John Fetterman Can Do the Job

I’m saying John Fetterman can do the job in the Senate. I never met the man, but he was on television a bit last night and was holding his own. His one lingering problem, which he is very open about, is that his brain has trouble processing what people tell him. So he uses a close-caption machine that captions other peoples’ speech, and he reads what they’re saying to him, and responds.

That may sound a bit weird, but after having had a TIA (transient ischemic attack) last spring I can kind of appreciate what Fetterman is going through. We both had blood clots in our brains. Mine broke up after about 40 minutes, give or take, and then I was okay. But during those 40 minutes my brain was not processing sensory input the way it usually did. Things didn’t look right. It wasn’t that my vision was blurry. I could see things, but they didn’t look familiar. At one point I was trying to find my phone so I could call 911, and I knew exactly where the phone was because it was being charged. I had it plugged into the same power strip my laptop was plugged into. But when I tried to find it I couldn’t recognize it. I was lucky I could find a land line phone and could dial 911.

Modern neuroscientists explain that the thing around us we call “reality” is really a kind of collaboration between external stimuli and our nervous systems. Stimuli enter through our eyes and ears, but it’s our brains that create the experience of sight and sound. This is how our brains evolved to navigate the world. Our brains are creating colors and depth perception and the way things sound. So if some neurons somewhere start misfiring, the brain can’t replicate reality the way it did before. This is basically how psychedelic drugs work also.

In Fetterman’s case, his auditory processing problem doesn’t mean he can’t think and reason as he did before. It’s interesting to me that he can understand what he reads even if he can’t understand the same thing spoken to him. But he has a work-around for this, and the problem may correct itself eventually.

Do read The Vulnerability of John Fetterman by Rebecca Traister at New York Magazine. She has been covering his campaign and has seen big improvements in his functionality.

As summer turned to fall, Fetterman returned to the trail in person, powering through his convalescence at rallies and via television and newspaper interviews, his physical condition visibly improving. “Standing up in front of 3,000 people and having to talk without a teleprompter or anything? That is the most pure example of transparency there is,” he told me. …

… Tucker Carlson said that Fetterman is “brain damaged” and “can barely speak,” and has joked about his “stupid little fake tattoos,” comparing him to a “barista in Brooklyn dressing like a lumberjack.”

Do you want to talk brain damaged? Herschel Walker almost certainly has some degree of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). Nearly all men who have played professional football do, it says here. I’ve seen no discussion of that anywhere, in spite of the obvious fact that Walker is dumb as a sock. Yet yesterday Charlie Cooke wrote at National Review that “Like it or not, voters are going to discuss Fetterman’s condition, and trying to browbeat them into silence won’t work.” I am not seeing anybody being browbeaten into silence about John Fetterman’s condition. What the bleep are these people going on about?

Recovering from a stroke takes some time, and Fetterman has had to do it while running for Senate. How many people could stand up to that?

See also Senators Who Have Had Strokes Say John Fetterman Can Do The Job.

John Fetterman’s gradual recovery from a stroke has become a Republican attack point in the Pennsylvania U.S. Senate race, but two senators who recently suffered strokes said Fetterman’s health shouldn’t be an issue.

Like Fetterman, Sens. Ben Ray Lujan (D-N.M.) and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) had strokes this year, but both returned to work and have been doing their jobs. They said Fetterman would be able to do the job, too.

“We’re walking around, we’re having conversations, we’re talking to people, we’re engaged,” Lujan told HuffPost on Wednesday. “Cognitive ability is strong. And so I’m confident of the work that John Fetterman will do when he’s elected U.S. senator.”

Strokes are caused by a lot of different things, and I am not a physician. Fetterman’s doctors have said they believe he will make a full recovery, and I see no reason to doubt that.