Both First Read and Politico's Jonathan Martin--two of the shrewdest McCain-watchers around--see an upside for McCain in the Ted Stevens indictment. As First Read puts it:

By the way, the Stevens indictment is actually a potential opportunity for McCain, who has never been a fan of the pork-barrel senator and has had his share of clashes with the man. But so far, we haven’t heard a peep on this from McCain... And the indictment certainly doesn’t hurt Obama’s quest to put this ruby-red state into play. But Stevens represents everything McCain's been running against inside the GOP for a decade. He ought to embrace his downfall before the GOP's tarnished brand stains him with this.

I agree with the basic logic of this. And lord knows McCain isn't the only GOP senator privately happy to see Stevens go down. Still, given that the knock on McCain in GOP circles is that he's too willing to throw the party under the bus to further his own ambition, isn't there some risk for McCain in such a move? There's already too much background-sniping in the GOP and conservative ranks for the McCain campaign's taste. If McCain went hard after Stevens, and the congressional GOP more broadly, wouldn't that provoke a whole new round of whispers about McCain's self-righteousness and opportunism?

I guess the response is that McCain just isn't going to win this election by being excessively solicitous of his base--and that most GOPers realize that. But, at the very least, I'd guess this is the reason McCain hasn't weighed in yet.

--Noam Scheiber