Ron Radosh

Van Jones Again: Is he Toast?

When I wrote about Van Jones last week, the only people who took notice of his appointment were David Horowitz, who first reported on his background, and Glenn Beck, whose ranting made it appear that there was somewhat of a conspiracy on the part of the Obama administration to appoint extremist radicals to positions of importance. Nevertheless, Beck must be given all the credit to alerting everyone to Jones’ position at the White House.


Now, finally, some of the mainstream media has picked up the story. Yesterday, Jake Tapper of ABC News blogged on the Jones appointment. Fox News put various statements made by Jones on their website. Finally, TNR ran an article on its website by Kate Sheppard, which both called attention to Jones while ridiculing the entire brouhaha.

Sheppard’s piece is an example of particularly flawed argument. First, she writes that “for months now, various right-wing bloggers and Glenn Beck have been trying to whip up outrage over Van Jones, Obama’s green-jobs guru. Their feverish accusations to date—that he’s a secret communist, say—have been absurd and easily ignored.”

I used to have a saying: “Just because J.Edgar Hoover said it doesn’t mean it isn’t true.”  Today, I would have to add that because Beck has first brought it to the nation’s attention, also doesn’t mean it’s not true. It turns out, of course, that Jones’ record and background is not only fair game, but that the reports about him are true. He was a proclaimed communist and Maoist, and has publicly said that today he is adopting new strategies to achieve his radical and anti-capitalist goals.  And that is why, Sheppard is forced to say, he is becoming a “political headache” for the White House.

Sheppard tries to legitimize Jones by pointing to how many national liberal leaders have endorsed him, from Nancy Pelosi on. The real question, of course, is why they have done this? It is akin to the question I asked in the pages of TNR in the 1980’s, when the peace movement was at its hilt, and I asked how they expected to be taken seriously when they accepted the participation of Soviet line Communists. The major liberal summits that featured Jones as a keynoter, and on which she reports, should be embarrassed at their willingness to feature someone with Jones’ views.


Sheppard should start by reading the analysis on by Ben Johnson, if she can stand to read a sound argument, even though it comes from a conservative source. Johnson lays out with direct and accurate quotes from Jones what he believes, and how he intends to use his green jobs position as a vehicle for a clearly left-wing socialist agenda.

Here is the key Jones quote:

Right now we say we want to move from suicidal gray capitalism to something eco-capitalism where at least we’re not fast-tracking the destruction of the whole planet. Will that be enough? No, it won’t be enough. We want to go beyond the systems of exploitation and oppression altogether. But, that’s a process and I think that’s what’s great about the movement that is beginning to emerge is that the crisis is so severe in terms of joblessness, violence and now ecological threats that people are willing to be both pragmatic and visionary. So the green economy will start off as a small subset and we are going to push it and push it and push it until it becomes the engine for transforming the whole society.    


This is left-wing lingo, and a clear call for “transforming the whole society” to the original communist vision Jones obviously still believes in.

How could such a man get any White House appointment, especially one with a large budget and a strategy for social revolution as its goal? If George W. Bush had appointed a David Duke supporter who only four years earlier was a leader of a Klan offshoot, the Left would rightfully have yelled bloody murder until the appointee was dismissed.  One must also ask what happened to the traditional FBI vetting of one’s background, and the calling attention to it by the Bureau to the President, before the appointment was made.


Did Obama know of Jones’ views and associations? If not, why not? And if he did, why did he still appoint him? One wonders if Bill Ayers had not been the subject of so much attention before the election, whether he too would have been given a major appointment as an education czar?





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