say this. The other one is so far gone that they hired a giant Easter Bunny to lead him around and keep him out of trouble.
Come to think of it, maybe John Fetterman doesn’t belong in the U.S. Senate. He belongs in the White House.
Fetterman 2024. You could do worse.
• Charles Hurt is opinion editor at The Washington Times.