Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Let the mudslinging begin

We take you first to Ohio, where Ken Blackwell has gone completely off the deep end.

With polls showing him so far behind that he could drag the entire Republican ticket down to defeat, Secretary of State Ken Blackwell launched an attack last week that took political discourse in Ohio to unplumbed depths.

In the last of four debates, Blackwell accused his Democratic rival for governor, Rep. Ted Strickland, of covering up for a campaign staff member who exposed himself to children and supporting the platform of NAMBLA, the North American Man/Boy Love Association.

By the week's end, the allegations had become more bizarre and outlandish.

More bizarre and outlandish? Well, yes. Not from Blackwell himself, but from two of his prominent supporters, who for some reason feel it's important to imply (or, indeed, openly speculate) that the married Strickland is gay.

The "coverup" allegation involves a staffer convicted of public indecency -- a misdemeanor -- in 1994 for exposing himself near an elementary school.

Strickland says he received an anonymous letter in 1998 during a heated campaign, asked the man about it and dropped the matter after the staffer denied it. After the campaign, the staffer accompanied Strickland on a trip to Italy. He left Strickland's staff in 1999.

Coverup? Of an incident that occurred four years previously and had nothing to do with Strickland? Criticize him for being incurious, perhaps. But then one might ask how relevant a four-year-old misdemeanor conviction is.

The NAMBLA allegation revolves around this:

But LoParo said Blackwell also questions Strickland's judgment for agreeing with NAMBLA by not supporting a congressional resolution in 1999 that condemned an article about child sexual abuse.

Strickland, a psychologist, said he disagreed with the resolution's assertion that an abused child cannot have healthy relationships as an adult.

Way to go, Blackwell. You've proven that there are still unplumbed depths of political mudslinging.

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