My solution was to rollback to an earlier version of python-elementtree. If you run the following command you can see which packages were most recently updated. You may want to pipe it to less or another pager.
What I noticed was that python-elementtree was updated in the recent installs. Comparing that to other RHEL 5 systems, it was a version newer than what I had running with the same version of yum elsewhere. So I decided to rollback to the previous version, the same version on other RHEL 5 systems.
First, you need to download the previous version RPM. I obtained python-elementtree-1.2.6-5 from CentOS RPMs as CentOS is Red Hat with the branding removed and some customized packages. I figured the RPM would suffice.
In order to install an older version of a package over a newer one, use the --oldpackages flag with the install command:
rpm -ivh --oldpackage python-elementtree-1.2.6-5.x86_64.rpm
Then I verified that I had the python-elementtree package installed that I wanted. The 1.2.6-7 package was still there, along with the 1.2.6-5. So I removed the 1.2.6-7 package.
rpm -e python-elementtree-1.2.6-7.el4.rf
Then I verified that only the version of python-elementtree wanted was installed.
[tmp]# rpm -qi python-elementtree
Name : python-elementtree Relocations: (not relocatable)This package also includes the C implementation, cElementTree-1.0.5-20051216Name : python-elementtree Relocations: (not relocatable)
Version : 1.2.6 Vendor: CentOS
Release : 5 Build Date: Sat 06 Jan 2007 05:03:56 PM EST
Install Date: Thu 24 Mar 2011 09:28:59 AM EDT Build Host: builder5.centos.org
Group : Development/Libraries Source RPM: python-elementtree-1.2.6-5.src.rpm
Size : 311637 License: PSF
Signature : DSA/SHA1, Tue 03 Apr 2007 08:26:59 PM EDT, Key ID a8a447dce8562897
URL : http://effbot.org/zone/element-index.htm
Summary : Fast XML parser and writer
The Element type is a simple but flexible container object, designed
to store hierarchical data structures, such as simplified XML
infosets, in memory. The element type can be described as a cross
between a Python list and a Python dictionary.
This package also includes the C implementation, cElementTree-1.0.5-20051216.
Lastly, I verified that yum was still working.
# yum list updates
Loaded plugins: rhnplugin, security
Skipping security plugin, no data
Basically, any yum command could be used, even a simple, yum --version
All extraneous repos in /etc/yum.repos.d/ were also set to disabled, enabled=0 because this the newer, unwanted package was obtained from one of them, not the RHN satellite server.