The more Fetterman recovers, the less he’s with the left

It’s time for me to do something that pundits seldom do: Flat out admit I was wrong. 

This is a rarity in the commentating world. But boy, was I.

Here goes: I was wrong about Sen. John Fetterman. 

Writing in The Post on Valentine’s Day in 2023, I opined that Pennsylvania’s new US Senator lacked the mental and physical abilities needed to serve.

According to reports, he couldn’t understand voices, had trouble walking and generally wasn’t up to the job.

The mainstream press rallied to protect him (there was a D next to his name, after all), but even a New York Times puff piece admitted that to Fetterman, voices sounded like the adults in the “Peanuts” cartoons — indecipherable noise — and that his health problems had left him with “physical impairment and serious mental health challenges.”

But that was a rare concession. After NBC’s Dasha Burns interviewed him both live and on camera, she said Fetterman didn’t seem to be able to follow their conversation. 

That revelation got Burns dogpiled by lefty activists and fellow journalists (to the extent there’s a difference nowadays) amid charges of “ableism” and the like. She was denounced on the air by her own network’s Savannah Guthrie and in the pages of the Times.

From all this, I concluded that Fetterman was just going to be a party tool — shepherded around by his staff, told how to vote by handlers, an institutionally pliable vote for the Democratic Party and the leftist activists who control it. 

Basically, a Senate voting machine programmed by the apparatchiks.

Again: Boy, was I wrong.

Fetterman’s health has improved more and faster than expected, and in what may not be a coincidence, the more his brain damage recedes the less he agrees with lefty activists and the Democratic Party’s functionaries.

Speaking at Yeshiva University’s commencement, Fetterman dramatically stripped off his Harvard hood and announced he was “profoundly disappointed” at his alma mater’s refusal to address the antisemitism rampant on its campus, a discontent he extended to the entire antisemitism-enabling Ivy League.

Quoth Fetterman: “As an alum of Harvard — look, I graduated 25 years ago, and of course, it was always a little pinko. But now, I don’t recognize it.”

“The Jewish community everywhere deserves our support,” he added. “And I promise you will always have mine.”

That’s not all. When pro-Palestinian protesters showed up at the senator’s house (no dogpiling in his defense from lefty activists over this) and told him he had “nowhere to hide,” Fetterman defiantly got on his roof with an Israeli flag.

Nor is his off-script behavior limited to Israel. When an environmental activist buttonholed him in a Senate corridor to harangue him about his support for pipeline construction, he pulled out his phone and recorded video of himself mocking her. 

“I’ve talked to Republicans who were more friendly than that,” the activist sniffed afterward.

Fetterman has also broken with the Biden administration’s open-borders policy, taking a strong stand against illegal immigration.  

He’s also disagreed with the White House on energy policy, expressing support for pipelines and liquid natural gas exports.

He’s called Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey a “sleazeball.”

And he’s undercut the Democrats’ lawfare attack on Donald Trump by saying that even as a senator, “I’m not even exactly sure what his trials are about.”

Overall, the progressive press complains, he’s adopted a newly caustic style that doesn’t spare the sacred cows of the left.

This isn’t playing well with Democrats. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, whose verbal attacks on Republicans are famous, now calls Fetterman a “bully.” 

Fetterman seems unfazed. For the moment he’s still caucusing with the Democrats in the Senate, but there’s nothing to stop him from caucusing with the GOP if Democrats irritate him enough. 

With the Senate divided 51-49, that has to give Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) heartburn.

Is it just a coincidence that Fetterman’s views have shifted to the right as his brain has repaired itself?

I’m going to go out on a limb and say no.

Glenn Harlan Reynolds is a professor of law at the University of Tennessee and founder of the InstaPundit.com blog.

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