5 Reasons Why Van Jones and Progressives are Better Off With Jones Out of the White House
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The end of Van Jones' brief career as a White House insider, in the semi-obscure position of special adviser for green jobs at the Council on Environmental Quality, is likely good for Van Jones and very good for progressives.
Yes, currently it seems as if Fox News' Glenn Beck -- who spent the past few weeks viciously smearing Jones -- has won one. In fact, Beck has done Jones, and all of us, a mitzvah.
And considering that the White House, and for that matter Washington's liberal establishment, failed to come to his defense in the face of relentless attacks by the right-wingers at Fox (very similar to what Fox did to Barack Obama leading up to the election), Jones's liberation should make him a happy camper.
Much of Jones' broad base of fans was excited when word spread that he would be taking his prodigious talents to the White House, working on the inside to spread the gospel of green jobs. Many were surprised and pleased to see Obama, ever the centrist, willing to bring in a firebrand like Jones to shake things up.
But more than a few wondered, "Jeez, how is that going to work?" They knew that Jones, arguably the most effective communicator in Democratic and progressive politics -- and yes, that includes Obama -- was going to have to control his tongue, and in many cases shut his mouth.
Part of what made Jones popular was telling it like it is. Jones inspired audiences, especially young people, with the notion that a radical vision, combined with innovative ideas and fundamental organizing, could work in tandem with our political system.
And some also wondered, was green jobs enough when it was health care, the banks and economic crisis, the escalation in Afghanistan, and the battles with the right, that were dominating the national discourse. We knew he was the "green jobs czar," but there were 30 czars in the White House -- so many that Obama was known to joke about a show called "Dancing with the Czars."
Why was Jones going indoors, when there were big fights outdoors, all across the country?
As it turns out, the White House may have taken him in with open arms, but apparently was glad to see him go.
FireDogLake's Jane Hamsher wrote: "Now he's been thrown under the bus by the White House for signing his name to a petition expressing something that 35 percent of all Democrats believed as of 2007 -- that George Bush knew in advance about the attacks of 9/11. Well, that and calling Republicans 'assholes.' "
So where are all the statements defending Van Jones by those who were willing to exploit him when it served their purpose? Why aren't they standing up and defending one of their own, who has done nothing that probably the majority of people in the Democratic Party haven't done at one time or another? Is he no longer "one of their own?"
So yes, Jones tried the inside, but now he's back on the outside. Here are five reasons why we are all better off:
1. Now a He's Household Name: Beck has increased Jones' visibility and name recognition immeasurably. Although he has been wildly popular in progressive circles, and a headliner at progressive conferences like Take Back America and the Netroots Nation, Jones was still a relative unknown for the population at large. Now he has a national stage.
2. He's Been Rescued From Obscurity: Special adviser to the Council for Environmental Quality. Hmm. That doesn't quite have the ring of power and influence. Jones took one for the team by taking an obscure position in the first place. And he took another one for the team by realizing quickly that the right-wing smear campaign against him was going to be a distraction.