Abandon Ship: How the Left Sunk the Swiftboating of Barack Obama

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?”
Arends, “Yes.”
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.

Image: OneGoodMove

38 Replies to “Abandon Ship: How the Left Sunk the Swiftboating of Barack Obama”

  1. This guy is talking in circles. He wasn’t sure at all where he was at the end.

    Good expose

  2. Great piece, Sarah, and thanks to Alan Colmes for sticking it to this guy.

    But will the people who need to hear this hear (or read) it? Or will people be buffaloed by this character as they were by the original Swift Boaters in 2004?

    How do we get this article and the Colmes interview out to the people who need to hear it?

  3. The best example of PBO taking sole credit for OBL’s demise was depicted by his visit to SEAL Team Six shortly after the mission occurred. What a way to take complete credit by personally congratulating the persons who actually carried out the mission!

  4. this is a perfect example of what the far right does.
    1st Arennds says he believes in transparency, and in the next second he refuses to say who is funding him. he is an organization of 1 paid employee, himself, who says he has a dozen volunteers.
    He says he doesn’t want to attack the president several times then proceeds to attack the president, commander in chief, in The Time Of War, as the conservative talk show hosts like to say.
    He admits he is swiftboating the president then says he is not talking bad about the Commander in Chief!
    This is just another Obama hater with out a real beef.
    He says Obama is diminishing the Navy Seals, but every time president Obama is saying how much thanks he owes to the members of the military. NEVER ONCE has This President talked bad about the military!
    Ande, if he wants the military to cut some expenses, compare the amount we spend on the military and what any and all other countries spend on their militaries. we spend 607 billion, then next most is China at 61 billion.
    I got this figure from the heritage foundation.
    So he is not trying to do away with it or even do more than take a razor thin slice of the budget for austerity.

  5. Ms. Sarah, You nail it. Now is the time to swift boat Mitt the Mouse Romney. Ain’t that right? WWW

  6. Thanx sarah. Joel might end up in deep doo doo. He signed the same papers my husband did. He knows what a traitor he is.

  7. The repub shit is not being swallowed whole like it was before. We are speaking out against them and will be more and more forceful in the future. Bring It assholes.

  8. Damn, Son of Swift Boat got massively pwned by Alan Freaking Colmes. I’d say he should hang his head in shame if I thought he were capable of shame.

  9. FTA- 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’.”

    Nails it.

  10. I heard this interview live the other night. It was fantastic. Alan Colmes was right on. However, the headline on this article should say, “How the left sank (not sunk) the swiftboating…” (Sorry, just my English major coming out — and doesn’t anyone proofread anymore?)
    I really enjoy his program, all the righties who get ginned up on right wing radio all day call up and spew their ridiculous talking points, it’s pretty amusing. He takes it to them, too! Love him.

  11. Rove has nine lives. Should be behing bars for outing a CIA agent. Today living in this country where propaganda even though lies are tolerated. In some country’s he would be worm food after being lined up against a wall.

  12. I say their ” .. Credible Navy Seal(S)…” is
    the ex Gov. of Minn.

    Mr. Jesse himself.

    Ignore the 20 years he’s been out of the service.

  13. Well I certainly thought the questions Mr. Colmes asked were very good and he didn’t let this man get away with anything. I wish all reporters would go after their guests this way when they are doing this kind of thing and just blatantly lying. I’m tired of the media being so timid with these people. I agree with the other posters as well – this was a great article and everyone should read it! (Other journalists should read it, too, to understand how to conduct a good interview!)

  14. “Fool me once, shame on you. Shame me twice, shamed on me. This “swiftboating” has run its course. Next?

  15. The Repubs have to realize, President Barack Obama is no Senator John Kerry. Senator Kerry did not fight back, he did not defend himself.
    ON the other hand, President Barack Obama is a brilliant fighter. While the Repubs are playing checkers, President Barack Obama is playing chess….Checkmate!

  16. These RW swiftboaters are such pathetic c0wards. Alan Colmes rips this moron to shreds. Hey swiftboater: bush let bin laden go when he was cornered in Tora Bora, then said he didn’t care where he was. Your lame BS isn’t going to work. STFU & GTFO.

  17. Either sank or sunk is simple past. See grammar geek.
    Arends is a lying scumbag making trouble for real heroes.

  18. Great job Sara and good going on the part of Alan Colmes as well. THAT is a journalist who was prepared to interview his subject. This swiftboat crap is just unamerican. The right cries about the marine who was discharged for talking against Obama but anyone who spoke against Bush was not patriotic. They hypocrisy astounds me, I would not be able to show my face in public if I were like that. Just shameful

  19. They’re so against cutting defense spending even for weapons that are obsolete and others like the F-35 that will wind up costing us 1.1 trillion dollars and hardly any more superior than the other jet fighters, especially since the physics for it aren’t being translated too well from the drawing board to the aircraft. Then, Republicans scream, “you’re short-changing our troops!” Yeah, like not getting them body armor and adequate shielding for their vehicles and cutting down on veteran services isn’t short-changing them. I’d say they’re not being served by having to ride in an assault helicopter known as the “Widow Maker.” But, then, Republicans have never been known to put military lives over the profits of defense contractors.

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