In the Emmy Award-winning TV show “Ted Lasso,” the title character, played by Jason Sudeikis, tells a team member who had a rough practice to be like a goldfish, because goldfish have a ten-second memory. 

There must be a lot of goldfish on the Philadelphia Inquirer’s editorial board.

Only one month ago, on Labor Day weekend, the Inquirer lamented the violence that took place all summer long in an editorial titled, “With 750 shootings since Memorial Day, Philadelphia records another summer of mayhem.”

There were more than 750 people shot in Philadelphia between Memorial Day and Labor Day, including more than 150 fatally.

The editorial noted:

  • Shootings occurred every day of the week…
  • …during all hours of the day — even in broad daylight.
  • No parts of the city were immune.

The list of victims includes:

Last week, Action News (ABC-6/Philadelphia) reported carjackings in Philadelphia doubled over the same period last year.

What took place in Philadelphia happened in most major cities nationwide. Almost all crime statistics are up significantly everywhere. 

Yet, one month before the midterm elections, the Inquirer’s opinion section has columns claiming Republican candidates are trying to scare voters. Maybe the Inquirer’s editorial board members are “like goldfish.” They forgot about the “summer of mayhem” they wrote about just a month ago.

Candidates, Republican or otherwise, need not “try to scare voters.” People are afraid because of the real increases in crime and lawlessness they see in news reports and witness firsthand.

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Polls conducted in August by the Pew Research Center and YouGov show that at least 60% of voters rank crime as a “very” or “extremely important” issue when deciding their votes in the midterm election, placing it in the top tier of concerns. 

A week or two back, there was talk that Republican “candidate quality” might prevent the GOP from retaking the U.S. Senate. Deficient candidates may still prove to hurt Republicans in states where they have legitimate pick-up opportunities. It is equally likely, however, that Democrat candidate quality could cost their party seats they thought they had a good chance of picking up.

Pennsylvania and Wisconsin represent two U.S. Senate seats where the polls showed the Democratic candidate holding respectable leads, but now have the Republican leading or within the margin of error.

After trailing most of the campaign in Wisconsin, incumbent Sen. Ron Johnson has opened a lead over challenger Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes.

In the bid to replace retiring Pennsylvania Sen. Pat Toomey, Lt. Governor John Fetterman once enjoyed a double-digit advantage over Dr. Mehmet Oz. The two are now in a statistical tie.

Barnes and Fetterman are both vulnerable to being seen as soft on crime. Barnes sponsored a bill to end cash bail. Wisconsin residents are familiar with the results of ending cash bail because their neighboring state, Illinois, moved to end the practice, following California and New York.

As Lt. Governor, Fetterman was the Chair of the Board of Pardons. In this role, he increased the number of recommendations for clemency and release of inmates serving life sentences. Fetterman also agreed with a corrections official that the prison population could be cut by a third with no harm to the public.

In his Sunday, Oct. 2 Inquirer column, Will Bunch attacks Republicans for campaigning on crime and singles out Oz and Johnson for noting their opponent’s records that have made Pennsylvanians and Wisconsinites less safe.

Bunch considers pointing out candidates’ records to be — what else? — racist. When all a critic has are charges of racism (or comparisons to Hitler and Nazis), they have run out of legitimate complaints, and their logic is faulty.

The Inquirer’s Labor Day editorial’s sub-headline read: “The most troubling aspect of the crisis? There appears to be no major new effort to combat the sharp rise in gun violence.”

Bunch writes that the GOP is “devoid of actual ideas.” Then he tells you the party’s ideas: “the Republicans aren’t offering solutions beyond the continued insanity of hiring more cops.” That would be a good start. There are many neighborhoods where an increased police presence would be welcome.

Fishtown just hired its own private security (“Fishtown hired private security. Too bad other neighborhoods can’t do the same.” — Philadelphia Inquirer, Sept. 20, 2022).

Fetterman demanded closed-captioning during the debate and two practice sessions in the studio ahead of time… Voters should keep in mind there is no closed-captioning system in the U.S. Senate. 

In Pennsylvania, Fetterman has an additional challenge: his health issues are creating doubt among Pennsylvania voters. Days before the Pennsylvania primary, when he received the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate, Fetterman had a stroke which he describes as “a near-death experience.” On the day of the primary, Fetterman underwent a procedure to have a pacemaker with a defibrillator implanted. 

Fetterman’s health issues caused him to miss weeks of campaigning. Initially, Fetterman would not agree to debate Oz. After receiving widespread criticism, including from the Washington Post, usually a dependable Democrat apologist, Fetterman agreed to one debate with Oz from a TV studio in Harrisburg, but with conditions. Fetterman demanded closed-captioning during the debate and two practice sessions in the studio ahead of time. The TV station granted these highly unusual requests. 

Voters should keep in mind there is no closed-captioning system in the U.S. Senate. 

Fetterman has not released his complete health records, something the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, his hometown newspaper, continues to demand.

One or two states will decide control of the Senate. Republicans must hold Pennsylvania and Wisconsin to have any chance of winning the Senate. Wisconsin is trending favorably for incumbent Ron Johnson. A couple weeks ago, Pennsylvania’s open seat looked like a takeaway for Democrats. Now it’s a toss-up. 

The Inquirer correctly called this past summer “the summer of mayhem.” The Inquirer’s editorial board may “be like a goldfish,” but when it comes to John Fetterman’s record on crime, voters may not be.

Andy Bloom is president of Andy Bloom Communications. He specializes in media training and political communications. He has programmed legendary stations including WIP, WPHT and WYSP/Philadelphia, KLSX, Los Angeles and WCCO Minneapolis. He was Vice President Programming for Emmis International, Greater Media Inc. and Coleman Research. Andy also served as communications director for Rep. Michael R. Turner (R-Ohio). He can be reached by email at andy@andybloom.com or you can follow him on Twitter @AndyBloomCom.

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