Responding to a relentless wave of Iowa attacks ads produced by a Mitt Romney-friendly Super PAC, an angry Newt Gingrich last week challenged Romney to debate the "dishonest" commercials. Over the holiday weekend, Gingrich said of the ads, "I feel Romney-boated."
As the Associated press noted:
Gingrich's nautical attack was a reference to a 2004 TV ad campaign by a group called the "Swiftboat Veterans for Truth" that bloodied Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry.
Gingrich's turn of phrase was telling. Why? Because this was Newt Gingrich, a leader of the modern-day conservative movement, presidential candidate, and proud Republican partisan adopting language that acknowledged the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth are synonymous with unsubstantiated campaign attack ads. With his "Romney-boated" comment, the former Republican Speaker of the House reinforced what progressives have been saying for years.
But wait, everyone knows the Swifties peddled slanderous lies about John Kerry, right? Everyone acknowledges their ad campaign represented a new low point in American politics, right?
For years, prominent right-wing bloggers have clung to the parallel universe belief that the Swifties were honorable men and that none of their wild Vietnam War claims about Kerry were ever debunked. Within the right-wing media, the Swift Boat Veterans are fondly remembered as heroes who "courageously told the untold truths."
Previously, from Michelle Malkin:
A reminder to conservatives: "Swift-Boating" does not equal smearing. Swift-Boating means exposing hard truths about corrupt Democrats.
Most of what the Vets said in their ads has never been disputed, let alone discredited.
From Patterico's Pontifications:
The canard that the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth was a "smear campaign" is so well accepted by Big Media that ABC NEWS feels comfortable in portraying the Swifties' ad campaign as "slanderous" and "smear ads."
On and on the denial goes as far-right bloggers cling to their Swift Boat fantasy. But now, with the likes of Newt Gingrich using the Swift Boat handle as bipartisan shorthand for claims of duplicitous campaign lies, that fantasy is being put to bed.