"The biggest problems that we're facing right now have to do with George Bush trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all. And that's what I intend to reverse when I'm president of the United States."
-Sen. Barack Obama, March 31, 2008
This morning the buzz in the pundit world is that Van Jones has resigned. It is interesting that his resignation statement was released at midnight Saturday night on a long Labor Day weekend. Also interesting is the terse "we thank him for his service" response from the White House. There is no way Jones could have lasted any longer with the emergence of his history of political activity and thought. To say his agenda is out of the mainstream is to understate his philosophy.
Something that seems apparent to me in the whole brouhaha over the resignation of Van Jones, the "Green Jobs Czar" in the Obama administration, is the problem with a czar appointment system gone wild. Officially, these are men and women appointed by the President to advise on policy. All Presidents use them. This President, however, has brought it to a new level. At last count, the number of known czars is over 30. As with his escalation of government involvement in our lives, it is clear the change Obama is bringing to America is his left wing agenda writ large. There is nothing small about the plans of the Obama administration. Seems almost quaint now that Bush senior adviser Karl Rove's presence created eight years of teeth grinding from the left.
So, when conservative talk show host Glenn Beck began delving into the ever mounting number of czars in today's White House, as a series of programs on his daytime television show, some interesting characters emerged. One in particular. No doubt today you are learning about Van Jones. Unless you watch FOX News or listen to talk radio or read conservative leaning web sites, you would have no idea about the troubling history of Jones to mainstream America. The traditional network media and other cable outlets chose to ignore the emerging story and continue to carry water for their candidate.
Journalism truly is dead in America.
Turns out that Jones has a habit of speaking in public for audiences and referring to Republicans in vulgar terms. He was a self-professed communist in the 1990's. Most troubling, and the straw that broke the camel's back, was the emergence of Jones' signature on a 9/11 "Truther" petition demanding investigation into the Bush administration after the terrorist attacks. Byron York in The Examiner summarized Jones' recent activities - supporting Mumia abu-Jamal the cop-killer; 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". When controversy erupted, Jones apologized for the 'Truther' episode and his remarks about the GOP."
Not exactly middle America.
Jones' did the standard I'm sorry if anyone is offended by my remarks type of apology. Not that he was wrong in his assumptions or has changed his views of our country, just sorry if he offended. Why can't liberals learn to apologize?
Some are high-fiving Glenn Beck for ridding the administration of this czar. While Beck got the ball rolling with the series he has begun on the czars, he is not the sole victor. It was the outcry from the American people. For those reading and learning for themselves and not relying on the defunct journalism community, the reality of the facts were disturbing. The fuss was made online and in social media outlets. Some journalists picked up the ball and began asking questions by the end of last week. CBS ran a report on Saturday. Not a peep from The New York Times, but the Washington Post did mention the controversy, late to the game as it was.
And, as Byron York so aptly states, "it was Jones' radical politics that did him in." In his resignation statement Jones proclaims:
"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.” The facts were evident in videos and quotes. It was not "opponents of reform" (read conservatives) but Americans of all political thought. Liberal and conservative pundits were placing bets on how long the guy would last before he took his place under Obama's bus. It is completely in the character we now know of Jones that he would chose to leave the White House portraying himself as a victim. He has not matured to a level of accepting responsibility for his own actions.
Along this same timeline, an advertisers' boycott was organized by ColorofChange.org. after a remark was uttered by Beck on a FOX News morning show. It wasn't about Jones. It was an opinion about Obama. Its founder? Van Jones. The idea was to get the advertisers on the Glenn Beck show to pull their spots to force Beck off the air. Didn't work, though some companies did cave to the liberal base.
The problem with the czars is that they are not held accountable by Congress. They are not confirmed by the Senate, as Cabinet members are required to be. In the case of Jones, he was put in charge of $80 million of the stimulus monies to devote to "green jobs". The problem is that there is no real definition of a green job. There is no evidence that they have been created.
And, as evident in this very incident, the traditional media in this country no longer feels obligated to do its job. When necessary, a blind eye will be turned in support of this president and only after citizen journalists demand it will the story emerge.
And, for the record, conservatives want reform, too. Just not what the Obama administration is selling.