In a fundraising email sent out this week, Illinois Senator Barack Obama has accused his opponent, Senator Hillary Clinton, of “Swift Boat Style Tactics” in an obvious misuse of the term that became popular after the 2004 defeat of Democrat John Kerry.
The campaign email makes note of ABC’s report on the group American Leadership Project, set up to promote Hillary Clinton, but prohibited from coordinating with her campaign.
The email states,
“The so-called "American Leadership Project" will take unlimited contributions from individuals and is organized the same way as the infamous Swift Boat Veterans for Truth.
Groups like this are forbidden from working primarily for the purpose of electing or defeating a candidate.
This raises a number of legal and ethical issues, but more than anything it reveals an attitude towards politics as a game that is played to win at all costs.
Americans are ready for change. We are tired of Swift Boat-style groups and smear campaigns.”
The Senator’s email seemed to cautiously and conspicuously avoid criticizing another well known group, Moveon.org, a group set up to promote Democrat’s
The Swift Boat Veterans for Truth were a group of over 250 Highly Decorated Viet Nam Combat Veterans exercising their constitutional right to organize against a candidate they felt Unfit for Command due to their time served either with the candidate or his anti-war actions committed after an abbreviated tour and were comprised of members of all political persuasions. Contrary to common perceptions, they were neither affiliated with the GOP as a group nor supported President Bush as a group.
They were later joined by former POWs (Prisoners of War) who had their own bone to pick with Senator John F. Kerry. The POW group included two recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor, America’s highest award for Valor in Combat.
The term “Swift Boating” became popular after Senator Kerry’s defeat in the 2004 election, largely credited to the actions of the Swiftboat Veterans and POWs for Truth with the defeated Democrats desperately trying to associate the term with political smear tactics. That inappropriate use and smear of these Highly Decorated Combat Veterans is what is really “Dishonest and Dishonorable.”
Far from a smear tactic, Swiftboating a politician aptly means: swiftboat - vt. To reveal the essence of a defective person. To shine truth on a lie or lies. To reveal an inconvenient truth a politician desires to keep hidden. swiftboat-ed, swiftboat-ing.
Thanks to the bravery of these aging Veterans, America was saved from a political opportunist occupying the White House.
Senator Obama and the Democrats should be deeply ashamed for their actions taken to smear such Honorable Veterans. If the Junior Senator from Illinois feels smeared perhaps a more appropriate term would be “Clintonized,” as the dirty tactics of the former first couple are widely known.
America’s Veterans, the same Veterans Democrats constantly remind us they support so much, deserve better then to be continually smeared for exercising their own constitutional rights, rights they fought for others to have as well.
The impact this group has had is apparent in the constant smearing of them nearly four years later, even though the group “stood down” shortly after the 2004 elections. Their story has been published in a book, To Set The Record Straight: How Swift Boat Veterans, POWs and the New Media Defeated John Kerry, recently.
Above all, it is time the Democrats stopped smearing Highly Decorated and Honorable Combat Veterans that exercise their own constitutional rights.