Bryan at Junkyard Blog points out a piece by the editors at NRO that discusses the charges against Tom Delay and is making me rethink about this issue. I’ve been a skeptic of Delay’s innocence on this because of the trouble he’s gotten himself into in the past in the House. But the NRO editors have a different take and point out that even though they have criticized Delay in the past, these particular charges in their opinion are baseless. They conclude by saying:
One needn’t be a DeLay flack to see this. We have had criticisms of DeLay ourselves — his support of the Medicare-drug benefit, his relationship with disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff, and his recent comments about the “pared down” budget all come to mind. But this indictment is outrageous and should not be allowed to succeed as a tactic. While the political fallout of this indictment will take time to sort through, this case makes one thing clear: Campaign-finance regulation makes prosecution a continuation of politics by other means.
If you read the entire piece, they make a pretty convincing case for the baselessness of the charges.
Bryan notes this in his post:
Republicans who have been quick to throw DeLay to the Democrats should note, the indictment against him is weak, the evidence against him is nonexistent, and he maintains his innocence. His accuser is a known partisan with a track record of abusing his powers. If we allow the Democrats to force us to jettison DeLay on the basis of this case, we are setting up a big trap for ourselves. In the same way that throwing Michael Brown under all those flooded New Orleans buses didn’t blunt the Dems’ unfair criticism of Bush’s response to FEMA, tossing out DeLay won’t stop the Democrats from going after other elected conservatives. You can’t count on the Democrats to approach DeLay or disasters or the war or anything else in good faith anymore. They will circle around their own and they will lash out at the rest of us, even if it means people in Iraq or New Orleans die. Giving them DeLay will just increase their lust for more Republican blood. It will do nothing to placate them.
Excellent point. I think there is (subconsciously) a fair amount of "let’s placate the Dems" mentality as it relates to Delay coming from some on the Republican side and I think the Republicans who are operating on that basis should reassess. I’m reassessing because the more information I read, the more this seems like a trumped up charge – just like Plamegate. Instead of believing in Delay’s guilt because of things he’s done in the past, I should have done a better job of examining the nature of this charge on its own merits.