OHIO SWIFTBOATING NOT SO SWIFT. The Ohio Republican Party has fired �social conservative coordinator� Gary Lankford, the operative responsible for last week�s e-mail suggesting that Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ted Strickland and his wife are gay. Lankford�s effort to discredit Strickland proved even too embarrassing for the shameless Ohio GOP, and chair Robert Bennett gave him the boot.

Lankford, a veteran of the �values voters� crowd, once again proves that moralizing doesn�t equal morality. Lankford is also the Ohio coordinator for TeenPact, which is training teenagers to bear false witness against neightbors to �change America for Christ.� (TeenPact teenagers swarmed the Capitol when the Senate took up the bogus Federal Marriage Amendment last month.)

Just because the state GOP fired Lankford doesn�t mean the swiftboating of Strickland will end, because Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Blackwell is fully capable of handling that on his own. Blackwell, who had Lankford on his campaign payroll during the primary, recently sent out an e-mail to supporters which suggested -- as did Lankford�s e-mail -- that Strickland is not an ordained minister. (He is.) Blackwell�s e-mail read, in part, that Strickland �claims to be a minister,� doesn�t belong to a church, and rarely attends church. Sound a bit familiar? One candidate really is a minister (or a decorated war hero), and the other candidate, trying so desperately to show his faith-based credentials (or his war-time leadership) dives into the gutter to discredit his opponent�s credentials.

--Sarah Posner

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