Joel Arends, [Vets for a Strong America's] founder, chairman, and sole staffer, tells me he's proud of his organization's viral video, even if it's characterized as swift boating. "Yes, it's the swift boating of the president, in the sense of using what's perceived to be his greatest strength and making it his greatest weakness."It's hilarious enough that this would-be swift boater actually describes his goal as being the "swift boating of the president," but the best part of the statement is that instead of making Obama's greatest strength his greatest weakness, Arends is actually just reminding people again of one of President Obama's most significant achievements.
The key thing to remember here is that when the swift boaters went after John Kerry, they were accusing him of fraud. They were saying that Kerry did not actually deserve the honors that he had been awarded. They said he lied about his service. And if their charges were actually true, they would have been damning.
Arends is accusing President Obama of taking sole credit for having killed bin Laden. That's an absurd and false claim, but even if it weren't, Arends isn't challenging that bin Laden was killed under Obama's watch. If this were really Kerry-style swift boating, Arends would be claiming that bin Laden was still alive. He'd be demanding a death certificate.
And if the Kerry swift boaters had made the argument Arends is making, they wouldn't have challenged what Kerry did in Vietnam, they'd have merely complained about how his campaign talked about it. You can imagine how ineffective that line of attack would have been: "We acknowledge that John Kerry is war hero, but we believe he shouldn't brag about it." But swift boaters didn't take that line of attack because they didn't want to concede that Kerry had done anything heroic.
So when Arends runs an ad accusing President Obama of refusing to share credit for ordering the Osama bin Laden raid, the worst possible outcome is that some of the people who watch the ad don't realize it's a lie and as a result walk away thinking President Obama is kind of a dick. But even if that happens, at least they'll still think he's the dick who killed bin Laden.