Veterans for a Strong America: A Portrait of Low Rent Swift Boating

May 07 2012 Published by under Featured News, Republican Party

Sometimes when you see a video or a commercial, it is a good idea to learn something about the source.  Take, for example, Veterans for a Strong America, the Swift Boaters who are pimping just one of the anti-Obama fictions ever so carefully constructed by the nutzo right. Their latest video is a pretty desperate attempt to use the killing of bin Laden against the President.

Just to give you a clue of their place on the sanity spectrum, Veterans for a Strong America thinks Allen West is just awesome. The organization’s Chairman and Executive director is a Joel Arends.

While claiming to be non-partisan on the “about us” page,

“America is safe – when America is strong.Veterans for a Strong America is a non-partisan action organization dedicated to educating the public, members of Congress and the Executive Branch about our 5 Step Mission to make America Strong:”

The site’s home page also makes this precious statement.

“By joining V4A now you will be taking an active role in changing our politics and protecting our conservative rights.”

Now that statement just screams, “non-partisan” doesn’t it. If this sounds vaguely familiar, you are right.  The Koch financed Tea Party also claimed to be a non-partisan, grassroots organization while it was in knee deep with the Koch brothers money and the Republican Party operatives.

Just who is Joel Arends?   In short, he is someone with a long list of credentials with the “non-partisan” Republican Party and those grass roots, seed money providers — the Koch Brothers.

Arends served in Iraq 2003-2005 before embarking on the road to “grass roots” activism, corporate style.  Aside from Veterans For a Stronger America, he lists  as a company website on his linkedin profile.

Arends is not a SEAL, though he would love to recruit some for his organization. He is a veteran of Swift Boating.  In 2008, he ran swift boat ads for a group called Vets for Freedom.

He is one of those conservatives who hates Government but will happily accept taxpayer dollars to provide travel money while he masquerades as a journalist to “report” on Iraq from a Republican point of view.

Here  is a list of his “articles” for the National Review.

According to sourcewatch Arends worked as a “consultant” for the Koch Brothers front group, Americans for Prosperity and was a paid staffer for the McCain campaign.

The Tea Party ties continue to be strong enough to hang out with them on Tax day as you can see from this tweet by Veterans for a Strong America.


@V4SA Will be hanging out with the First Coast Tea Party in JAX FL on Tax Day honoring patriots past & present.

Retweeted by Joel Arends

Arends’ low rent propaganda piece accusing the President of politicizing bin Laden’s death really isn’t anything new.  It’s about trying to turn one of the President’s strengths into a weakness.  It’s straight out of the Karl Rove handbook on political strategy. So, it also comes as no surprise that Karl just loves the video as reflected in this comment on twitter:

Karl Rove@KarlRove

Powerful ad from @v4sa “Obama Spikes the Bin Laden Football”

Sure, Veterans for a Strong America is a non-partisan and grass roots organization and I’m the Easter bunny.

Just as important as the information we know, is the information that we don’t know.  According to Think Progress:

“In an interview with ThinkProgress, Arends refused to discuss any information regarding how the group was financed or its leadership. Arends also declined to provide legal forms he claims to have filed with the IRS. A representative from the IRS told ThinkProgress that the agency does not have any forms from Arends’ group on file.” (my bold for emphasis)

Aside from his long standing involvement with the Republican Party, and the Koch brothers, Arends has some ties to Islamophobes like Frank Gaffney and William “Jerry” Boykin.

The truth of the matter is very straightforward.  The GOP is suffering from the political version of penis envy because Obama accomplished in 2 and one half years what the Bush Administration couldn’t get done in 8 years.  While he was campaigning in 2008, Barack Obama promised that bin Laden would be taken out, upon learning his location and if the government of Pakistan was unwilling to do so. It happened.

Then there’s the added aggravation that Obama kept this promise.   Even George W. Bush was gracious enough to recognize that  bin Laden was found and killed on Obama’s watch and that the President deserved congratulations.  That means, Obama does get credit for making it happen. Yes, the SEALS executed a plan that was approved by the President of the United States. There is nothing unusual about this and there is nothing exploitative about it.

Republicans know it.  But, they also know the old bag of tricks won’t work anymore.  With bin Laden gone, their claims that Obama can’t keep America safe look foolish.  They can’t successfully claim that Obama and Democrats are soft on National Security.  So they have to resort the old bag of dirty tricks, like Swift Boating.

It’s also ironic that the GOP claims the President is running away from his record, while accusing him of simultaneously using it for political gain.

The reality is this is what Republican campaigns look like.  It is low rent and the stench is so intense that you need a gas mask to get anywhere near it.

Image from buzzfeed

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