Dr. Oz, Working Class Common Man Of The People In Expensive Tailored Turkish Suits
Republican Dr. Mehmet Oz consistently lags behind Democrat John Fetterman in Pennsylvania Senate polls. Dr. Oz has less than two months to change the dynamic of the race, and it seems like he’s making a last ditch effort at attacking Fetterman’s obvious strengths. That’s better than making fun of him for having a stroke. The Oz campaign has finally found its footing.
Dr. Oz has called out Fetterman as a phony who just pretends he’s a hoodie-wearing average Joe. On the campaign trail, Dr. Oz has repeatedly referred to Fetterman's fashion "brand," as if the way he dresses is calculated and contrived. I think the average Pennsylvania voter assumes Fetterman wears hoodies because they’re comfortable. He’s also a big guy, and it’s probably hard finding suits that fit. We can’t imagine that Fetterman goes home after a busy day, takes off his sweatshirt, and slips into a dinner jacket. “The rubes can’t see me. I can finally relax!”
The Oz campaign is trying to paint Fetterman as a trust fund baby who relies on his parents to survive. He’s like a member of the Royal Family, but in a hoodie and able to command a pen. Fetterman has acknowledged that he grew up in a "cushy" suburban environment and received financial help from his parents, but he never claimed he lived in the Dust Bowl. He's not a deadbeat, either. He’s worked most of his life, including 13 years as mayor of Braddock, Pennsylvania, which paid just $150 a month. A career in public service is hardly lucrative, unlike selling snake oil or pitching sex robots on daytime TV.
Laughably,Dr. Oz from "The Dr. Oz Show" suggests that Fetterman doesn’t truly know what it’s like to “struggle” and is out touch “with the reality of what it’s like to work in Pennsylvania.” He’s not a real populist … like Dr. Oz. Hmm, upon reflection, maybe his campaign should’ve gone with “Fetterman is secretly a robot.” Dr. Oz is definitely not a robot or at least no one can prove he is. He’s got that covered.
It’s especially absurd whenever Dr. Oz talks about working in Pennsylvania, as if the pride of New Jersey has spent much time at a steel mill or even inside an actual Pennsylvania supermarket. Dr. Oz isn’t just rich. He’s showbiz wealthy and has strutted his stuff at assorted red carpets over the years.
Back in 2016, a paparazzo outside of Hollywood's ArcLight Theatre gushed over how well-fitting Dr. Oz’s suits were.
PAPARAZZO: My question to you, Doc, is your suits look so fitted and so forth, man. I mean, what's going on here?
OZ: So the guy I use is a Turkish tailor, and he uses Zegna fabrics but he makes all of his suits in Turkey. You know, most of the suits you see in France, a lot of them are made in Turkey.
PAPARAZZO: Wow. So he's making suits from Turkey for Turkey.
It is a nice suit. We’re fair and balanced about fashion here. I'd wear the fuck out of that suit.
In a 2012 US Weekly article, Oz is described as a “Cleveland, Ohio native, who's lived and worked in the NYC area for the past 26 years.” He said his go-to designers include Zegna and Hugo Boss. We imagine more Pennsylvania voters sleep in their parents’ basements than have “go-to designers.” Maybe Oz’s campaign advisers steered him wrong on this one. Sure, Robert De Niro wears Zegna, but Oz shouldn’t count on his endorsement.
At recent campaign event, Dr. Oz blasted Fetterman as "someone who, contrary to the brand and the hoodie and shorts, he's never, that we know of, worked a full time private sector job. Never worked in the private sector, you don't understand the machinery of American business. You don't know what it's like to sign in front of a check. Right? What it's like to actually have to fire people and hire people and make payroll, right?"
Dr. Oz keeps talking about Fetterman’s “brand” as a way to make his opponent seem less authentic, but it sounds way too Hollywood, like he's some slick TV producer. He also mistakenly equates working in the private sector with at least mid-level management. Many of the voters who will help send Fetterman to the Senate have never hired and fired people or managed payroll.
[Fetterman} was raised by affluent parents, to my, to our knowledge, who paid for everything, who fund a lot of his ideas. That's why he's not in touch with the reality of what it's like to work in Pennsylvania. And that's why he's the wrong person to represent us.
Fetterman's family owned an insurance company in York, but they are probably nowhere near Dr. Oz's tax bracket. Fetterman chose not to take over his family business and instead joined the AmeriCorps. He helped run a GED-prep program in Pittsburgh. He founded the non-profit organization Braddock Redux. He's not leeched off his parents. He's leveraged his privilege to help others who are less fortunate.
Meanwhile, Dr. Oz — who once literally spent $5,000 on salmon at an upscale California farmer's market — basks in his privilege and has used his wealth and fame for his own self-aggrandizement. Fortunately, Pennsylvania voters don't seem confused about which candidate truly represents their interests.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. Once, he wrote a novel called “Mahogany Slade,” which you should read or at least buy. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."