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A beginner's guide to the political scandal.

11:00 PM, Jan 31, 2006 • By DAN MCLAUGHLIN
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(10) The Guilt By Association Scandal: It's the last refuge of scandal-mongers: When you can't find misconduct by the target, find a close associate engaged in disreputable, immoral, or criminal conduct. Perhaps the ultimate example of this was Enron--while the collapse of Enron was a fascinating story in its own right, the story was clearly given much greater prominence than other, similar corporate scandals because of Enron CEO Kenneth Lay's status as one of George W. Bush's top financial supporters. Even as you read this, political advertisements are no doubt being written or filmed somewhere tying your senator or representative to Jack Abramoff.

AS YOU TICK OFF THE LIST, you see that the Bush administration has taken its hits, but by and large it has not been nearly as tarred as prior two-term administrations (although its allies in Congress and in the governor's mansions have not been either as clean or fortunate). So lucky has he been that, in many cases, Bush has been blessed by scandals that may even have been politically counterproductive for Democrats.

Dan McLaughlin is a lawyer practicing in New York. He blogs on baseball and politics and is a contributing editor at