John Fetterman and the Hard Bigotry of Low Expectations - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
John Fetterman and the Hard Bigotry of Low Expectations
Senate candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz on “Hannity” (DoctorOz/YouTube)

As Pennsylvanians prepare to vote tomorrow in the contentious Senate race between Republican Dr. Mehmet Oz and Democrat John Fetterman, voters will render judgment on each candidate’s position on drugs, crime, and safety. As with the other issues of concern this year, the contrasts between Oz and Fetterman on drugs and crime could not be more stark.

Last week, after lunch at a restaurant near Pittsburgh’s Duquesne University, I walked through a part of the nearby Uptown neighborhood. Given the hour, the street was relatively deserted, making it all but impossible to miss the motionless young woman doubled over on the sidewalk ahead of me. I bent over and asked loudly if she was okay. She did not respond. I waived over a neighborhood resident to see if he might know her. He was able to awaken her briefly before she passed out again and paramedics were called. Given the fentanyl crisis in our nation, it would not surprise me if the woman was experiencing an overdose.

A similar bigotry is evident in those who believe that we cannot overcome the societal challenges we face and that the answer is to legalize drugs, empty prisons, and degrade law enforcement.

Scenes like this are all too common throughout Pennsylvania. For well over a decade, families and communities across the state have been hard hit with fentanyl and heroin. The drug crisis is part of the crime crisis gripping our nation. Yet many in government, and even more running for office, have given up on actually solving these twin crises. Instead, so-called progressives are advocating for the decriminalization of hardcore drugs, cashless bail, the release of prisoners, and the defunding of police. Fetterman is one of those misguided politicians.

Fetterman is not the only high-profile Pennsylvania Democrat leader whose record on crime and drugs fails under scrutiny. Pennsylvania’s other top elected Democrat executives, Gov. Tom Wolf and Attorney General Josh Shapiro (who is running to replace the term-limited Wolf as governor), have completely failed the state when it comes to crime.

Over the past six years, there have been nearly 2,500 murders in Philadelphia, our nation’s first great city. Part of the problem there is a soft-on-crime Democrat district attorney whose nonfeasance includes not prosecuting gun crimes. Things in Philadelphia deteriorated so badly that the state’s legislature passed a law authorizing the attorney general to take up the gun cases that the Philly district attorney refused. Shapiro rejected the grant of authority and is hoping that crime-wary voters ignore that dereliction.

In addition to a record murder rate, Philadelphia is also seeing a dramatic increase in carjackings, with even a Pennsylvania congresswoman being carjacked at gunpoint in the middle of the afternoon. And, as already mentioned, it’s not just murders and carjackings but illegal drugs as well. On this point, Pennsylvania’s Democratic leadership’s weakness on crime is compounded by President Joe Biden’s porous border, which is allowing the murderous Mexican drug cartels to pump record amounts of the fentanyl poison onto our streets. The result? Pennsylvania is now third in the nation in drug-overdose deaths.

So while Fetterman and progressives crusade for laxity in drug laws, so-called “safe injection sites,” and social workers replacing police, Pennsylvania’s Republican candidate for Senate offers another path. Given his background, Oz is uniquely qualified to lead the state, Senate, and nation in taking on the drug and crime crisis. Oz, a physician and gifted communicator, demonstrated those qualities in a recent visit to what is possibly the nation’s largest open-air drug market in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia. Ironically, Kensington is barely five miles from where the founders of our nation signed on to a vision that grounded a new nation in the principles of self-rule, God-given equality, and God-given inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I can confidently state that the dystopian tragedy of Kensington is not what Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin had in mind that July afternoon at Independence Hall.

Years ago, President George W. Bush described what he called a “soft bigotry of low expectations,” in the context of those who did not believe that all students were capable of academic achievement. A similar bigotry is evident in those who believe that we cannot overcome the societal challenges we face and that the answer is to legalize drugs, empty prisons, and degrade law enforcement. Unlike Bush, however, I no longer think this is a soft bigotry. It is a hard bigotry, and it is destroying lives.

Oz’s visit to Kensington offers a glimmer of a better future. In his recent tour there, Oz surveyed the damage being done to the community and businesses by the drug trade. More importantly, he directly engaged with those struggling with addiction and personally transported four individuals to a detox facility. Those four individuals are fellow American citizens, looking to be set free. So, while Fetterman offers “safe injection sites” as treatment, the good Dr. Oz is getting these folks to the treatment they need.

In four short years, Philadelphia and the nation will observe the 250th anniversary of the signing of our Declaration of Independence at Independence Hall. In anticipation of our nation’s 250th birthday, we need to elect a new generation of leaders, including Oz for senator and Sen. Doug Mastriano for governor, who will work together to fix the crime and murder tragedy taking place not only in Philadelphia but across our entire state. What a celebration we can then have in 2026, in a cleaner, safer, and freer Philadelphia.

Keith Rothfus represented Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional District between 2013 and 2019. He currently is an attorney living in Allegheny County.

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