It is hard for an outsider to know the details of a political corruption trial, but the trial and conviction of former House leader Tom DeLay didn't ring true at the time. The promoters were partisan Democrats with a long history of targeting DeLay, a tough political player himself. But the real pressure for indictment and conviction came from the media. I will leave it for others to cite all the editorials and self-righteous columns that attacked him.
Now his conviction has been overturned and, effectively, DeLay is exonerated. His hardball politics is no different from what we see daily in Democratic campaigns. Well, there is a difference. DeLay was forced out of office while the current crowd are in office and making the rules.
The First Amendment is used successfully to justify all kinds of things. But its original purpose was central to our identity and success as a republic: freedom of political speech and association. Curbs on those freedoms push away from the Founders' vision and closer to the authoritarian regimes that rule places like Venezuela and Russia.