Today Barack Obama accused John McCain of launching "Swift boat-style attacks" on him for pointing out (and thank goodness somebody has) Obama's cozy relationship with unrepentant, America-bombing terrorist Bill Ayers.
I've heard other Democrats use this as a pejorative as well--"Swift-boating." My question is, what do they mean by "Swift boat-style attacks?" I assume they must be referring to the media campaign in the 2004 election by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. In case you've forgotten, that was the humongous group of hundreds of veterans who personally served with John Kerry in Vietnam, who witnessed his actions there and pointed out that he was systematically lying about his experiences. How is this somehow a slam against what McCain is doing?
Judging by what the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth actually did, I must assume that when Obama accuses McCain of launching "Swift-boat style attacks," what he's actually condemning is "telling the truth about my past, possibly using massive numbers of actual witnesses," since that's precisely what the Swift-boat veterans did with John Kerry.
Democrats have also tried this with the infamous Willie Horton ad that George Bush 41 ran against Michael Dukakis in 1988. Invocation of the name "Willie Horton" is now supposed to make us gasp with horror at the dirty politics Bush supposedly employed. In reality, Dukakis was running on his supposedly stupendous prison reform program in Massachusetts, and the ad pointed out that part of Dukakis' program involved giving weekend passes from prison to extremely dangerous criminals. One of those criminals was Willie Horton, who'd been convicted of robbery and murder after stabbing a boy 19 times and leaving him to bleed to death in a trash can. Horton had been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for that crime (and Dukakis opposed the death penalty, by the way.) Dukakis "innovative" system gave Horton at least ten weekend passes from prison. While on one of those weekend passes, Horton (not all that surprisingly) broke into the home of a young couple, raping the woman twice and binding, gagging, and stabbing her fiancée. The whole episode lasted over seven hours.
Every single word of the ad was absolutely true (though wildly understated considering the magnitude of the crime), and in reality, the prison furlough program was and is an utter blight on Dukakis' record, certainly disqualifying him as any kind of "justice reformer" as he was trying to claim at the time. So how is it that the phrase "Willie Horton" is now somehow seen as a slam on Bush 41 and Republicans? It ought to stand as a monument to the everlasting shame of liberal notions of criminal rehabilitation.
Incidentally, as far as the supposed "racist" component of the Horton ad, here's a little trivia question: do you know who was the first person to bring up the prison furlough issue against Dukakis? That's right. It was that noted racist Al Gore, running against Dukakis in the Democratic presidential primaries that year.
So instead of somehow being cowed by claims of "Swift-boat attacks," I hope Republicans will have the guts to stand up and say, "Oh, you mean factual attacks in which the truth is told? Where the candidate's proven historical activities and associations are actually brought into the forefront by lots of people with impeccable credentials and the candidate is held responsible for them despite pronounced media silence? Yes, that is exactly what we're doing."