CNN Debate on Van Jones: Obama Sells Us Out to Political Terrorist Glenn Beck & His Lynch Mob

by: David Sirota

Mon Sep 07, 2009 at 11:13

Per my post and announcement last night, here's the clip of my CNN debate with David Frum about the Van Jones affair this morning. Notice that Frum has no answer for the obvious double standards. Somehow, nobody gets fired for lying us into Iraq, Tim Geithner keeps his job after tax evasion and gift scandals, Republican congresspeople remain credible while championing the "birther" lunacy - but Van Jones must be fired for carelessly signing a petition years ago, which he later apologized for.

As I said on CNN, the hypocrisy uncovers the real truth of this whole affair: Van Jones was targeted by the political terrorist known as Glenn Beck - the man who leads a 21st century lynch mob looking to hunt down anyone (and especially anyone black) who has ever been a part of progressive movement politics. I don't use that term "political terrorist" lightly. According to the dictionary, a terrorist is "a person who terrorizes or frightens others" - and usually does so with an ideological objective. There are, of course, many different kinds of terrorists, and I'd say Beck - with his fearmongering, paranoia and hate - fits the letter and spirit of the dictionary definition of a political terrorist quite well. Indeed, just listen to this clip or look at this not-so-veiled threat and then try to claim with a straight face that Beck isn't explicitly using the mass media to scare and terrorize people.

In placating the demands of this terrorist and his lynch mob, the Obama administration has simultaneously empowered that terrorist and that lynch mob, while abandoning its own progressive base (And yes, yes - I know saying that makes the sycophants upset. I know it means I'll get a lot of irritating and hsterical email saying "I guess you wanted McCain!" or "you're going to get us President Romney in 2012!" - as if the progressive movement exists solely to worship at the feet of politicians with a "D" behind their name. That's fine - that kind of cultism is everywhere in the American Idiocracy, and I've got my "delete" key fired up and ready to go).

I am at once loathe to help fuel this media-manufactured controversy and eager to use this as a kind of "teachable moment" that Obama talks about, but rarely delivers on. If we as a movement cannot stand up for a genuine progressive hero like Van Jones - a guy with a towering record of real-world accomplishment on behalf of issues and grassroots communities - then we will not be able to stand up for anything, much less major legislative initiatives.

The multi-million-dollar Washington-based "progressive" organizations that previously used Van Jones to stress their environmental and racial progressivism haven't strongly spoken out about Jones and about the White House's failure to back him. Indeed, most of those organizations have issued mealy-mouthed statements praising Jones but giving their friends in the White House a pass. This is par for the course, unfortunately. As I wrote in my newspaper column this week, and as Jane Hamsher has so effectively shown, these institutions are still too concerned with their White House access than in building a real movement.  

So if I can do my own little part to take up the slack through the media, I will - even if it means I will inevitably be targeted by that same right-wing lynch mob.

Of course, perhaps the Jones affair is the canary in the coal mine. Maybe the White House's refusal to stand by Jones and willingness to accept the demands of right-wing political terrorists is a symptom of the bigger disease whereby the Obama is already selling out progressives on every major priority. Perhaps, in short, Jones isn't the issue - and what his firing represents is.

I fear that is the case - certainly the Obama administration's behavior on everything from health care to climate change to war suggests that's what's going on. And if that's true, then we've got a huge problem on our hands.

David Sirota :: CNN Debate on Van Jones: Obama Sells Us Out to Political Terrorist Glenn Beck & His Lynch Mob

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Simplicity itself (4.00 / 8)
Rahm Emanuel works for President Obama. Van Jones doesn't. What else do you need to know?

Well, there's Glenn Beck, but then in this country, there's always Glenn Beck. If you don't tell him to go fuck himself, then I've got nothing more to say to you, Mr. President, except that you aren't part of the solution, you're part of the problem.

Sorry David, I disagree on this one (4.00 / 1)
Progressives shouldn't be diluting themselves right now tackling little fish while the whale of health care reform is still on the hook.  If we get a strong PO in the health care bill we WIN, capital letters and all.  Progressive caucus gets more power by hanging tough, Blue Dogs get a public ass beating, Obama learns who he has to respect in Congress (the left!) to get his agenda passed.  Health care fails and we have to wait until 2010 elections to pick up the pieces.

