To say that Mehmet Oz is a political neophyte is akin to saying that Donald Trump is no heart surgeon. The wealthy television doctor from New Jersey has yet to articulate a real reason why he’s even interested in being a U.S. Senator other than his ego seems to demand it, Oz looks completely out of place in his stupid shotgun ads, finds himself out of place while filming ads in New Jersey (As reported here yesterday), and now, to the fury of Pennsylvanian local GOP bosses, the people that make campaigns “go,” Oz has gone “dark” in their words, with few ads and even fewer campaign events, and very little communication.
This, of course, is happening during that crucial time period when a politician new to the scene would be “introducing herself” or defining himself to the state. To make it even worse, Oz has gone to ground during a period when his popular competitor, Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, must still deal with hazy questions about his health after a stroke in the Spring. In short, to GOP activists on the ground in Pennsylvania, it appears Oz is doing all he can to give the seat away and it has the locals furious:
“This is not the general election kickoff in a pivotal Senate race that Republicans were hoping for,” Politico reports, as Lt. Governor John Fetterman, who won the Democratic nomination for that Senate seat, “burnishes his brand on TV as a political outsider, and paints Oz as a carpetbagger from New Jersey.”
Dr. Oz “came in a distant third in my county, so I called them up and said, ‘You need to talk to our people to change their mind and our mind and I’ll help you do that,’” Huntingdon County Republican Party chair Arnie McClure told Politico. “And I don’t even hear back. What the hell?”
The GOP chair is shocked that he’s not hearing back from a doctor’s office? Rather naive. To be fair, the real political pros in Pennsylvania wanted nothing to do with Oz and now they’re trying to do their best with this heaping pile that Trump set on their plate. They have a heavy lift because despite Biden’s heavy negatives, and despite concerns about Fetterman’s health, Fetterman is popular enough to overcome both and win an absolutely crucial seat this fall, a Democratic pick-up.
Additionally, Oz faces some serious headwinds even without the campaign’s troubles:
“Oz’s unfavorable rating is 50 percent, while 28 percent view him favorably, according to the Suffolk poll. Fetterman’s favorable-unfavorable rating, by contrast, is 45-27. The same survey showed Fetterman ahead of Oz in a head-to-head race by nine points.”
A regular politician reads the above and realizes that he or she has to get a lot of genuine ads out and get himself out to events in the red parts of the state and attempt to get people to like him, something that is beyond the imagination of most surgeons, never mind television stars. Surgeons – rightly – expect to be “liked” and respected by people who wake up with the problem corrected and a good prognosis.
Oz doesn’t realize that in politics the campaign itself is the operation. The election itself? That’s when the patient wakes up, or not.
Jason Miciak believes a day without learning is a day not lived. He is a political writer, features writer, author, and attorney. He is a Canadian-born dual citizen who spent his teen and college years in the Pacific Northwest and has since lived in seven states. He now enjoys life as a single dad of a young girl, writing from the beaches of the Gulf Coast. He loves crafting his flower pots, cooking, while also studying scientific philosophy, religion, and non-math principles behind quantum mechanics and cosmology. Please feel free to contact for speaking engagements or any concerns.