The GOP now faces a choice. It can admit that past assaults on Democrats were cynical exercises in political hardball that had nothing to do with a genuine concern for propriety. Or Republicans can resolve to uphold the standards they set. The latter course is the better and wiser one.
We'd hope, too, that Rep. John Sweeney of Clifton Park would be among the leaders of the movement for Mr. DeLay to step down. Last fall it was his view that Mr. DeLay was the victim of an ethics committee that had veered out of control. Only Mr. DeLay has become a much bigger problem, both ethically and politically, since then.