inside sources print logo
Get up to date Delaware Valley news in your inbox

BROOKS: Wild’s Speech Is an Unprecedented Attack on a Scholar

From Winston Churchill’s Iron Curtain speech to Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society speech, notable leaders have employed university podiums to communicate ideas, to inspire or to warn us. Most use the opportunity to encourage a society falling on hard times, while some of our current leaders are instead failing in hard times.

On May 15, U.S. Rep. Susan Wild delivered the George Washington Law School’s 2022 commencement.  She chose this moment to attack a one of the prestigious school’s renowned professors. Though Wild did not state his name, anyone who follows Beltway legal matters knew she was referring to Professor Jonathan Turley. Wild conceded Turley “is without question well versed in constitutional law”. She then claimed that Turley had taken to “cable news and social media . . . [,] undermining his own past well-documented scholarship”.

What triggered her ire? Turley, a recognized authority on impeachment law, testified at both Bill Clinton’s impeachment hearing (1998) and Donald Trump’s (2019), and Wild found displeasure in Turley’s legal interpretations.

Dipping her toes into the cesspool of the partisan hatedom without diving in head-first, Wild claimed: “A law professor who at one time strenuously advocated that a president need not commit an indictable offense to be impeached, just this past year argued the opposite for a president more to his liking. A president no less who instigated an insurrection and a bloody assault on our democratic process and the rule of law.”

According to Turley’s Trump impeachment hearings testimony, not only did the professor vote for Presidents Clinton and Obama; he also voted against Trump in 2016 and has been publicly critical of Trump’s “policies, and his rhetoric, in dozens of columns.”

As Turley put it, “one can oppose President Trump’s policies or actions but still conclude that the current legal case for impeachment is not just woefully inadequate, but in some respects, dangerous, as the basis for the impeachment of an American president. To put it simply, I hold no brief for President Trump.” Turley continued, “We have never impeached a president solely or even largely on the basis of a non-criminal abuse of power allegation.”

The important point that Wild’s rationale seems to exclude is that Bill Clinton committed perjury, a felony. As articles for the Clinton  impeachment state, our 42nd president “willfully provided perjurious, false and misleading testimony to the grand jury.” Sex was the cause for Clinton to lie but was not the legal grounds for impeachment.

Wild’s talk stands out for doing something other commencement speeches by governmental leaders did not. No other attacked a faculty member of the institution at which the speaker was speaking. Sure, other speakers have taken digs at other politicians. But Wild – a guest – dedicated over a minute to bashing Turley at the professor’s workplace, unduly politicizing and detracting from an otherwise inspiring speech.

Wild’s speech started in the same manner as George W. Bush’s 2001 Yale commencement speech, where he joked: “Those of you who are graduating this afternoon with high honors, awards, and distinctions, I say well done. And, to the C students, I say, you too can be president.” Wild’s academic record at law school seems to have fit the same, as her “grades in law school were decent, but were nothing that were going to open doors for me.” Humble, and her rise despite that can be an inspiration, as could be Bush’s more self-deprecating quip.

If one juxtaposes the humanity of a speech like Bush’s to Wild’s gratuitous dig at Turley, one should see the point even more. Indeed, the more memorable commencement speeches are both uplifting and informative. Some use a sentence or two to point out a political opponent’s gaffs. But spending paragraphs to attack the intellectually defensible position of a seasoned scholar is out of bounds. As an attorney, Wild should realize that a corruption or bending of truth is hardly a desired outcome.

Please follow DVJournal on social media: Twitter@DVJournal or Facebook.com/DelawareValleyJournal

 

 

Dems Want to ‘Doctor’ Oz’s Name

“Is there a doctor in the House?” is an old cliche. But U.S. Rep. Susan Wild wants to keep one out of the Senate—and she thinks the press is hurting her cause.

The Pennsylvania Democrat is complaining about the coverage of Dr. Mehmet Oz, the GOP nominee for Senate who is best known for his award-winning TV show “Dr. Oz.” She wants the media to drop the “Doctor.”

“Please stop using ‘Dr.’ before Oz’s name,” Wild tweeted. “Use his name like we do for all other candidates. Or just his last name as we often do. He’s not practicing medicine. He’s running for office.”

