Glenn Beck Is Still Smearing Van Jones, Even After Jones Takes High Road Preaching 'Love' for Fox Host
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For Beck, who knows nothing about Tuskegee or the well-documented tradition of which it is a part, it is just another bit of radical nonsense spouted by America's black nationalist enemies within. "I only have a staff of seven," Beck said proudly after airing the Jones and Wright clips. "And all of a sudden we can come up with these things. Gee, you'd think the FBI or the president of the United States would surely be able to find these things."
Then there was a snippet from a speech that Jones gave at the 2009 PowerShift conference, a volunteer environmental organization consisting mostly of college kids. It was a vague and boring speech, panned at the time by many greens, in which Jones discussed the need for a new energy grid. In one section, he spoke of a "new system" in the following terms:
This movement is deeper than a solar panel. Deeper than a solar panel. Don't stop there. Don't stop there. No, we're going to change the whole system. We're going to change the whole thing. We're not going to put a new battery in a broken system. We want a new system. We want a new system.
What did Jones mean by a "new system"? The answer was always as near to Beck as the local bookstore. Had Beck possessed a shred of genuine interest in Jones' current political views, he could have simply read Jones' best-selling 2008 book, The Green Collar Economy , in which the author argues that the government's role in building a green economy is "strategic and limited." The ultimate purpose of government involvement, Jones explains, is to spur new and lasting growth in the private sector.
"We need open markets," Robert F. Kennedy Jr. writes in the book's foreword. "The energy sector needs an initiative analogous to the 1996 Telecommunications Act [that] instantly precipitated the historic explosion in telecom activity." Jones then builds on Kennedy's foreword, describing in detail the "pivotal role" to be played by entrepreneurs and venture capitalists, whose voices fill The Green Collar Economy.
The paperback edition of Jones' book hit the stores in June, shortly before Beck unveiled Kerpen's "watermelon hypothesis." In a funny coincidence of timing, Jones' book joined Beck's Common Sense on new-release displays in bookstores across the country during the early summer of 2009. With their looming battle in mind, the books make for an interesting contrast.
Common Sense features repeated pleas to readers not to engage in violence; The Green Collar Economy features repeated pleas to readers to get involved in their communities and learn about energy policy. Common Sense refers to Beck's political opponents as cockroaches, vermin, and cancers; The Green Collar Economy argues rationally for bipartisan cooperation, broad coalition-building, and public-private partnerships. Common Sense is a jumble of clichés and emotional appeals about "what feels right"; The Green Collar Economy logically lays out an argument in extensive technical and historical detail.
Perhaps the most revealing contrast between the two books is found in their appendices. The Green Collar Economy ends with a fifteen-page compendium of more than one-hundred supplementary resources that include university research centers, think tanks, nonprofit groups, and private companies. Common Sense points readers to the Beck-affiliated Web site of the 9.12 Project and a mere ten suggested titles, no less than four of which are revisionist works of religious pseudo-history that feature the byline of the batshit crazy conspiracy crank Willard Cleon Skousen.
Had Beck ever invited Jones onto his show, the two men might have talked at length about what Jones means by "changing the system" and why that phrase currently sits squarely within mainstream discourse on energy policy.