The conservative National Review's website posted an editorial from its editors this afternoon arguing that DeLay ought not seek a return to the Majority Leader posting he was forced to give up and that "Republicans underestimate the potential impact of the Abramoff scandal at their peril."
Here's an interesting insight:
First, assuming that DeLay is cleared in Texas, it would be a substantial political risk for Republicans to bring DeLay back to the leadership while the Abramoff cloud is hanging over him, as it appears it will for some time to come. Why would they want to carry on under a formerly former majority leader, only to face the possibility of having to remove him from leadership yet again should he be further implicated in the Abramoff mess?
The NRO editors also point to the political fallout, and urge martyrdom for the conservative cause:
One top Republican strategist told us, "There are two types of House Republicans: Those who are in trouble, and those who don't know it yet." Republicans have to do more, rather than less, to control the damage.
DeLay can do his part by forswearing any ambition to return to the leadership until this matter is resolved. It may be necessary for the House Republican Conference to discipline other of its members — we have Rep. Bob Ney (R., Ohio) in particular in mind — as evidence of their involvement with Abramoff dictates.
Do his part to control the damage? Most Americans are not worried about how much damage this does to the Republicans, or for that matter, the Democrats. They're pretty sure the damage has already been done to the public trust DeLay, Ney, and Co. were given by voters.