The resignation of Van Jones is a defining moment, a very negative one, for the Obama administration.
Jones is the victim of the corporate-funded media mob that's constantly convened at Fox News. My email box was peppered with anti-Jones screeds in the last two weeks, sliming him as a black revolutionary, foul-mouthed, and un-American because he signed a petition demanding a real investigation of 9/11.
Jones is being jettisoned to reduce the distraction as Obama plans the speech I expect will jettison any attempt at thefuzzy "public option", in what has been reduced from health care reform to tinkering with the margins of health insurance.
In my view, Jones was targeted by the right in retaliation for the successful efforts of a nonprofit he founded to get corporate sponsors to pull their ads from Glenn Beck's lunacy-thon (should that be "lunathon"?). The boycott was prompted by Beck's racist attacks on Obama.
So let me re-cap. Beck makes scurrilous, racist comments about Obama. A group that Jones has not been involved with for at least a year and a half fights back on behalf of Obama, and sane people. Beck and allies smear Jones, and the Obama White House quickly surrenders. That's putting out fire with gasoline. That's empowering the mob in a dangerous way.
I've met Van Jones a couple of times, and interviewed him about four times. He was one of the few, true progressives in the White House and his vision of a green economy with social justice is so powerful it threatened the corporate interests which are intent on blocking any real change or progress from timid Washington Democrats. I'm confident Van will emerge from this stronger and wiser.
It's time to launch a progressive offensive on real health care reform, signal our rejection of escalation in Afghanistan and slow rolling out of Iraq, and to restore our constitutional rights. We've held back, hoping that Obama would recognize our role in his victory and deliver some things he promised progressives. We must press the House Progressive Caucus to stand firm, and force the administration and the DINO's of the Senate to realize that a clear majority will not yield to the orchestrated idiocy of the minority right. We must continue to expose the smears and lies and repudiate those who promote them.
And we need a president who will fight back against below-the-belt attacks, and stand up for people like Van Jones--if only because it's in his own best interests.