Pennsylvania is a purplish state with an open senate seat coming up in 2022, a “must-have” for both parties.
One party, however, the GOP can’t seem to get out of the sand to start the race. According to an article in today’s Politico, state Senator Sean Parnell, the party’s “leading candidate” (Trump endorsed) is in a high-profile child custody case and has been accused of domestic violence by his estranged wife. Not ideal.
“It’s ripe for somebody to parachute in and take it,” according to the former chair of the Pennsylvania Republican Party, Rob Gleason.
Entering into this fray, the carpet-bagging, once-respected – but now quacking duck, television doc, “Dr. Oz.”
From the Democratic perspective, Oz is clearly just what the doctor ordered as a fix for a party that simply refuses to get serious; They offer yet another semi-celebrity known for selling snake oil, and a rookie with respect to all things political, running for a seat from a major state, one that Republicans consider a must pick-up. This is exactly what one should come to expect now from a party that simply refuses to get serious, even in a must-win state:
The contest is critical for Republicans: They must hold onto the seat being vacated by Sen. Pat Toomey to take back control of the chamber, and in theory, they should be able to. Inflation is high, President Joe Biden’s approval rating is sagging and the party flipped Democratic seats in this month’s elections, including in critical battleground suburbs. A net gain of just one Senate seat would put the GOP in charge.
Not the scenario where one wants their hopes riding on a political novice, a carpetbagger, and a controversial one at that. Ordinarily, the Republicans could rely upon Trump and the fact that Trump backs Parnell, but Republicans fear a backlash (rightly) against a man accused of striking his child.
The weak “leader” created a churn of semi-viable candidates, which allowed Oz to jump, fitting an increasingly established pattern. (Trump himself,, “Dr. Ronny Jackson, “Sen Coach TommyTubberville”), someone with a name and bombastic attitude, no political experience, but an ability to sell whatever it is MAGAs supporters want that day.
Oz speaks the language in that he’s used to quick, easy, cliche fixes to intractable issues, whether in medicine or politics, two disciplines he has been mixing for some time. But he is hardly welcome by experienced party pols:
“I don’t know a single politically involved person in Pennsylvania who’s not being paid who wants to be involved in this effort,” said a Pennsylvania Republican strategist, adding that the “pretty much universal response has been ‘LOL.’” “There’s no one who thinks the solution to the Sean Parnell issue is Dr. Oz.”
Yes, except that is precisely the MAGA-GOP’s problem. They now attract a crowd that expects the semi-conspiracy theory, science-doubting, overly confident, over-promising/under-delivering type. In this sense, Dr. Oz is the perfect fit in a culture that Trump and the rest of them knowingly and intentionally built.
And that is exactly why the GOP is worried. Oz is also the perfect fit to get beat by a political pro who knows how to define issues that people care about and address them coherently. Now, if the Democrats could only find one of those…
Jason Miciak is a political writer, features writer, author, and attorney. He is originally from Canada but grew up in the Pacific Northwest as a dual Canadian-American citizen, which he grows increasingly thankful for every day. He now enjoys life as a single dad, writing from the beaches of the Gulf Coast, getting advice from his beloved daughter and teammate. He is very much the dreamy mystic that cannot add and loves dogs more than most people. He also likes studying cooking, theoretical physics, cosmology, and quantum mechanics. He likes pizza.
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