(This column originally appeared on The Hill)
The Pennsylvania Senate race between John Fetterman (D) and Mehmet Oz (R) is being closely watched. And it should be. Whoever wins will not only represent his state’s interests but also likely be extremely influential in what is projected to be a very narrowly divided Senate after the midterm elections.
There are many social issues, such as abortion, gun control and crime, that are high of mind for many voters. But as a small business owner who works directly with hundreds of other business executives both in Pennsylvania and around the country, I think it’s important to be clear which candidate would be better for business. That candidate is Mehmet Oz.
Why? Because Mehmet Oz would be a terrible senator.
But also, and I have no doubt about this, he’ll be a very good Republican. And that’s exactly what the business community needs right now in what has been a very anti-business environment over the past two years.
Oz has no government or leadership experience. His positions on many issues are disconcertingly vague. He attacks China and Biden’s “failed economic policies” but doesn’t offer a better strategy (most likely because he doesn’t have one). He assures us that he “knows the challenges our small business owners face because of government regulations that stifle growth and opportunity.” How does he know this? He’s never run a small business. He’s a TV celebrity. He’s not even from Pennsylvania.
Oz is unqualified to be a U.S. senator. His motives are dubious, his support of former President Trump is disturbing, his medical ethics are questionable and his commitment to his prospective constituents is uncertain.
But based on what I’ve seen of Oz’s shallowness, the man would be so romanced by his newfound national stature and so desperate to maintain it that he would do whatever is necessary for his party to support him going forward. That means rubber-stamping any position the Republican Party takes. I like that; it’s a good thing.
It’s a good thing because it will force the Biden administration to slow down its excessive and damaging “green and clean” rhetoric and work towards deregulating refinery construction and oil exploration to get us back to leveraging the vast amount of energy reserves we have. It means reigning in all the demands for more spending programs (in addition to the over-spending that’s already occurred), which has unquestionably contributed to inflation.
It means pushing for a comprehensive immigration bill to give our businesses the workers they need during these times of tight labor. It means legislatively challenging the administration’s anti-business, pro-worker policies that have led to a spike in unionization and carte blanche for regulatory agencies to implement more rules and regulations on businesses, covering everything from worker classifications to support for localized increases of minimum wages, greater pay transparency and more stringent hiring and payment practices.
It means supporting more funding and freedom for the police to do their job and to call out, on a national level, the disastrous policies and politicians that have led to our astronomical levels of homicides and murders (especially in places like my hometown Philadelphia), which have scared away visitors and customers from local establishments.
Business matters in a country that has the world’s largest economy. It matters in a free market, capitalistic society that encourages risk taking and financial success.
Unfortunately, Fetterman, ever true to the progressive anti-business camp, attacks “corporate greed” and “price gouging” as the root of all our economic evils, He suggests higher taxes and making the wealthy “pay their fair share” as the path to prosperity.
Every businessperson knows this is nonsensical, populist rhetoric that discourages entrepreneurs from taking chances, making investments, spending and hiring. I’d rather a clueless Oz than a populist Fetterman on this matter. At least Oz would follow the orders of Republican Party leaders who know better.
Oz doesn’t have the leadership capabilities to be a senator. None of his positions are original or innovative. But he’ll support his party as it tries to offset, through legislation, many of the Biden administration’s over-reaching orders and regulations that have helped stifle the economy and significantly inhibited the growth of countless businesses across the country.
As a Republican, I don’t agree with all that my party supports — its positions on abortion and gun control being two big ones. And I’m horrified by my party’s shameful acquiescence to Trump’s behavior and absurd denial of the 2020 election results.
But to me, a business owner, it’s all about the economy. Small businesses are suffering from high inflation, tight labor, increased regulations and slow growth. As unqualified as Oz is, I know that his support of Republican initiatives to restore economic growth is a better option than his opponent.
Mehmet Oz would be a terrible senator. That’s why I’m voting for him.