to attack an anti-war politician on the basis of their military service record
"Man, did they swiftboat Murtha."
to distort history for political purposes, especially in a vicious personal attack
The upcoming ABC documentary 'The Path to 9/11' is expected to swiftboat the Clinton administration, accusing it of ignoring the terrorist threat.
to attack opponents and critics, especially by using unfair practices and deception
Maybe he'll even call off the right-wing attack machine so it won't Swift-boat the Katrina survivors who emerge to ask tough questions as it has Cindy Sheehan and those New Jersey widows who had the gall to demand a formal 9/11 inquiry.
The phrase "swift boat" describes a Vietnam-era patrol boat, but it is increasingly being used to describe the political tactic of using a concentrated media effort to discredit a person or idea.
The phrase developed out of the 2004 U.S. presidential election, when a group called "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" attempted to suggest that Democratic candidate John Kerry lied in order to earn two Purple Hearts and a Bronze Star during the Vietnam War. The group, as it turns out, was funded primarily by people who also frequently donated millions of dollars to the Republican party. Swift Boat Veterans for Truth was formed for the sole purpose of discrediting Kerry's Vietnam War service and has not been heard from since the end of the election.
From Wired magazine: "Phrases like 'junk science' and 'sound science' are creations of the right in its effort to 'swift boat' research it doesn't like."
the act of exposing something true, but unpleasant or politically inconvenient about a progressive.
refers to the swiftboat veterans for truth. when john kerry attempted to capitalize on his brief service in vietnam, a group comprised of all but a handful of veterans who served in the same combat area of operations and mos came forward to underline what a bullshitter kerry was. among other things, they demonstrated that kerry didn't earn his combat medals, lied about christmas in cambodia, and seemingly only enlisted so he could turn directly around and participate in an effort to brand all veterans as war criminals.
the term has since been turned into a generic pejorative for any revelation about a public progressive which progressives can't dismiss on a factual basis. the idea is to name the "crime" of telling the truth about progressives on the same axiomatic level as "theft" or "rape". progressives are implicit totalitarians who don't like having their authority challenged.
"now they're trying to swiftboat bernie ward by publishing the chat transcript in which he talked about having his daughter blow his son in front of him."
To bravely expose the lies and manipulations of a powerful person seeking to achieve self promotion based on a falsified personal history and thereby prevent the success of his or her deception.
It took a lot of guts to go up against the lying billionaire, but they were able to swiftboat his dreams of taking over the country.
To thwart a conspiracy to deceive the public by getting the facts out on someone despite a concerted effort on the part of the media to ignore and/or actively discredit a politically inconvenient truth.
ABC's false stories were unable to prevent the veteran's group from being able to swift boat Kerry's Vietnam fantasy.