What’s in a home, really?
Time to Log Off is a weekly series documenting the many ways our political figures show their whole asses online.
It’s hard to nail down a single favorite Simpsons joke from over the course of the show’s multi-decade long run, but with a gun to my head, I’d probably say it’s in season five, episode two, when insufferably erudite sociopath “Sideshow” Bob Terwilliger steps on garden rake after garden rake — the camera cuts back to show him surrounded by them — only to shudder impotently and seemingly resign himself to the repeated humiliation of whacking himself in the face with landscaping tools.
I mention the gag because this is the closest analogy I’ve been able to come up with for gazillionaire TV personality Dr. Mehmet Oz’s campaign to become the next senator for the commonwealth of Pennsylvania — a state in which he barely lives. While much has been said about the razor-sharp media savvy deployed by Oz’s Democratic rival John Fetterman, I think it does a disservice to a relatively under-appreciated dynamic in the pair’s race for the Senate: the fact that Dr. Oz simply will not — cannot — stop owning himself online. Like Bob and the rakes, Oz seems resigned to plow ahead, whacking himself in the face over and over again for the foreseeable future. And I can think of no better example of Oz’s commitment to beclowning himself than his Wednesday exchange with Fetterman, where he attempted to delineate between his two “homes” and his eight other “properties” — the sort of very normal difference that very normal voters with very normal finances will surely appreciate, right?
Let’s pause for a moment and distill what Oz is really saying here: “You’re so poor you couldn’t own a home, whereas I’m so unbelievably stinking rich that I bought a bunch of houses myself.” It’s an, uh, interesting tactic for a guy who also complained about spending 20 bucks to construct the world’s worst veggie platter even though he could have bought a premade one for half that much at the grocery store whose name he didn’t even seem to know.
In any case, the rest of his exchange with Fetterman did not go much better:
As an expertly cut campaign ad from the Fetterman team (see, there’s that media savvy I mentioned) shows, the difference between “properties” and “homes” is ... well ... it’s not much.
Per the Daily Beast article Fetterman quoted in the tweet that kicked this whole exchange off, Oz owns mansions in New Jersey and Florida, a massive “country house” in Pennsylvania, three condos across New Jersey and New York City, three chunks of “residential real estate” in his family’s home country of Turkey, and a cattle farm in south-central Florida. He might not personally live in all of those spots, but he definitely owns — and in some cases seemingly earns money from — them. Nevertheless, Oz would like the public to believe he’s just a humble everyman who only has two houses. (Oz’s campaign didn’t respond to requests for comment from The Daily Beast about exactly how many properties the candidate owns.)
At this point, I’m forced to wonder who exactly is running Oz’s twitter account. Because it’s one thing to be hopelessly outmatched by Fetterman’s top-tier social media operation (they tweeted yet another meme at Oz’s expense Thursday morning), but it’s another thing entirely when you actively open yourself up to the most basic, no brainer lines of attack. Is Oz himself tweeting about how rich he is/claims not to be, or is he actually paying campaign staff who think this is a good idea? Either way, I think the man should do himself a favor and log immediately off. Either that, or at least stay away from rakes for the time being.