Obama green jobs commissar Van Jones resigned at midnight as a result of controversy over his past statements regarding 9/11 and a few other subjects. His departure is unfortunate. A self-avowed Communist and transparent hater of the United States before the Age of Obama, he was a perfect symbol of the animating spirit of the Obama administration.
Of this there should be little doubt. Jones was not a one-off nutjob. Let us recall one more time the words of Obama alter ego Valerie Jarrett bragging about Jones before a friendly audience earlier this year: “Oooh. Van Jones, alright! So, Van Jones. We were so delighted to be able to recruit him into the White House. We were watching him, uh, really, he’s not that old, for as long as he’s been active out in Oakland. And all the creative ideas he has. And so now, we have captured that. And we have all that energy in the White House.”
Jones was also a perfect symbol of the dereliction of the mainstream media in the Age of Obama. Those who rely on the New York Times for their news, for example, will learn of Jones’s departure some time soon, but it will come as a great surprise to them, and well after the shouting is over. Whatever Jones said is already heard indistinctly, like a distant echo, in the Times’s lame overnight report. Byron York’s tabulation of words devoted to the recent revelations about Jones in the mainstream media as of Friday and Saturday provided a notable marker.
Jones claimed to have been the victim of a “vicious smear campaign.” Why cave in to such a campaign? In his resignation letter Jones explains: “On the eve of historic fights for health care and clean energy, opponents of reform have mounted a vicious smear campaign against me. They are using lies and distortions to distract and divide.” Jones was of course “smeared” with his own words, which proved indeed to be vicious, voluminous and damning.
Jones said he had received encouragement from across the political spectrum to “stay and fight.” I doubt it, but I will concede that I had meant to urge him to stand fight like a man.
Somehow I don’t think the option was available to him. Jones would like us to believe his resignation was voluntary. Jones states that he could not “in good conscience ask [his] colleagues to expend precious time and energy defending or explaining [his] past.” Especially when they have been so much more discreet than Jones.
JOHN adds: The Times describes Jones’s departure from the administration as “a victory for Republicans and the Obama administration’s conservative critics.” But, as Scott notes, the paper is vague about what exactly got Jones fired. Its account implicitly tries to justify the Times’s ignoring the episode until it was over:
Controversy over Mr. Jones’s past comments and affiliations has slowly escalated over several weeks, erupting on Friday with calls for his resignation.
In other words: hey, we were only a day late!
The Associated Press account is in some respects worse. The AP mentions only two of the numerous controversies Jones provoked, and is coy about both of them:
The matter surfaced after news reports of a derogatory comment Jones made in the past about Republicans, and separately, of Jones’ name appearing on a petition connected to the events surrounding the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. That 2004 petition had asked for congressional hearings and other investigations into whether high-level government officials had allowed the attacks to occur.
The AP story includes no hint of Jones’s radical (i.e., Communist) past or his anti-American ideology. Here, too, the villains seem to be the Republicans: “Despite his apologies, Republicans demanded Jones quit.” Evidently Barack Obama is powerless to ignore demands from those pesky Republicans.