WASHINGTON -- Congress was trying to pass a war funding bill and members were heading for a weekend recess when Sen. Sam Brownback held a rushed subcommittee hearing.
The Kansas Republican, one of the Senate's most socially conservative members, held the hearing to explore "the consequences of legalized assisted suicide and euthanasia."
No assisted-suicide bill has been introduced in the Senate, and none is expected this session. Brownback held the May 25th hearing purely to publicize the issue.
Republicans, confronting the possibility of losing control of Congress this November, are doing everything possible to mobilize their base of social conservatives, including a campaign emphasis on abortion, gay marriage and broadcasting decency. Now Oregon's assisted-suicide law -- and the threat of euthanasia -- may join the list of issues Republicans hope will win them political advantage.
The sad thing is I'm sure it will probably work. The DLC/ Hillary Clinton/ Marshall Whitman types continue to believe the correct political strategy is to fight for moderate voters. Yet the Republican party continues to clean our clock in election after election by playing to their base. I know we'd all like to believe that Katrina changed everything but I'm not seeing it judging on results from primaries held so far.
I'd love to be wrong on this, of course.