It turns out that Joel Arends, the Chairman of Swiftboating 2012 style’s “Veterans for a Strong America” and creator of the viral “Obama spiked the bin Laden football” video, is exactly what he accuses the President of being. He has politicized the Navy SEALS and exploited those who actually were on the bin Laden mission, even though not one of them are currently involved in his organization.
You know Joel, he’s the “non-partsian” (wink wink) Iraq War vet acting as the front man for the super-secret, stealthy corporate cowards who Swiftboat Democrats every election cycle because they can’t win on the issues.
This time, Joel is pretending to represent the Navy SEALS in order to Swiftboat President Obama in an ad that shows shots of soldiers while accusing Obama of being “shameless” and “despicable” for politicizing the success of the bin Laden raid.
Watch here as Alan Colmes destroys Arends’ talking points, courtesy of Fox Radio:
Watch the latest video at video.foxnews.com
Joel Arends started off talking to Colmes trying sound reasonable by saying he and his “organization” have no problem with the President ordering the raid on bin Laden, but the President “spiked the football” by taking credit for the successful mission.
Colmes pointed out that if Obama had ordered the raid and it had gone bad, the Right would have attacked him like they did Jimmy Carter.
Joel refused to concede that point, claiming that he couldn’t argue a “hypothetical” but pivoted to his talking points. He claimed they are throwing a penalty flag on President Obama for “engaging in extensive celebration at the expense of the Navy SEALS and the American intelligence community–”
Alan interrupted the talking points to ask, “Ah, what do you mean at the expense? How is at the expense? And I didn’t see any extensive celebration. I don’t see him landing in a flight suit à la Top Gun on an aircraft carrier saying ‘Mission Accomplished’.”
Arends responded sounding slightly defensive, “Our ad was in response to President Obama’s ad. And -”
Colmes, “Did it bother you that George W Bush got into a flight suit and landed on an aircraft carrier and said ‘Mission accomplished’ years before the end of the Iraq war?”
Arends, “Well the President never said ‘Mission accomplished’ that was –
Colmes, “No that was on a sign that the White House constructed. A sign constructed in the basement of the White House. Why is there a double standard like this?”
Arends, “Well, I can’t answer that Alan.”
Arends then went on to list Obama’s alleged “failures”. As partial evidence of Obama’s failed policies, Arends accused the President of missing an opportunity for unity by turning the bin Laden raid into a “divisive issue.” We remember well all of the Republicans making the rounds on TV to thank President Bush for President Obama getting bin Laden — such patriotic unity. What a shame Obama had to go and destroy all of that “unity.”
Colmes, “Actually it’s the opposite…. This is just an effort on your part to in your own words ‘Swiftboat’ this President.'”
Colmes then dove into the Mother Jones article that revealed that Arends is the sole member of his “organization”. Arends denied that he is the only member, but said he is the “sole paid staffer.”
Colmes, “So, you’re an organization of one, really.” (Grassroots, baby!)
Arends, “We actually have a dozen volunteers that show up every day and have for the last six months… What you’re gong to be seeing in the coming months is a number of very credible former Navy SEALS coming out to discuss these issues.”
(Note that Arends does not have these “former Navy SEALS” now, but they are coming and the check is in the mail. He had no problem speaking for them though.)
Colmes, “So, you’re trying to take an issue most of the country supports- the killing of bin Laden, and you’re trying to find Navy SEALS who will come out – just like they did with John Kerry – and bad mouth the Commander in Chief.”
Arends, getting nervous and if you’re in the military you know why, “We don’t want to bad mouth the Commander in Chief.”
Colmes, “Sure you do! At least be honest about what you’re doing.”
Arends, “We respect his office but we disagree with his policies.”
Colmes, “Was the policy to get bin Laden a good one?”
Arends should have given up here, because then Alan came in for the kill, “Let me ask you, of the Navy SEALS you’re trying to get to come out against the President, were any of them part of the raid?”
Arends, audible swallow, “Um, we have former members of SEAL Team Six -”
Colmes, “Were any of them members of the raid on bin Laden?”
Arends, “We don’t know yet.”
So, these “veterans” Swiftboating Obama were not even on the raid. In essence, Arends is taking ownership of the Navy SEALS mission and assuming that he speaks for the Navy SEALS team that actually did the work.
Pop goes Arends’ entire premise that exploiting the SEALS for political gain is bad since he is the one actually doing just that.
Then, Arends insinuated that the guys who are on active duty right now do support his organization but he doesn’t want to put them at risk by making them go on record. “We don’t want to put them in the position of going up against the Commander in Chief.”
Of course this is exactly what Arends just did; Arends just put the real Navy SEALS from that mission in a very compromising position by claiming they agree with him but they just can’t come forward.
Colmes, “Please don’t tell me you’re not doing exactly what you are doing.”
Arends, “We’re not trying to get current members of Navy Team Six to come out -”
Arends then doubled down on the usual Koch funded Tea fable, saying he wasn’t going to be intimidated by the left wing hate machine, he and his little organization just getting its start still deserve a seat at the table because of the free speech and the heroes, yada yada yada.
Arends, “I don’t want to speak out against the President…. We are worried about his conduct. We’re worried about his taking credit for this -”
Colmes summed it up, “You’re okay speaking out against the Commander in Chief.”
Arends, “He’s diminishing the accomplishments of the SEALS.”
(Conceding that Obama took a risk does not diminish the accomplishments of the SEALS in the real world. It’s called leadership, and it’s exactly what the CIC is supposed to do.)
Alan then brought it home, asking, “Do you believe in transparency?”
Colmes, “Who is funding you?”
Arends, “We have a policy not to disclose that.”
Arends explained that transparency is for the government. Of course, since we live in the days of Citizens United and the Koch brothers, it could be argued that he is a function of government, but no matter. He does not believe in transparency for his organization.
This is the same Arends who posed as a “journalist” and “organized and participated in a taxpayer-subsidized propaganda trip to Iraq.”
So, using taxpayer money to politicize our troops was a-okay with the Swiftboater in 2008 and obviously, he hasn’t awoken from his moral coma yet.
The 2012 Swiftboater is just one fringy dude, claiming to speak for the Navy SEALS when he was never one and doesn’t currently have any of the SEALS from the raid involved in his organization.
That’s rather important distinction. Sure, any well funded organization can round up bitter ex SEALS or bitter ex anythings to complain about something, but since Arends is complaining about a mission he wasn’t even on, it makes him look like the glory hound he is accusing the President of being.
I want to know why Arends is taking ownership for a mission he didn’t even participate in, and why he’s are acting as if he speaks for all Navy SEALS. Sure, Arends served his country, but then so did John Kerry and Max Cleland.
The difference between using the armed services to attack John Kerry and doing it to a sitting president hasn’t really sunk in yet with Joel — but it will.
Alan Colmes just sunk Arends’ Swiftboat. What Joel is doing is undermining the authority of the Commander in Chief and putting words in the mouths of those currently serving — all because he thinks Obama shouldn’t have taken quite so much credit. The left is on to the Swiftboater, and this isn’t 2004.
Oh, “shameless and despicable” Joel — the hubris, the stench of unpatriotic Koch tea — it burns.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.