What does it take to be disowned by the respectable left? The case of Van Jones provides something of a test. Byron York conveniently summarizes the revelations that preceded his ouster as the Obama administration’s green jobs czar:
During his time in the White House, it emerged that Jones had signed a 2004 petition supporting the so-called “9/11 Truther” movement; that he was a self-professed communist during much of the 1990s; that he supported the cop-killer Mumia abu-Jamal; that in 2008 he accused “white polluters” of “steering poison into the people of color communities”; that he was affiliated with an anti-American publication called “War Times” from 2002 to 2004; that in 2005 he said, “You’ve never seen a Columbine done by a black child”; and that earlier this year he called Republicans “a–holes.”
(Jim Hoft adds a footnote to York’s summary of Jones’s record. MSNBC has deep-sixed the video cited by Hoft, but the transcript of Jones’s MSNBC appearance is available here.)
Jones is nevertheless being crowned with honors. York reports that Jones accepted the President’s Award at Friday night’s NAACP Image Awards ceremony in Los Angeles. This week Princeton also announced that it has appointed Jones a distinguished visiting fellow in the Center for African American Studies and in the Program in Science, Technology and Environmental Policy at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. Jones “will hold a one-year appointment for the 2010-11 academic year and teach a course in the spring semester focusing on environmental politics, with a special emphasis on policies that create green economic opportunity for the disadvantaged.”
Princeton describes Jones as “an environmental activist and social entrepreneur.” Tigerhawk is a Princeton alum who poses two questions, one small and one big, to his alma mater:
First, the small one. What, pray tell, is a social entrepreneur? I mean, in a respectable academic context. Obviously, Ashley Alexandra Dupre is a social entrepreneur, but I’m pretty sure that is not how Van Jones or the University flacks use the term.
Second, the big one: Why is Princeton hiring a 9/11 Truther, even for African-American Studies?
They are both good questions, and I am quite sure that neither one has a good answer.