Conservative bloviation mills are having a little trouble knowing what to make of Tom Delay's recent troubles. The National Review published a lukewarm defense of the embattled majority leader today, but dittohead Eric Pfeiffer is pretty careful not to put himself in the position of actually suggesting he thinks Delay is innocent. The closest he comes is the first sentence of his concluding graph: "The current evidence suggests DeLay would not be found guilty of wrongdoing on the subject of foreign-travel expenses if investigated by the House Ethics Committee."
This is essentially a non-defense defense, since we don't know whether the "current evidence" really reflects all the evidence. He's left himself the option of changing his position any time if defending Delay starts to look really silly.
The Weekly Standard is avoiding the subject altogether; probably the best policy available right now. The redoubtable NewsMax.com has a nicely kooky piece complete with the requisite Hillary angle, and a goofy mixed metaphor thrown in for good measure.
At the roots level, conservative bloggers are mostly coming down on the "why are we sticking out necks out for this guy?" side of the fence, with no one in the right-wing media having the heart to tell them "because he knows where the bodies are buried."
The disturbing piece of all of this for me is the treatment the story is getting from the New Democrat quarter. New Republic has a piece behind the subscriber wall that frets openly about the fact that Delay may cost the Republicans control of the House. NDOL's website doesn't mention Delay. Lieberman's not talking about it. Are these guys in it to win it? They Republican leadership is down, and these guys are offering to help them up so they can keep pounding on us for another decade or so.
What gives, guys?