The Note: There are Different Levels of Friendship

WASHINGTON, April 14

NEWS SUMMARY

Indisputable truths:

1. There is an iron triangle of liberal interest groups, Democratic congressional staffers, and media jackals (both investigatively minded and liberally oriented) who have never identified with or liked Tom DeLay (and what he stands for) and are enjoying every minute of their conspiring to bring him down.

2. Almost every accusation swirling around DeLay involves actions by him that have exact analogues among other members of Congress of both parties (See, for example, today's front-page Los Angeles Times page-turner about MOCs employing relatives to do campaign work.).

3. If having close ties to self-interested and restaurant-owning lobbyists disqualified someone from a leadership position on Capitol Hill, it would be a body of all Indians and no chiefs. (Note Note: we refuse to indulge in the little boy game of being super excited about the return of the National Pastime to the Nation's Capital, but, yes, that "Indians" thing was for y'all and not meant to offend Native Americans. It was also an Abramoff reference.)

4. And/but without a functioning House ethics committee, there is no natural forum in which Leader DeLay can clear up the legit unanswered questions about some of his conduct. And/but his unwillingness to do it in the feeding frenzy of a packed press conference seems reasonable. May we suggest an interview with The Note, Dan Allen?

5. The Chicago Tribune's Jill Zuckman has an extraordinarily Sweet hold on the Office of the Speaker of the House. Check out her scooplet below with the thinking of a senior Hastert aide who is suggesting more DeLay DeSclosure.

6. Even people close to the White House (so close, in some cases, that they are actually INSIDE it) don't seem quite sure what the POTUS and DCoS/SA currently think about whether DeLay will survive or whether DeLay should survive. Trying to read Scott McClellan like he is a basket of tea leaves is -- let's face it -- silly as all get out.

7. DeLay's DeFenders will remain reasonably confident that their guy will survive, so long as the story stays largely inside the Beltway. The Richmond Times Dispatch ed board DeFection is not a good sign for them; nor was the USA Today cover story. And regularly making the late-night comedians' monologues ain't great either.

8. This is the Democrats favorite part of DeLay's interview with the Washington Times family:

Q. Have you ever crossed the line of ethical behavior in terms of dealing with lobbyists, your use of government authority or with fundraising?

Mr. DeLay: Ever is a very strong word.

9. The part the Democrats left out of DeLay's answer as he continued:

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