I think it's fair to say, with at least two big data points now in front of us (John Kerry in 2004 and Barack Obama in 2012; one could also throw in Bill Clinton, 1992 and 1996), that the Swiftboating of Democratic presidential candidates by aggrieved right-wing retired military people is a phenomenon that's not going to go away.
The Swiftboating worked brilliantly against the eponymous former Swift Boat captain John Kerry, a Silver Star-decorated war hero who somehow came out looking less tough than a GOP president who had spent the Vietnam War guarding Texas and a vice president who had dodged the draft five times. That's partly because Kerry, eternally anguished about his Vietnam service, failed to fight back in time against the appalling slurs on his record made by these military malefactors.
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