Yes he is an authentic American hero. Whether he is exactly right here is a matter of opinion, and I beleive most patriotic American conservatives are of the opinion that he is dead wrong here.
And that's exactly the way the discussion should be framed. Confront people directly on the strength of their arguments, not indirectly with snipy attacks on their service to this country. Even though Kerry was shameless with his "band of brothers" traveling show, the "swift boaters" were out of line - in trying to degrade Kerry's service, they were also attacking the honorable service of others.
I disagree with a previous poster that the "swift boaters" were what prevented a Kerry presidency - KERRY HIMSELF prevented a Kerry presidency. Even his old friend Fritz Hollings lamented that Kerry's positions were so nebulous that "I couldn't see anything there.."
The lameness of their political views are plenty enough to beat them - no one should have to stoop to dishonoring ANYONE's service.