Tea Party and Renegade Special Ops Officers Attempt to “Swiftboat” President

…A group of former special operations and C.I.A. officers started a campaign on Tuesday night accusing Mr. Obama of recklessly leaking information about the raid that killed Osama bin Laden and other security matters to gain political advantage.

The new group, called the Special Operations Opsec Education Fund, using shorthand for “operational security,” describes itself as nonpartisan, but some of its leaders have been involved in Republican campaigns and Tea Party groups. …NYT

More damning:

Chad Kolton, who was the spokesman for the director of national intelligence in the Bush administration and now represents the Opsec group, said that because it was classified as a 501(c)(4) educational group under tax laws, it was not required to identify its donors. He said the group had raised nearly $1 million since June and intended to run television and Internet ads, as well as show the video in swing states. …NYT

And the ties to the radical right and the Republican party are strong.

The Opsec group shares an office suite in Alexandria, Va., with a Republican consulting firm, the Trailblazer Group. Christian Ferry, a partner in the firm, said that he had sublet space to Opsec because it included “people I know,” but that Trailblazer had no role in the project.

Among the featured former members of the elite Navy special operations teams are Benjamin Smith, whose Facebook page identifies him as a model and actor who served in Iraq and later became a spokesman for the Tea Party Express and several Republican campaigns. Another former SEAL member, Scott Taylor, is the group’s president and ran unsuccessfully as a Republican candidate for Congress in Virginia in 2010. …NYT

They’re not getting away with it this time. The military are on President Obama’s side.

In a CNN interview last month, Adm. William H. McRaven of the Navy, who oversaw the raid as commander of the Joint Special Operations Command, said, “The president and his national security team — I’m not a political guy, but I will tell you as, as an interested observer in this — they were magnificent in how they handled it start to finish.”

He added: “At the end of the day, make no mistake about it, it was the president of the United States that shouldered the burden for this operation, that made the hard decisions, that was instrumental in the planning process, because I pitched every plan to him.” …NYT

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The Republicans are getting their knickers in a twist. What is this horrible attitude the Democrats are showing? Well, the Dems are turning back on Romney campaigners the very same treatment the Republican party doled out in ’04 and ’08 — the very same treatment Romney’s campaign used on rivals during the primaries. Ouch, Mittsi! Stings, doesn’t it!

Yes, it’s ugly out there. But is this worse than four years ago, when Obama was accused by the GOP vice presidential nominee of “palling around with terrorists”? Or eight years ago, when Democratic nominee John Kerry was accused of falsifying his Vietnam War record?

What’s different this time is that the Democrats are employing the same harsh tactics that have been used against them for so long, with so much success. They have ceased their traditional response of assuming the fetal position when attacked, and Obama’s campaign is giving as good as it gets — and then some. ...Dana Milbank, WaPo

Milbank quotes Dan Balz, a veteran political reporter, also of the Washington Post. Balz says that the “most striking” element of the campaign is “the sense that all restraints are gone, the guardrails have disappeared and there is no incentive for anyone to hold back.”

In large part, this is because the Democrats are no longer simply whining about the other side being reckless and unfair: They are being reckless and unfair themselves. …Dana Milbank. WaPo

I’m not so sure they’re being “unfair.” After all, turnabout is fair play. The Republicans’ complaints are precisely the complaints that schoolyard bullies make when someone finally hits them back. “Not fair”? No way. Finally justice is being meted out.

Milbanks writes:

It’s true that Romney is in a weak position to be complaining that the other side has been mean and nasty. He won the nomination by eviscerating his rivals with negative ads and accusations, and an ad his team aired last week that falsely claimed Obama was gutting welfare-to-work requirements injected racial politics into the campaign.

Also, many of the things Romney complains about are not unusual. Asked Wednesday morning by CBS News to explain why he thinks Obama has brought hatred into the campaign, Romney mentioned “the divisiveness based upon income, age, ethnicity and so forth. It’s designed to bring a sense of enmity and jealousy and anger.” But that’s standard fare for a presidential campaign. …Dana Milbank, WaPo

There’s every sign that Democrats are going to continue giving as good as they’ve been getting.

