It must be nice to be able to spend campaign donations on cosplaying your boyhood hero.
That’s what Pennsylvania Democrat John Fetterman, who is running for U.S. Senate despite an unimpressive record in public service and debilitating health problems, did in a cringeworthy 2016 ad now making the rounds on Twitter again. In a parody of the iconic 1979 Coca-Cola commercial featuring Pittsburgh Steelers legend “Mean” Joe Greene, the hulking Fetterman staggers wearily down a corridor, a sweaty towel slung over his shoulder, presumably after a debate drubbing.
As in the original ad, a child offers him a bottle of Coke and words of inspiration. In the 2016 version, the kid wants to know why Fetterman eschews the suit and lapel pin favored by less slovenly seekers of public office. It’s a reference to another bit of cosplay for which Fetterman is famous: sporting the Carhartt jacket, hoodie, and baggie shorts that he imagines his gritty constituents wear.
WHAT ON EARTH is this Fetterman ad… pic.twitter.com/xNdMP8gm0P
— Kyle Martinsen (@KyleMartinsen_) November 4, 2022
Fetterman shot the ad for his failed 2016 Democratic primary campaign for the Senate seat he now seeks again. It has resurfaced on social media, mostly posted as further evidence of what a weirdly delusional dude Fetterman has always been.
As a gesture of gratitude, Fetterman throws the towel to the boy at the end of the ad. It’s an echo of Greene’s heartwarming, “Hey kid,” followed by the toss of his No. 75 game jersey in the original commercial. Which do you think would fetch more on eBay?
Fetterman, of course, is no “Mean” Joe Greene. The son of a wealthy insurance executive, the 6-foot, 8-inch candidate, whose weight has topped 400 pounds, did reportedly play football at tiny Albright College, in Reading, Pa. Greene, obviously, was one of the greatest defensive ends in NFL history.
Nor is Fetterman a blue-collar hero from a Bruce Springsteen song, the other pose he likes to strike. He grew up rich and then took into his forties an “allowance” from his parents that would constitute a nice salary for most of Braddock, the small town where he served as mayor from 2006-2019.
Fetterman’s opponent, Dr. Mehmet Oz, 62, once played football, too. Although he prefers to talk about what he’s done since, Oz played safety for Division I Harvard University before going on to earn medical and MBA degrees from University of Pennsylvania. When the situation calls for something more formal than scrubs, Oz typically dons a suit. He cleans up a lot better than his opponent.
Fetterman, 53, who suffered a stroke in May that has sadly left him unable to quickly process and answer basic questions, doesn’t need a new job. He, like Pennsylvania, needs a doctor. At a recent appearance at Penn State University, he discussed his gridiron career in incomprehensible terms that demonstrated his alarming neurological state.
“I think that anyone who ever plays football in high school was, you know, at kind of a trade out kind of football camp and there wasn’t any interest I have come play here,” he said.
At their sole debate, Oz and Fetterman were asked which of the Keystone State’s two football teams they backed. Oz chose the Philadelphia Eagles and Fetterman his beloved Steelers. On Thursday, the Eagles defeated the Houston Texans to run their record to a league-best 8-0. The Steelers are mired in a rebuilding season with a 2-6 record that puts them at the bottom of their division. It’s just not their year.
It’s not John Fetterman’s, either.