I've been reading about the Abramoff scandal for quite some time - both actual details with some facts involved plus the constant meme that "this is huge and is going to destroy the Republicans". The latter is generally seen in comments and I have always taken it as an indication of the ignorance of the writer. Scandals - even if factually based and ultimately proven in court - affect the individual(s) concerned but have a minor impact upon perception of the party. Unless, of course, the party rallies to the defense of the scoundrel involved and attaches itself to his deeds. The "proper" response from the party is to distance itself from the individual and let nature (and, hopefully, justice) take its course. The '90's provide ample evidence in support of this argument. Newt Gingrich and Bob Livingston both had peccadillos in their past that did not withstand scrutiny, both acknowledged their errors, both resigned their offices and both left politics. Was the Republican party therefore tarred as the party of philanderers and did it suffer from such identification or is philandery more firmly attached to the Democratic party for some obscure reason?
Come we now to Abramoff and the exchange of political support of Indian gaming interests for financial support. I expect that the Gonzales DoJ will perform a very adequate and thorough investigation and that every instance in which sufficient evidence can be obtained will result in appropriate charges being leveled and trials conducted. I also expect that every Republican so charged will resign his/her office. I have no such expectations from members of the other party (vide '90's) for if it were so, Harry Reid, the Senate Minority Leader would already have stepped down in anticipation.
Opposition research produces results which might be best described as a razor sharp and double edged sword. When wielded with proficiency the results can be deadly to a single opponent, when wielded clumsily, the attacker may wind up with wounds more severe than the person being attacked. It's a weapon whose major efficacy is achieved by revealing the scabbard for drawing the blade gives no assurance that the wielder will be standing at the end of the fight. For that reason it is also a weapon of desperation and last resort. When you're losing and the outcome is in doubt, go down and go dirty. It works occasionally but it's a clear sign of a loser.
Like Harry Reid. Like the left wing of the once great Democratic Party.