After all, conservatives today see governmental overreach in the scandals surrounding the Justice Department’s snooping on journalists at the AP and Fox News. Plus, Obama has invoked the Espionage Act to punish people who aid U.S. enemies six times. Before Obama, the law had only been invoked three times.

Might that change how conservatives view the government’s treatment of Manning?

To be sure, this is not a perfect analogy. For one thing, Manning is not a journalist. And he clearly broke his military oath. It’s hard to see how a nation can long survive when its rank-and-file enlisted men and women get to unilaterally decide what classified information remains secret, and what doesn’t.

But with Manning due to stand trial on June 3, and with a new documentary about WikiLeaks out, it is perhaps time to reexamine the secret spiller’s story. (Note: It’s fair to point out that some libertarian-leaning conservatives have been supportive of Manning. For example, Ron Paul was defending Manning and Julian Assange a year ago. And Paul hasn’t let up.)