Of Google, Glenn Beck and Van Jones

BlogHer Original Post

Let me start by saying that Glenn Beck drives me bananas. Just the sight of him makes me fly into the kind of rage I usually reserve for Joy Behar and people who wear leggings without an appropriately long shirt (they aren't pants. LEGGINGS ARE NOT PANTS). In fact, I often find myself, when I am at home, alone with a television and an individually-sized Jose Curevo bottled margarita, cursing his very existence and the negative contribution he makes to an already intellectually adrift party. And he needs a new wardrobe.

But what can I say. When the man's right, he's right. And he was right about Van Jones.

Van Jones, the special adviser for green jobs to President Obama,
resigned over the weekend after it was revealed that he signed a
petition stating that President Bush may have deliberately allowed 9/11
to happen as a pretext for war in the Middle East and his past
statements about Republicans.

Mr. Jones issued a statement blaming Republicans for a "vicious smear campaign" against him.

Since when is letting the truth come to light a campaign of vicious smears?

Now don't get me wrong, you know I'm not a Jack Donaghy-level defender of the Republican brand, so know that I'm leveling with you here. What Van Jones managed to put into his own record was worth looking at. I've seen it called "New McCarthyism" and a high-tech witch hunt, but there's something that Obama and his administration should recognize about the people who make up the politically involved in this country: they can use Google.

For what Van Jones is or was (I highly doubt he'll be scarred for life), his contribution to the area of "green jobs" was significant, and his departure has a deeper meaning for those concerned about environmental movement. Britt Bravo talked about how his book, the Green Collar Economy was an inspiration and a roadmap to a new economic future. He had an impressive resume when it came to what he was hired to do: come up with green jobs. Personally, the whole thing sounds fishy in a New Deal sort of way (creating jobs out of nothing to employ people to do something that may not be economically feasible doesn't seem like a great plan and certainly hasn't worked in the past, but hey, you got elected. Make my day).

I'm trying to say he is one smart cookie.

Which means, #1, he's not easily deceived. When he signed a petition asking the government to investigate deeper into the 9/11 events to see whether the government itself had a role in the tragedy, he knew what he was doing. When he advocated radical re-distribution of wealth, he knew what he was doing. When he stood up on camera and made derogatory statements about Republicans, he knew what he was doing. And like a lot of Obama's Czar selections, his contributions to society were well-known, widely-published and objectively weird. And they were accessible. In other words, it wouldn't take a highly-motivated genius to find them.

Enter Glenn Beck. Who found what Van Jones wasn't hiding.

So maybe the moral of this story is that the Obama administration, if it wants to avoid legitimate criticism he should heed the knight in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and choose wisely. Because, no matter what the current crop of administration lackeys like to think, if I disagree with your policies, I'm still allowed to criticize them. I swear I am. I can oppose them and everything. And I can make a big stink about you believing in them if they don't appeal to a majority of people. And that's what's happening with the Czars.

I don't honestly believe Obama is stupid enough to believe that no one will ever Google the men and women he appoints, or that whatever low-level staffer was in charge of printing out the Wikipedia pages on the Czar appointees was asleep at the wheel, as Real Clear Politics' Froma Harrop seems to suggest. In fact, I believe more closely in the idea that Nice Deb does: Obama knows exactly what he's doing.

This was no failure of the vetting process. Van Jones was exactly what
Obama had in mind for his green jobs Czar: a community activist cut
from the same cloth as himself.

This is just what Obama wants and believes. Its just...not exactly what people expected, and not exactly what America wants. Its no accident of not looking closely enough. Its an accident, perhaps, of coming too far too fast, before the country was conditioned to accept it, before the country was desperate enough to buy it. What's worse, is that each time someone like this is appointed to another un-elected position, it deepens the wounds of distrust. Sure, I didn't trust the Bush Administration further than I could throw them plus the elephant that represents the GO, but I didn't really care enough that the NSA was wiretapping me or that I had to give over my drivers license number just to get allergy medication to take to the streets in protest. Its these incremental encroachments on liberty that, yes, are truly terrifying, but are honestly unnoticable. If you want to be a dictator, do it slowly. Czars who advocate radical tax policies, eugenics and a host of other things most people are only exposed to in 101 level political science are just too much too fast.

So I guess my advice to Obama is, if you really want to control us, you have to be more subtle. Or at least make the hunt for information harder. These fast balls straight down the middle are getting boring.

And heaven knows, we don't need you to keep Glenn Beck on television longer.



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