Every year, Gallup asks Americans to rank the honesty and ethics of various professions, and “medical doctors” inevitably appear near the top of the list — usually right behind nurses. In the most recent survey, 67 percent of respondents said they believed doctors are ethical and honest, compared to 27 percent for bankers, 19 percent for lawyers, and just 9 percent for members of Congress like Wild.

If running on the “Doctor Oz” ticket is an unfair advantage, he is not the only one who has it. There are 17 doctors serving in Congress according to Patients Network Action. In fact, Oz was just one of three doctors in the Pennsylvania Senate race this year. Both Dr. Val Arkoosh and Dr. Kevin Baumlin ran as Democrat candidates but dropped before the primary election.

As a practicing physician from Philadelphia for 21 years, Dr. Baumlin said he ran his campaign as a doctor trying to improve America’s healthcare system.

In his campaign video and website, Baumblin included the title “doctor” in his name, and he said it is appropriate for candidates to do so.

“I just go by Doctor B,” Baumlin said. “Even my campaign team called me ‘Doctor B.’ When I first announced my race, the Philadelphia Inquirer did not include Dr. in my name. The Inquirer had a set standard for addressing candidates and I thought it was appropriate and fine. They did the same thing with Oz, and he complained about it on Fox.”

First elected to Congress in 2010, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) still refers to himself as “Dr. Paul” on his website. Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), who spent 20 years working with indigent patients in Louisiana’s charity hospital system, includes “M.D.” at the end of his name.

According to Robert Hickey, Deputy Director at The Protocol School of Washington and author of the book “Honor & Respect: The Official Guide to Names, Titles, and Forms of Address,” the title of doctor is both used professionally and socially.

“A doctor is ‘Dr.’, even when washing his car on a Saturday,” Hickey said. “So as a candidate he’ll continue to be ‘Dr. Oz.’”

In the United States, a person is only given one title at a time. It is never Senator Doctor or the Right Honorable Professor Dr. Smith. So, when a person has more than one title, they should be addressed by the one most pertinent to their position, Hickey said.

“Colin Powell was never ‘The Honorable General Colin Powell’, Hickey said. “And when it wasn’t exactly pertinent to either he let it be known that he preferred ‘General’ since he’d spent most of his life in the Army.”

As a pastor in a Baptist church, Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) still calls himself “Reverend Warnock.” In fact, it is his Twitter handle.

Critics of Wild’s tweet were quick to point to First Lady Jill Biden, who has a doctorate degree in education and is notorious for insisting on being addressed as “doctor.” When The Wall Street Journal ran a light-hearted op-ed suggesting she set the title aside, the issue became a cause celebre among Democratic women. Jill Biden once held a sign with President Joe Biden which stated  “Dr. and the President Live here.’

On the White House’s website, she is referred to as Dr. Jill Biden.

Ironically, Wild herself used the honorific “Doctor” when the First Lady visited the Lehigh Valley last October. “Pennsylvania’s own Dr. Jill Biden is a true fighter for families, and I couldn’t be more excited to welcome her to the Greater Lehigh Valley next week to talk about the Build Back Better Agenda and our continued recovery from COVID-19,” Wild said in a statement.

According to the Emily Post Institute, a fifth-generation family business promoting etiquette, it is more common for a woman to go by “Dr.” than it was in the past.  When meeting someone with a doctorate degree for the first time, it’s always safe to address them as “Dr.”

Dr. Baumlin said there are more important issues to discuss than worrying about titles.

Wild’s opponent Lisa Scheller replied to Wild’s tweet with a photo of gas prices at $5.22 at a Lehigh Valley shell. Scheller said Wild was too preoccupied with Dr. Oz when she should be worrying about greater issues like rising gas prices.

Please follow DVJournal on social media: Twitter @DV Journal or Facebook.com/DelawareValleyJournal

Southeast PA Key Battlefield In National GOP’s Hopes to Flip House

In Washington, D.C. Republicans only need five more seats to win control of the House. And they could pick up two of them in southeast Pennsylvania, strategists say.

