The New York Times' Carl Hulse has a good analysis of DeLay's political capital under this headline:
Last week, on an energy bill vote, it appeared that the DeLay and the Republicans lost 212 to 210, but then the Republican leadership in the House held the voting open for an extra 45 to 50 minutes to get a handful of members to switch their votes. Among those switching votes was Rep. Jim Gerlach, who ranks as the fifth closest member to DeLay on our DeLay Rankings. (We ran this ad in Gerlach's district earlier this year.)
Here's how Hulse describes the GOP dilemma:
Though he has the political muscle and inside knowledge to maneuver difficult legislation in a dicey political climate, he is also is operating under the liability of the criminal charges. Some Republicans acknowledge that their work could be tainted by any perception that Mr. DeLay commands the House from the sidelines while awaiting a resolution of the charges.
"DeLay is driving the agenda," said one senior Republican lawmaker who did not want to be identified because of the sensitivity of talking about internal party matters. "I guess he has to be because he is the only guy who can get this done. But once people find out he is still in charge, that brings its own set of issues."
It's one thing to have DeLay twisting arms and continuing to set the agenda in the House... but how many Republicans would like to have DeLay headline a fundraiser back home right now?