and the difficulty of being a maverick
It is so hard to be individual in a nation of 300 million individualists. Apparently lots of other people were not amused by Foley and Abramoff and wanted their Republican congressmen to look into other lines of work. It can easily be argued that the country did not move left so much as it rejected the GOP.
Indeed in Connecticut, in the one election where the boxes were labeled 'left' and 'not left', Joe Leiberman won handily.
I admit I did not grasp of the significance of the Abramoff scandal. I was not impressed with the revelations that they were crooks because it had never occurred to me that they weren't. That is a limitation caused by age. I remember my father explaining to me that in Chicago a crooked politician was one who would not stay bought.