If we fight over Van Jones, we get what?  Him rehired?  No way.  An empty apology?  Maybe.  Most likely nothing but sense of moral superiority at having stood up.  This is why those prog orgs aren't having a fit, they don't have the power/size to fight all the battles at once so they choose battles.  As I said above, I'd greatly prefer they focus laser tight on health care reform right now, Van Jones was an unfortunate pick off.  And how much real power did the guy have?  What did we really lose?  Not much.

I appreciate your desire to fight as hard as possible, but there is fighting hard and there is fighting smart.  Health care is the smart and best play in town, other factors can rest for a while until that issue is put to rest.  Imagine if we got an apology for Van Jones but lost the PO in healthcare reform due to splitting our attention, how much good would that do long term for the progressive movement?

When you give in... (4.00 / 14)
When you give into terrorists on the small stuff, you can't ever hope to win the big stuff. This is politics 101 - and it ain't rocket science. As I said:

If we as a movement cannot stand up for a genuine progressive hero like Van Jones, then we will not be able to stand up for anything, much less major legislative initiatives.

Perhaps, of course, it's already over. Perhaps the Jones thing is a symptom of a larger problem - that is, maybe Jones being fired is the canary in the coal mine telling us we don't have a chance to do big things. Indeed, that may be the biggest lesson of all.

[ Parent ]
You Do Realize You're Insane? (1.33 / 3)
You either get results.

Or excuses.

You're on the side of excuses.

And that's just insane.

Pure and simple.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

[ Parent ]
That's needlessly insulting (4.00 / 8)

[ Parent ]
Rosenberg wants insulting posters banned from Open Left... (0.00 / 0)
For example, on this thread, Rosenberg argues for banning commenters who direct personal insults at other commenters.

So some of us reformed, but apparently some of us didn't.

"My sight is failing," she said finally. "Even when I was young I could not have read what was written there. But it appears to me that that wall
looks different. Are the Seven Commandments the same as they used to be, Benjamin?"

For once Benjamin consented to break his rule, and he read out to her what was written on the wall. There was nothing there now except a single Commandment. It ran:



[ Parent ]
Aw, come on, Jake, how about at least some self criticism? (4.00 / 1)
Or do you think your constant, harsh attacks on everybody not sharing your views 100% (and that's almost everybody here) are ok? You always point fingers at others, but I can't remember you ever admitting you went too far (ok, that may be because of my lousy memory). Paul, on the other hand, at least has showed in several comments that he's aware that he has to be careful not to pick on other commenters. However, he still gets carried away sometimes, but when he does, people don't hesitate to TR him. Same rules for everybody.

Btw, obviously you're back. So, this was onyl a short absence. Wouldn't it be good to engage in constructive debate now, instead of over-the-top accusations?

[ Parent ]
Apologies (4.00 / 4)
I didn't realize that discussions were not welcomed on Open Left that didn't pass the litmus test of loyalty to progressive eternal struggle.  I thought maybe there was room for discussion and different ideas, but I guess there is not.  To suggest anything less than falling on our swords for the slightest of digrestions is the only path and all must believe it.

I won't post again and will wean my visits for info.  You won't miss me as I am: insane, full of excuses, a terrorist sympathizer, or all three?  

You guys are slowly mimicing the monsters you loathe (just for different reasons), good luck with that.

[ Parent ]
You'll feel differently (4.00 / 4)
when Obama throws you overboard. Then you'll understand.

Montani semper liberi

[ Parent ]
You really MUST change your handle to... (0.00 / 0)
"If you liked Bush, you'll love Obama!"

[ Parent ]
"Obama learns who he has to respect" (4.00 / 4)
I think this whole affair has made it very clear who Obama does in fact respect.  And it ain't Van Jones.

This is intimately connected with Obama's failure to stand up to rightist bullshit on health care.  He still treats them as rational actors, which is why their call for Van Jones' dismissal was treated as a legitimate one.

Until Obama realizes that they cannot be treated as good faith bargaining partners, I think it's ludicrously optimistic to assume we're going to get health care results.  Who deserves to be dealt with, the people who have the courage to admit their mistakes and build on them or the people who don't even recognize the word or the act of apology?  More than who deserves, who do you want crafting complex policy?

We actually CAN walk and chew gum at the same time.  This is the same fight, and frankly we're making some pretty serious fucking concessions if we let this go and see it as anything but a parallel front in the same struggle.

Figuring out how to be a progressive college graduate transplant to Ohio:

[ Parent ]
I disagree WRT whom Obama respects here (4.00 / 1)
Van Jones signed a petition that implied that there might be something profoundly wrong with the Forbidden City as an institution -- that it was capable not of making mistakes, but of consciously working against the interests of the American people.

