Time Runs Out for Kitzhaber

Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber accepted the inevitable today and resigned his office. But he did so bitterly complaining that he’d been run out of office by media repeating unsubstantiated allegations, and that none of his allies stuck with him.

Now politicians felled by scandals always say those sorts of things. But the speed of Kitzhaber’s demise, which began to seem a matter of time from the moment the Oregonian called for him to leave office, does make you wonder if the skids under him were greased just a bit too rapidly and lavishly.

On the other hand, if you’re found in a compromising position and want the benefit of doubt (and the time to establish it), transparency is a real good idea, and Kitzhaber didn’t pass that test. The final straw was almost certainly the news that he was trying to have emails on state servers destroyed. As they say in law school, the “equities” were not on his side.

I’m sure with a little more time Kitzhaber’s legacy in Oregon will outweigh how it ended, unless he spends a chunk of his golden years as a resident of one of the state’s correctional facilities. But it’s not time he gets to spend in the governor’s mansion.

Here’s a small but annoying bit of denouement from today’s events:

Senate Minority Leader Ted Ferrioli, R-John Day, outlined his agenda while speaking to a gathering of the Oregon Wheat Growers League….

He said he had been asked to attend [Kate[ Brown’s swearing-in as a sign of solidarity but would not.

Instead, Ferrioli said, he planned to return home “to grieve for the departure in disgrace of one governor and to hope for the healing that can only come if the next governor turns away from policies that put symbolic gestures ahead of the real needs of our citizens.”

Spare us the pieties.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.