Cross posted from Prairie Weather

         

Author: PRAIRIE WEATHER

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12 Comments

  1. This one is really special. What kind of political advantage was Obama seeking by releasing information about the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden? Was it done just before the raid–a raid that the President wouldn’t even have known the outcome of yet? In that case I guess he risked his reputation by claiming success about something that hadn’t even happen yet. He must have taken out his political crystal ball in order to ensure that he would be correct! If the info came out after the raid, he must have been playing a game of chicken about how much he could get away with by possibly shooting himself in the foot when releasing extra info about a mission that had already been a great success and that left him with no need to enhance his own role. Did he really need to take such a risk?

    The whole thing is phonier than a two dollar bill and using the shield of a 501(c)k group to hide the identities of its donors doesn’t exactly cement their story in an affirming way. Strange how these daring patriots require a place to hide when they are funding something which, no doubt, they would say, is something they had to do in the service of truth. Quite an objective group of tea Partiers and Republican strategists there!

    Rove and others are continuing their school bully tactics by blaming their own unethical aggression on the faults of others. Didn’t we just hear Romney claim that Democrats would do anything in order to be elected? What a bunch of projecting moral cowards! Sure Obama is beginning to play dirty. Can you blame him? just ignoring bullies like this will not make their attacks go away!

    I’m sure that even though Romney was not part of Bain when he and his tactics were blamed for the death of a woman whose husband lost his job due to Bain’s greed, but I still think what his predecessors did, or the people who came after him did, is typical of those who work in hedge funds and break down some businesses in order to gain larger profits for others and their cronies. this is typical of someone who has worked at the same endeavors as Romney. Too bad we are being hateful when acting like a guy who claims his business record qualities him to be the POTUS, and then doesn’t want to be bullied or embarrassed by releasing more of his tax records. You’d think he will do any devious thing to be elected. The poor guy!

  2. There’s every sign that Democrats are going to continue giving as good as they’ve been getting.

    Well it’s about time. For ages the democrats seemed to expect the political right and far right would snap out of their self-imposed madness on thier own, as if waking from a nightmare. Of course we now we see this as a naive expectation. Also it’s clear that any such tough love will only be met with tantrums and even worse behavior. Apparently the the GOP and it’s puppet masters believe the USA is just a bigger, more sophisticated (not that the voters are sophisticated by any means) banana republic to be manipulated by any means necessary. It isn’t hard to understand why some people think the country is already lost.

  3. So, criticizing the President for leaks or sensitive national security information that occurred under his watch is off limits? Equivalent to spreading unsubstantiated rumors about a guy’s military service that happened decades earlier?

    I don’t expect any presidency to be free from error, but when the errors happen, criticism is warranted. And they are certainly “fair game” (to use the phrase I’ve come to hate) in a campaign.

    You know those former special operations officers and CIA agents. Always up to no good, raising money to get a message out and all. What do they know about national security anyway?

  4. The special ops guys have every right to form their group and put out nasty ads. Obama inc has the right to trash them right back..spend his military people out there to refute their ads. The only important part of this is that Dems are not backing down. Kerry wilted…of course. Gore didnt come out swinging. Obama is dropping nuclear bombs on Romney and will continue to do so.

    It is all fair game in politics and anyone who cries about it needs to get out of the kitchen.

  5. There’s far too much secrecy as it is. None of Obama’s released data on this op is operationally damaging. This is a weak argument. And I don’t see him taking undo credit.

    And I doubt the people have forgotten “mission accomplished” either.

  6. I have yet to understand what was “leaked”; perhaps those who are so exercised about any “leaks” could explain what they were? If they can’t, perhaps there were none?

    I have searched in vain for any military unit’s objections to President Bush’s landing on the air craft carrier because “it was used for political purposes”.

    This sounds like ODS to me; those who touted BDS for so long should be able to recognize the symptoms.

  7. “criticizing the President for leaks or sensitive national security information that occurred under his watch is off limits?”

    No, of course it’s not off limits. But that’s not what they’re doing. They don’t seem to be mentioning the Wikileaks stuff, which in my view, should be fair game if it were relevent. Instead, they’re conflating statements Obama made in public, out in the open, of the “here’s what we planned and here’s how it played out” sort, to the leaking of sensitive information. One could certainly try to make the point that what he said was damaging (although it has not proven as such), but it’s not a “leak” in any way.

