Pennsylvania’s Wild Week Of Politics

Protestors on Penn State’s campus sending a message to the Proud Boys – leave.

Quite a week of politics here in Pennsylvania. I hope nothing else happens right after I publish this. It’s really been that sort of week here in the Keystone State.

I mean, originally I was going to write about two things. Then, it became clear that I need to write about three things, based on a few things that happened today. I better get this written before I am writing about four, or five things.

Anyway, I’ll lead off with the comedy event scheduled to happen on Penn State’s main campus on Monday. Right near where my office is, in fact. The, um, comedy event featured Gavin McInnes, founder of hate group the Proud Boys, and right-wing YouTube dipshit and admitted big troll, Alex Stein.

Penn State allowed this event to go on, despite a lot of pushback from students. The previous president did not allow Richard Spencer to speak, declaring the event a serious risk to the community due to the threat of violence. Not sure why that was not the case with this event.

Needless to say, things did not end well. Stein, because he is a self-identified troll, went into the crowd of counterprotestors to antagonize before the event began. And then one of the Proud Boys pepper sprayed the protesters and several police. This resulted in Penn State canceling their comedy show.

Fortunately, there was little damage and few injuries. Penn State released a statement soon after the cancellation that was New York Times-level of both-siderism. Despite multiple videos of the Proud Boys initiating the violence by pepper spraying the crowd, Penn State also blamed the counterprotestors. This did not make many people on campus very happy, and I was not very happy about it either.

The problem with both-siding these kind of events out of some sort of misguided ideal of fairness is that it only ends up enabling the right-wingers who put on these events to foment violence and hate. To many of us, it seems like our elite institutions from the media to world-class universities like Penn State fail us  in these moments by attempting to equate the people protesting hate with the people spreading hate.

Then Tuesday night, the Pennsylvania senatel debate happened between John Fetterman and Shady Supplement Slinger Dr. Oz. This race is extremely tight, and a lot was at stake. Fetterman obviously is still feeling the affects of his stroke. He had some difficult moments. This led to a lot of speculation about whether he was mentally and physically up for the job. But his doctor has already released a letter this month stating that his recovery is going well and he continues to improve.

The media coverage of the debate, as my friend Bob pointed out, gave the impression that Fetterman debated his stroke, and not Oz. Lots of frankly ableist commentary and reporting from armchair docs who wonder whether Fetterman will recover, based I guess on nothing but vibes, and comparably little about how Oz ducked many of the questions and this bizarre view of abortion rights.

There was a new poll today from Insider Advantage that went from even in the last poll prior to the debate to Oz +3 after the debate, but that was Fetterman’s worst poll to begin with. I think it is difficult to say what will happen in this race other than it will likely be very close and there’s a good chance we won’t know the winner on Election Night. I suppose it depends on whether people understand that Fetterman is recovering and view him as brave and Oz as sort of crass for his reaction to Fetterman’s gaffes, or whether they think his stroke damage is permanent. But right now, the race looks very close.

That brings me to the last bit of Pennsylvania-related election news. And that is Trump is planning to use Philadelphia as a testing ground for his election-stealing plans in 2024.

The Fetterman/Oz race looks to be ground zero for this garbage but what is rather disconcerting is how many prominent Republicans seem to be fanning the flames of this effort.

The Republican candidate in that other Pennsylvania race, for governor, weighed in as well:

Yes, quite a week here in the Commonwealth. I’ll let Philadelphia’s own G-Love have the last word, because we need a happy last word.