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The plot of the 1989 black comedy “Weekend at Bernie’s” involves two company employees who were invited to their boss’s vacation home for a weekend, only to find when they got there that he (Bernie) had been murdered. Nonetheless, they take Bernie’s corpse with them wherever they go to give the appearance he is still alive, hoping to flush out the killer.
Reflecting upon the current situation of Sen. John Fetterman, D-Pa., one is reminded of this film by the recent antics of the senator’s staff. While Fetterman is still among the living, reports are that he has been physically and mentally sidelined by the impact of a pre-election (May 2022) stroke he suffered, combined with a diagnosis of severe depression – so much so that he remains hospitalized and is to receive inpatient care for “a few weeks.” Added to his medical problems most recently is a diagnosis of shingles.
Yet, despite Fetterman’s possible inability to function either physically or mentally to perform the responsibilities of the office to which he was elected, his staff – much like Bernie’s two employees – have been giving Pennsylvania voters the appearance that Fetterman is an active, functioning member of the U.S. Senate. It is amazing what an incapacitated Fetterman has been able to do, according to his office.
In the aftermath of the East Palestine, Ohio, train wreck and the environmental damage it has wrought, Democrats’ legislative efforts seek to introduce a new framework to enhance train safety. Fetterman’s office reported their senator was joining this effort and would co-sign the legislation. This, despite the fact Fetterman purportedly is unable to comprehend much of anything at this time.
According to Matt Vespa in Townhall, Fetterman’s doctor’s notes, “some of which were drafted by campaign donors … were rendered worthless when reports trickled out that he blew a fuse during a party retreat” in February, resulting in his being rushed to a hospital. The public has yet to see the senator’s medical records, while his staff deflects inquiries about his ability to consider such legislation. CNN reported that Fetterman’s stay at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center may be as long as a month and that he is unable to even care for himself. In addition to the railway safety legislation, we are told Fetterman is cosponsoring five other bills.
Questions remain over whether Fetterman has suffered brain damage. The situation is serious enough that Republicans now are demanding the senator appear on camera to prove he is still “alive and well” or resign if he is unable to do so. Perhaps prompted by this demand, his office did release a photo of Fetterman sitting in a chair in his hospital room, holding a paper he was supposedly reading. Of course, that photograph really fails to tell us anything about his physical or mental capacities as it could just as well have been staged.
There are apparently several other pieces of legislation Fetterman is said to be working on, but without being able to question him about those bills, we have no idea how much he really comprehends about them. It is doubtful someone hospitalized for severe depression is even capable of performing the duties of a U.S. senator. Therefore, we may well have a situation in which unelected staff members from Fetterman’s office are making decisions for him.
Although Fetterman’s physician, Clifford Chen, examined him prior to the election and reported he was perfectly fine, the senator’s chief of staff, Adam Jentleson, fears due to the stress of the campaign his boss may have suffered permanent brain damage.
Democrats were quick to jump all over Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., after he was elected on the basis of numerous fabrications about his background. While Santos has proven he did not need the benefit of political experience to be able to deceive voters, what he did by intentionally misrepresenting his credentials was unethical – for which he should be forced to resign.
However, what Democrats who worked closely with Fetterman both before and after his election did in misrepresenting that he was fit for office was also highly unethical. It tells us these Democrats cherished power more than acting in the best interests of the country. As a result, there are those in Fetterman’s office who are standing in his shoes to move the Democratic Party agenda forward under his name, while lacking any authority to do so.
Both in “Weekend at Bernie’s” and in Fetterman’s office, efforts were made by the main characters to be deceitful. In the former case, it was funny – a product of Hollywood’s outrageous creativity; in the latter, at a time Russia, China, Iran and North Korea threaten us and an alert U.S. leadership must be ready to act quickly, it is not.
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