SCHIAVO MEMO CIRCUS CONTINUES…. Must …. resist …. writing …. again …. about …. Schiavo …. “talking points” …. memo ….

But I can’t. It’s unbelievable that Mickey Kaus and Power Line and the rest of the usual suspects are still baying for reporter Mike Allen’s blood. At most he’s guilty of modestly sloppy wording in the first draft of his initial piece about the memo a week ago, a mistake that he quickly corrected. If only the conservative blogosphere were so prone to self-correction.

Besides, as Ann Althouse points out, there’s something pretty fishy about Mel Martinez blaming this whole thing on staffer Brian Darling:

Darling is the very definition of scapegoat. Martinez was the Senate “point man,” according to the article, and he passed the memo to Harkin! He claims not to have read the memo, the very talking points he was urging on everyone else. He can only distance himself from the memo by portraying himself as horribly inept. But he was the point man! A point man with his points. The finger points at him. At least at him.

And Jeralyn links to a couple of pieces noting that Martinez has something of a reputation for scapegoating staffers when he’s caught with his hands in the cookie jar. I especially liked this imaginary conversation written by St. Petersburg Times columnist Jim Defede during last year’s campaign:

Staffer No. 1: I’m sorry, sir. There is only one problem. You can’t call Danny and Tom ”young turks” because you already called Pete and Bobby ”young turks” after you had them accuse McCollum of being in bed with the “radical homosexual lobby.”

Martinez: Darn it!….We’ll call them overzealous.

Staffer No. 1: Nope. We used that one for the guys at the ad agency that produced the commercial labeling McCollum “antifamily.”

Martinez: OK, how about rogue staffers? You guys wouldn’t mind being rogue staffers would you?

Staffer No. 1: No, sorry sir, you called Carlos and Hector rogue staffers after they issued that news release you wrote for the Spanish-language radio stations calling the federal agents who seized Eli?n Gonz?lez “armed thugs.”

Martinez: Well-intentioned but misguided?

Staffer No. 2: That’s what you said about Sandy and Diane after they said Castor was an accomplished thespian in college.

Martinez: Renegade? I don’t remember condemning anyone on my staff for being a renegade.

Staffer No. 1: Well, we were saving renegade for the commercials suggesting Castor may have been a founding member of al Qaeda.

Martinez had a copy of the offending memo in his pocket and Republican aides in other offices confirmed that they had received copies too. Is that a smoking gun proving that Martinez and other Republican senators had also read it? Technically no. But let’s face it: you have to be pretty naive to believe anything else. The jig is up, folks.