With friends like these...

Now a NEW judge, Pat Priest, a Democrat, has been appointed by the Chief Justice Wallace Jefferson of the Texas Supreme Court (a Republican). Jefferson, it appears, received help from TRMPAC. You know what they say... With friends like these...

Round and round we go, where we stop, nobody knows.

What is clear, though, is the clock is ticking on DeLay. In a conversation with a Capitol Hill reporter the other day, we both came to the same conclusion: To maintain his hope to return to leadership in the Republican caucus, DeLay likely needs a quick trial and would need to be exonerated by the end of the year. That outcome seems very much in doubt.

By January, the theory goes, the palace intrigue within the Capitol Building and the GOP will burst in the open and ambitious members will scramble for a rare leadership election. I actually think it'll happen quicker: As soon as the ambitious GOP leadership wannabes get a sense there will be no resolution before January, they will begin lining up votes.

All the legal maneuvers of this case so far have lengthened the pre-trial period, and with holidays coming up, it's hard to see how DeLay gets his trial date, a jury gets selected (if you thought getting the right judge selected was intense, you ain't seen nothin' yet, though we're not likely to hear much of the jury selection beyond spin, spin, and more spin), the trial is completed, and the jury deliberations over, before January. And we still have DeLay's attempt to get the trial moved from Travis County because of the publicity the trial has received (from DeLay's lawyers).

So, basically, DeLay got one Democratic judge thrown off just to get another appointed (by a Republican judge who received TRMPAC support -- thanks!). And by doing so, he's lengthened the pre-trial period without much progress, which will damage his chances to return to leadership.