Keeping Up With Jones

It is an old political ploy to associate political adversaries with extremists at the ends of the political spectrum. Mainstream political persons should not be appropriately held hostage to the rantings of those who happen to reside the same side of the political divide. Indeed, the political space is composed of more than one dimension. Although similar people cluster in local  regions of political space, there are occasions when people find themselves close to those they might normally disagree with.

While no one is responsible for the behavior of others, we are responsible for our reaction to the behavior of others. Are we willing to excuse or at least ignore outrageous behavior on the part of political allies. In some measure, the people we directly choose to associate with says something important about who we are.

This brings us to the interesting case of  Van Jones, the Obama Administration appointment  as Green Jobs Czar.  Unfortunately, Jones is a person who is burdened with noxious baggage, offensive to most Americans.

  • Although he claims ignorance now , jones signed the 9//1 1 “Truth Statement” asserting that the Bush Administration “had foreknowledge of impending 9/11 attacks and `consciously failed’ to act”
  • Jones participated in a recording complaining about “Israeli occupation,” asserting the Palestinian “right of return” which would end Israeli as a Jewish state. Jones argues that “This is now a global struggle against a U.S.-led security apparatus and military agenda.”
  • Jones believes that “the true terrorists are made in the U.S.”
  • Jones’s political erudite political assessments can be summarized by the statement: Republicans are “assholes.”

The reaction of the Obama Administration has been interesting and perhaps illuminating. When Jones’s radical past came to light, the Obama Administration did not immediately request Jones’s resignation. They seemed reluctant to do anything in the hopes that the issue would fade. After all they have managed to keep a tax scofflaw as Treasury Secretary. Certainly, there has not been the same press pressure as would have been applied to George Bush if his Administration have appointed a similarly radical individual. This morning, Jones finally resigned without repudiating his past and painting a picture of himself as the victim of a smear campaign.

There are several possible explanations with regard to this failed appointment.

  1. It was a major vetting mistake, where the Administration was sloppy in its selection. If this were true, one would expect that Jones would have been gone at the first hint of this embarrassment. It has taken too long for the Administration to dump Jones.
  2. The Administration is generally sympathetic with Jones’s views, pretends to be more moderate than it really is, and was reluctant to dismiss a like-minded soul. It finally allowed Jones to resign when the political costs grew too large.
  3. The Administration does not have a particular affinity  with Jones or his positions (though not a visceral aversion them either), but the appointment was jobs patronage for Jones and a political payoff for the far-Left. Like possibility (2), Jones was dumped when the costs were no longer worth any possible benefit.

Possibility (1) is the most benign signifying only incompetence on the part of some. Possibility (3) is slightly more damning, suggesting only Machiavellian political manipulations. Possibility (2) is the most damning. If true, itsuggests radicals in power, with a habit of mendacity.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.