How to Swift Boat any person, every time

September 16, 2007 | By | 1 Reply More

Most rational people wouldn’t consider running for a prominent political office for fear of what would happen to their reputations.  Their worries are well-founded.  That is why so many people would never run for office, which serves to filter out the best and brightest potential candidates.  This filtering process endangers our democracy.

Exhibit A this concern for one’s reputation is the Swift Boating of John Kerry.  Whatever you think of Kerry’s politics, it was clear that Kerry was a young man who earnestly and bravely served his time in the military.  It is equally clear that the service record of George W. Bush is riddled with question marks.   There’s nothing like millions of dollars to turn Kerry into a questionable character and Bush into a war hero.  

But it could happen to anyone, anywhere.  Here some simple ideas for soiling the reputation of anyone running for office.  This list is by no means exhaustive.   What is important to note is that even great leaders would be vulnerable to such attacks:

Find the candidate’s youthful indiscretions and start questioning their adult judgment in light of them.

If they were in politics all their life, criticize them for being career politicians.   If they are relatively new to politics, question their lack of experience.

No matter what their religious beliefs (or lack of religious beliefs), question their sincerity.

If they are well-to-do, call them elitists.  If they are not well-to-do, call them financially unimpressive. 

If they are women or African Americans, raise questions about whether America is “ready” for them.

Pick on their physical imperfections. 

Criticize members of their family.

If they have worked too hard on the career, accuse them of failing to spend time with their families.  If they’ve spent lots of time with their families, accuse them of not being serious about their careers.

If they haven’t served in the military, argue that they are not qualified to have opinions regarding military issues.   If they have served in the military, dig up someone who served with them who didn’t get along with them.

If they are willing to act on new evidence and new consideration, call them flip-floppers.

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Category: Media, Politics, Uncategorized

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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  1. Boelf says:

    The real annoyance is that these tactics are not served up by the media uniformly. If they were Bush couldn't be elected dog catcher.

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