Most people on Capitol Hill understand that the Ronnie Earle-fueled indictment of Republican Leader Tom DeLay is all about political gamesmanship.
But the DeLay indictment should also serve as a broader wake-up call to the Republican leadership in both the House and the Senate, as well as their network of folks on K Street: It's time for Republicans to start putting their house in order.
A smart politician like DeLay should never have allowed himself to get in the position that he now finds himself. Five years ago, he would not have. But power and influence and a watering down of talent surrounding him on staff opened him and his organization up to missteps. There is a real sense among many conservatives that the Republican Party has achieved in little more than 10 years of power what Democrats created over 40 and which led to their demise in 1994.
Republicans will stand by DeLay and fight for him. They should, and they should fight hard. But look for conservative Republicans to take this opportunity to align the party with a more 1994 approach to governing. The question now is whether Hastert and company are up to the job.
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