Kevin Drum gets it exactly right in this post about Alberto Gonzalez:

One of the great discoveries of the Republican Party over the past
decade or two is that an awful lot of the rules we take for granted
are, in reality, just traditions. Like redistricting only once a
decade, for example, or keeping House votes open for 15 minutes. And
what Republicans have found out is that if you have the balls to do it,
you can just ignore tradition and no one can stop you. It's that simple.

Traditionally, presumably a basic respect for the way things are done, and lacking that, good old shame, have kept both parties in line.  But, sadly, as Alberto Gonzalez proves beyond a doubt, too many contemporary Republicans have no shame.  Of course, getting in a habit of ignoring traditions means that one can easily get in the habit of ignoring laws as well.  Which is why Slate has introduced its rather handy (and sadly, quite extensive) guide to Republican scandals.

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