While Sen. John Fetterman of Pennsylvania may not boast the sartorial resplendence of, say, Jacketless Jim Jordan or disgraced former whatever-that-was Donald Trump—whose chichi Queen-meetin’ duds appeared to shrink in real time before our infinitely astonished eyes, threatening to pop his skull off his torso like a wonky Kirkland champagne cork—it’s fair to say he’s a more serious legislator than every current Republican member of Congress.
Granted, it’s not a high bar, but Fetterman’s style, such as it is, certainly must give Republicans fits. They’re continually getting owned by a guy who looks like he just spent the day bowling with Willie Nelson’s roadies. He may not be a sharp dresser, but he sure as shit has a sharp tongue. And that ample sass was on full display Wednesday night on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.”
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After praising Fetterman for his excellent meme game, Colbert asked if it can be awkward running into the resultant smoldering heaps in the halls of Congress. After all, he never had that problem with Dr. Mehmet Oz, whose proud New Jersey guts he left on the abattoir floor after unceremoniously dispatching him last fall.
COLBERT: “Is it awkward to be in the Capitol and then run into people that you have put up a devastating meme about, because you’ve got excellent meme game. But then you have to see these people in the cafeteria.”
FETTERMAN: “Ah, no, it’s … you all need to know that America is not sending their best and brightest to Washington, D.C. Like, sometimes you literally just can’t believe these people are making the decisions that are determining the government here. It’s actually scary, too. And, you know, before the government almost shut down—I mean, it came down to a couple hours. I was in my office, and they finally came over from the House, and they’re like, okay, well, this has to be unanimous in the Senate, and out of 99 of us, if one single one of us would have said no, the whole government would have shut down. That’s how dangerous that is to put that kind of power in one tent, because you have some very ... less gifted kinds of people there that are willing to shut down the government just to score points on Fox.”
Of course, it’s somewhat ironic that the man who’s perhaps most responsible for Congress’ current dysfunction has gone out of his way to criticize Fetterman’s clothing. Last month, as Rep. Matt Gaetz was preparing to shove ex-Speaker Kevin McCarthy out to sea on an ice floe, he joined convicted criminal and well-known fashion plate Steve Bannon to discuss Fetterman’s clothing choices.
Here’s how that went:
BANNON: “Congressman Gaetz, I can tell you from my sources around Washington, D.C., they’re blaming you [for the impeachment inquiry]. They’re saying McCarthy was rattled by you. He knew you were going to make the speech today, he knew it was going to be powerful, he knew you would put him on notice, and put him on the clock, and this is why he ran out and made the hostage video. Your response and observations, sir.”
GAETZ: “First of all, that is the best dressed we have ever seen John Fetterman. His shirt had both buttons and the entire pant was not elastic. There were elastic features, but it was not exclusively elastic. And so, I don’t know what tent store he bought that muumuu at, but it appears to be new and I am grateful that he is really upping his game in that regard ...”
BANNON: [Giggles with glee while curb-stomping irony to death with his dandruff-mottled joggin’ Crocs.]
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And then there’s the X (formerly known as Twitter) account of RNC Research, which represents the party of former Rep. Louie Gohmert—who once asked if the National Forest Service could change the moon’s orbit to fight climate change. (It can, of course, but it’ll run into miles of red tape and face fierce resistance from the powerful and entrenched original-moon-orbit lobby.) Those super-geniuses responded with this:
For the nontweeters:
John Fetterman, completely unironically: "America is not sending their best and brightest, you know, to Washington, D.C."
“Completely unironically?” Well, yeah. He can say such things entirely unironically. Did Fetterman force Fitch to downgrade the U.S. government’s credit rating? Did he bring us within a hair’s breadth of shutting the government down (yet again) for no good reason? Does he fight against urgently needed climate change legislation? Or support giving the already obscenely wealthy every tax break they ever wanted, and then some?
No? Then what the fuck is RNC Research even talking about? His hoodie?
Republicans have no ideas and nothing substantial to run on. They’ve replaced coherent policy with pointless chaos—and it shows. Fetterman is just stating the obvious, and doing so with an impish glint in his eye.
Maybe in 100 years or so, baggy shorts and hoodies will be de rigueur on the floor of the Senate, and then our government will be able to focus on the really important issues—like staying open. That said, it’s becoming ever-more obvious that good-faith Republicans will never come back into style.
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