News came today that the Supreme Court affirmed the constitutionality of assisted suicide in Oregon. While the decision was narrow, it was nice to see the Court actually stay out of something for a change. My own view is that the law is wrong-headed and I worry about the long-term implications of an assisted suicide law, but if we believe that the people should decide, we owe Oregonians great deference in making their decisions.
In another sense, the statute in Oregon may come in handy for some of the public figures who seem to be in favor of committing public, career suicide in recent days. My goodness, we've heard a lot of intemperate things in recent days. New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin went deep into Pat Robertson territory with his musings about God's punishment of his city via Hurricane Katrina; one wonders what the mayors of Sodom and Gomorrah would have done if there were CNN cameras about. Hillary Clinton subtly compared the House Republican leadership to plantation owners while speaking in a church on Martin Luther King Day; guess that separation of church and state thing is a bit more malleable than we'd been led to believe. There's also a rumor that Al "No Controlling Legal Authority" Gore weighed in on supposed Bush criminality on Monday, but it's not evident that anyone cares what he says these days.
Meanwhile, the stench of Abramoff may be adhering to Republicans. There is a growing perception that the congressional leadership is fundamentally corrupt and needs to be replaced; the problem is that the most visible Democrats these days are people like Nagin, Clinton, Ted Kennedy and others of this sort. Can the Republicans fumigate themselves? Can the Democrats remove their moonbattery? This election cycle should be one of the strangest ones yet.
President Bush said he wanted to change the tone in Washington. As the banner said on the boat in San Diego -- "Mission Accomplished."