  8. In large part, this is because the Democrats are no longer simply whining about the other side being reckless and unfair: They are being reckless and unfair themselves

    Yeah, I keep hearing this. What is it that the Obama administration is being reckless and unfair about again? Is it “hey Ryan likes Ayn Rand”? Or “what is in your tax returns?”? Or “maybe someone so flip about the care of his own dog might not be the best person to stick up for the rights of those less powerful than himself” thing?

  9. “So, criticizing the President for leaks or sensitive national security information that occurred under his watch is off limits?”

    This assumes that there is reason to accuse President of the United States of leaking sensitive national security information. In essence of accusing the President of treason.

    Not a petty accusation.

    Where are the fair and balanced fact checkers.

    Here, in two parts, what the Obama for truth team has to say:

    Part I:

    When President Obama took office, the U.S. was engaged in two wars and and al-Qaeda’s leader Osama bin Laden was still at large.
    As commander-in-chief, President Obama refocused our priorities on the most significant security threats to the country and on fulfilling our promises to our servicemembers. Under the President, we have eliminated more than two-thirds of al-Qaeda’s core leadership—including bin Laden.

    But a new cadre of conservative groups are trying to “Swift Boat” the President by manufacturing false attacks about his national security record. A collection of super PACs and organizations are deploying the same “discredited” and “hardball smear tactics” against President Obama that were used to attack Sen. John Kerry’s military service in 2004. Each group follows the same pattern, identifying themselves as separate, nonpartisan former U.S. military and intelligence operatives who have a “civic duty” to attack the President. But who exactly is behind these attacks?

    A closer look at each group reveals an interconnected web of Republican operatives who are launching “Swift Boat”-style smear tactics against President Obama’s national security record.

    Special Operations OPSEC Education Fund

    The partisan agenda:
    • Launch false attacks on the President over the operation that killed Osama bin Laden
    • Falsely claim President Obama is deliberately leaking national security information

    The operatives:

    • OPSEC president Scott Taylor is a failed Republican candidate who lost his campaigns for public office in 2008 and 2010.

    • Spokesman Chad Kolton worked as a spokesman for the Bush administration, the Republican National Committee, and House Speaker John Boehner. Another spokesman Fred Rustmann appeared on Fox News during the Bush administration to—ironically—downplay the significance of leaks about CIA operative Valerie Plame’s undercover status, claiming it wasn’t “a big deal.” This serious breach of national security later led to four felony convictions for Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff.

    • OPSEC member Bill Cowan actually praised President Obama for making “the tough decision” to “go after bin Laden instead of taking the easy way out” before he joined a group attacking the President for that operation.

  10. Part II:

    Special Operations Speaks

    The partisan agenda:

    • Falsely claim President Obama is deliberately leaking national security information

    The operatives:

    • Founder Larry Bailey created the Vietnam Veterans for Truth in 2004, an organization that helped generate the Swift Boat attacks on Sen. John Kerry in 2004. In 2006, he launched the Vets for the Truth PAC using the same tactics to target Democratic Rep. John Murtha.

    Veterans for a Strong America

    The partisan agenda:

    • Launch false attacks on the President over the operation that killed Osama bin Laden

    The operatives:

    • Executive Director Joe Arends worked on both the Bush and McCain presidential campaigns and ran an unsuccessful campaign as a Republican candidate for office in Iowa. He had previously served as Executive Director of Vets for Freedom, an attack group bankrolled by former Bush Administration officials that was closely tied to members of John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign.

    Special Operations for America

    The partisan agenda:

    • Launch false attacks on the President over the operation that killed Osama bin Laden

    The operatives:

    • Montana’s conservative state senator Ryan Zinke founded the Super PAC, which has stated it isdedicated to “advocating for the election of Mitt Romney and like-minded candidates,” and has partnered with Veterans for a Strong America and its leader Joel Arends. Advisory board member Paul Vallely is also a member of Special Operations OPSEC Education Fund.

    It is not surprising that the attacks these groups are launching lack any credibility. The President is committed to protecting our troops and our country’s security. The only way to mislead Americans about his record on national security is to resort to dishonest and overtly political smear campaigns that do a disservice to Americans who deserve to know the facts about the President’s record.

    As Arends said himself, “Yes, it’s the swift boating of the president.”

  11. Lol, nice Dorian.

  12. Where are the fair and balanced fact checkers.

    Here, in two parts, what the Obama for truth team has to say:

    No matter how you feel about this, hopefully we can agree you won’t find the fair and balanced fact checkers in either Obama’s or Romney’s campaign.

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