That’s what Henry Wickham at American Thinker provides in a post that begins:
If the words "swift" and "boat" must be combined and turned into a verb, then let us insist on its proper use.George Orwell would have loved Wickham’s opening, don’t you think?
The word as a verb originates from the campaign undertaken in 2004 by the Swift Boat Veterans in response to the John Kerry presidential candidacy.
The word means, or should mean, the exposure of a fraudulent autobiography of one seeking political office or public influence. It is the correction of a personal and professional record that has been selectively and dishonestly compiled, as the Swift Vets did so effectively to that of John Kerry.
Although swiftboating may be a neologism, there are other recent examples of this phenomenon. Justus Reid Werner, in a seminal Commentary article, exposed the fraudulent life story created by Edward Said to advance his political agenda. Dan Rather's macho claims to be an "ex-marine", when he did not finish marine basic training, were also revealed to be fraudulent. This is swiftboating in its truest sense.Now, about this paragraph we've just read: IMO leftists will hate it, don't you think?
And speaking of leftists, Wickham says:
The Left is now redefining and, therefore, misusing the term swiftboating, and this misuse has become one of the many notable aspects of the 2008 presidential campaign. Democratic candidates and their partisans in the blogosphere use this word to mean smearing their candidates for public office with lies and innuendo.I’m with Wickham, except I’d have worked in some examples of MSM “redefining.” There’s plenty of it.
For some blog sites, the word is now synonymous with "screeds," the "politics of smear and fear," and "character assassination of proven effectiveness." Recently, some candidates have angrily declared that they will not be swiftboated.
Back to Wickham:
To understand better the origins of this term and the actual meaning of swiftboating, one can do no better than to read To Set the Record Straight, How Swift Boat Veterans, POWs, and the New Media Defeated John Kerry, by Scott Swett and Tim Ziegler.There’s more to Wickham’s post and I encourage you to read it all.
In 2004 John Kerry chose to make his service in Vietnam as a supposed war hero the centerpiece of his presidential campaign. In a scene now reminiscent of Groucho Marx's addresses to Fredonians in Duck Soup, who can forget John Kerry's infamous "reporting for duty" speech to the Democratic Convention in 2004?
This strategy adopted by Kerry actually made sense when one examines his time-serving and singularly undistinguished career in the Senate. Here is a man who ran for President for no reason other than he could afford to.
To Set the Record Straight chronicles the actions of the galvanized Swift Vets and their campaign to expose the fabrications of John Kerry. In far more detail than can be mustered in campaign television ads or press releases, this book documents Kerry's scant service record in Vietnam and his disgraceful behavior after he returned to the United States. We see a more thorough account of:
• Kerry's dubious "wounds" and purple hearts,
• his night under attack in Cambodia that could not have happened,
• the "heroic" rescue on the Bay Hap River that had little in common with the account of Kerry's colleagues or the physical evidence,
• Kerry's highly publicized and false claims of wide-spread genocide perpetrated by American soldiers in Vietnam,
• the usefulness of his 1971 Senate testimony to the North Vietnamese as a device to demoralize American POWs.
These accounts and the examination of the facts and circumstances compiled by the Swift Vets set the record straight as well as can now be done. (John Kerry still refuses to release all of his military records, despite promising to do so.)
These corrective accounts of the Swift Vets are compelling and are the very definition of swiftboating.
The term deserves the positive connotation of "whistle-blowing."
Saturday I posted concerning one instance of an MSM reporter’s wide of the mark characterization of the Swift Vets. The post’s here.
Wickham’s done a much, much better job than I did of laying out the truth about the Swift Vets.
I plan to send him an email telling him that.
If you go to his post, you’ll see at its end a link that sets up an addressed email to him.