As President Joe Biden’s poll numbers plunge, GOP hopes are rising for pick-ups in PA-6—currently represented by Rep. Chrissy Houlahan—and PA-7, where incumbent Democrat Susan Wild’s seat has already been labeled “lean Republican” by the non-partisan Cook Political Report.

At the same time, perennial Democratic hopes of taking out GOP Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick in the Biden-friendly First Congressional District have largely faded.

According to the data analysis website FiveThirtyEight, redistricting made Wild’s district more difficult to hold. Picking up Berks County was not ideal for Rep. Wild, nor was losing Stroudsburg—a borough in Monroe County that is a Democratic stronghold, said Charlie O’Neill, grassroots programs coordinator for the Leadership Institute.

Wild’s district is now considered one of the state’s three competitive congressional races, including races for an open seat in Beaver County and incumbent Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Bucks), according to FiveThirtyEight.

Although Fitzpatrick is a perennial target by the Democrats with his Biden-backing district, Samantha Bullock with the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) said Republicans feel confident. Fitzpatrick’s opponent, 33-year-old army veteran Ashley Ehasz, has run a lackluster campaign, Bullock said, while Fitzpatrick has survived far more Democratic-friendly election cycles.

Federal Election Commission filings show Ehasz has $77,976 on hand, while incumbent Fitzpatrick has close to $1.4 million.

Wild may have twice the amount of cash as her Republican challenger Lisa Scheller, but veteran Democrat strategist TJ Rooney said this will be a difficult election cycle for the incumbent.

“Folks who have been elected in the last four or six years had nothing but favorable conditions to run as a Democrat,” Rooney said. “This time, the president has a very low approval rating and Americans, by and large, think the nation is heading in the wrong direction.”

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) has both Houlahan and Wild in their “Frontline” program, a sign they believe the seats are at risk. Houlahan apparently believes it, too. Last week she hosted her 60th town hall meeting.

“Of all of the more recently elected members from Pennsylvania, she’s the head of the class,” Rooney said. “She’s done the things at home that will enable her to win this year.”

O’Neill isn’t so sure. Houlahan’s challenger, former Chester County Chamber of Commerce president Guy Ciarrocchi won a tough, competitive primary and is an experienced political player. And his background in the business community gives him credibility on the economic issues dominating this election cycle.

Both Houlahan and Wild voted with Biden 100 percent of the time, FiveThirtyEight reports, not a positive when the president’s approval is around 40 percent in most polls.

“It’s going to be hard for Wild to talk about the pocketbook and kitchen table issues when her president is largely responsible for inflation, O’Neill said.

Wild’s opponent, Scheller, serves as president and chairman of her family’s manufacturing company. She ran against Wild in 2020 and lost by 4 points.

Adding Carbon County and removing the majority of Monroe County will make Wild’s pathway more difficult, Bullock said.

“In 2020, Donald Trump won Carbon County with 65 percent of the vote as opposed to his 44 percent in Monroe County, which is now almost entirely eliminated from the new district,” Bullock said. “If Scheller mirrored Trump’s 2020 performance in Carbon County, she would have defeated Wild in 2020 due to her performance in Northampton and Lehigh Counties.”

Wild also faces a $50,000 ad campaign organized by the Pennsylvania Hispanic Republican Coalition of Pennsylvania targeting Hispanic voters in her district. It is the first Spanish-language advertising from the right in Pennsylvania, according to Chris Mundiath, the group’s chairman.

“We are investing in reaching the Latino community in areas like the Lehigh Valley and Hazleton where we can really make a difference,” Mundiath said. “Democrats will no longer have a stranglehold over our demographic in our commonwealth. We are ready to lead the movement.”

Lehigh County has the state’s largest Hispanic population at 26 percent, according to the Pennsylvania State Data Center. Wild won the county by a 6-point margin.

Back in Chester County, Ciarrocchi laid out a mantra voters are likely to hear again and again between now and November.

“This election is a referendum. If you like $5 gas, paying up to 40 percent more for groceries, rising crime rates, unsecured borders, our children being used as political pawns, and Russia and China growing in power, vote for Congresswoman Houlahan. She supported every single policy that brought us to this dangerous place.”

 

Please follow DVJournal on social media: Twitter @DV Journal or Facebook.com/DelawareValleyJournal