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5 Reasons Why Van Jones and Progressives are Better Off With Jones Out of the White House

The truth is, progressives need Van Jones working on the outside providing vision and leadership, not on the inside with his mouth buttoned.

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Jones Will Be Stronger

Some may think that the relentless red-baiting and piling up of distortions and lies by the right-wing media machine might leave Jones politically wounded. I doubt it.

Fame is a valuable commodity in our society. And now, it is clear that Jones is a celebrity. In a short time, people will have a hard time remembering exactly what made Jones famous, but famous he will be. And he will have a major pulpit -- thanks to his oratory gifts and to how the media treats notorious celebs.

There is a long history of political resurrection in America. Remember that the Rev. Al Sharpton was sued for slander and ordered to pay $345,000 in damages after he was deemed guilty for making defamatory statements about the Dutchess County, N.Y., prosecutor, Steve Pagones, after Sharpton insisted in the infamous Tawana Brawley case that Brawley's fabricated story of rape was true.

And according to Wikipedia, on May 9, 2008, the Associated Press reported that Sharpton and his businesses owed almost $1.5 million in unpaid taxes and penalties. Sharpton owed $931,000 in federal income tax and $366,000 to New York, and his for-profit company, Rev. Al Communications, owed $176,000 to the state. Yet few would disagree that Sharpton is currently one of the 10 most influential African Americans in America.

Consistently, fame seems to trump radicalism and scandal.

Yes, Jones was a leader in the retro-named, radical group STORM: Standing Together to Organize a Revolutionary Movement. But that is nothing compared to Germany's Joschka Fischer. Fisher was able to become foreign minister, despite the fact that Fischer was a leader of a radical group called the Putzgruppe, which had fought in several violent street battles with the police.

A series of photographs taken at a street battle in 1973 clearly show Fischer clubbing a policeman, to whom Fischer later apologized. This was but one of a range of politically radical acts by Fischer.

Seeing what happens next in the trajectory of Jones will be very interesting. But the betting on this end is that Jones will return to his role as visionary leader of progressive forces, and he will be in a stronger position to promote change, provide inspiration and rally the troops.

Don Hazen is the executive editor of AlterNet.

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