The Obama Administration (and Obama himself) are 100% committed to the institutions of American government and power.  Questioning their legitimacy is a fireable offense to Obama and his team.

[ Parent ]
But no one seems to be dealing with a crucial point: (4.00 / 4)
whether or not Van Jones actually believes, or ever believed that the American government intentionally allowed 9/11 to happen as a pretext for war.

Critics are conflating Jones' signing of the petition (not in doubt) with his intentional endorsement of the ideas in the petition (very debatable), but these are very VERY different points.

As stated by David Sirota, Van Jones acknowledged that he made a mistake, he renounced the idea, and it is widely thought that he didn't understand the full ramifications of what he was signing.  Yet, in classic Republican argumentative style, David Frum treated Van Jones as unquestionably believing this "Truther" bullshit by associating the above points as equivalent (psst, they're not).  And Mr. Sirota, THAT is what I wish you had said, though I understand there are limitations in talking-head land.

Is signing something by mistake really a fireable offense?  If so, we've got a really bizarre accountability system that ought to be looked into.

Figuring out how to be a progressive college graduate transplant to Ohio:

[ Parent ]
Obama's going to do what? (4.00 / 1)
Fight for the public option?

Fight for the Employee Free Choice Act?

Muscle through another stimulus?

Then by all means, throw Van Jones under the bus, now.

But I don't know where you get the idea that Obama is going to do any of that.  And if he isn't, then Van Jones didn't make a damn bit of difference anyway.

On the other hand, I don't agree with Sirota.  There is nothing, in victory or defeat, that will make the lunatic right let up.  This is just the way that Democrats do politics.  The defense of Jones is subtle and nuanced, in cable news terms, and the attack damaging and easy to repeat.  It is a side show, and most voters won't catch more than one sound bite - in this case, the negative one.  Obama is trying to replace that with another sound bite - that radicals aren't welcome in his administration, because they're bipartisan teddy bears.  It is hard to tell whether Jones would have been a major story in the long run, but the ease of the attack sound bite carries the risk that it could be.  Democrats just practice risk averse politics, defusing the story early.  

I don't know if it's really good messaging to use the word "terrorist" for Glenn Beck.  Beck, Palin, Joe the Plumber, the birthers, and now the "keep your kids home from school" movement, are exceptional in their vitriol, their senseless resistance to uncontroversial policies, and their stupidity.  The mainstream media seems to be able to pick up and run with the "stupid and obstinate" label, which can sink in with the public, because even casual voters can probably understand how dumb so much of this is.

[ Parent ]
Obama has yet to fight (0.00 / 0)
For the PEOPLE!!!!!!!!!!!!

[ Parent ]
Once again I find myself (4.00 / 4)
agreeing with you David.

For me, it's not just about Van Jones.  It's the principle involved.  The right AGAIN is allowed to get what they want through the spin game.  We all know the truth.  Things we do or say in our youth, or even just a few years ago, are used against us.  But there is a difference.
**Bill Clinton was trashed for not serving in the military and for daring as a young man protesting against war.  Clinton was trashed for exerting the rights of living in a free an open society.
**George W. was honored for going AWOL.  

**Clinton was trashed and mocked for his "I didn't inhale" comment.
**George W was given a pass despite DUIs and cocaine use.

It's called spin.
**Van Jones made statement that made some uncomfortable and dared to challenge the spin of the Bush administration.   Maybe his signing of the truther thing was not a smart move but since when is it illegal to believe in something different.
**I don't want to waste time listing the lies, the spin, the nastiness of some republican officials.  Calling the president a Nazi, challenging his citizenship.......these came from senators and congressional critters.  Stupid but free speech.  

I don't get it.  Why throw Van Jones under the bus?

do you really believe that (0.00 / 0)
Would an observer from Mars see the vast difference you see? I'd say the right "trashed" and the left defended Clinton and he won re-election.  The left "trashed" and the right defended Bush and he won re-election.  What's really the difference? Clinton was more popular in the end.

New Jersey politics at Blue Jersey.

[ Parent ]
Mr. Jones and me staring at the video (4.00 / 1)
When I look at the television, I want to see me staring right back at me
We all want to be big stars, but we don't know why and we don't know how
But when everybody loves me, I'm going to be just about as happy as can be
Mr. Jones and me, we're gonna be big stars..

Obama Is A Fierce Advocate (4.00 / 8)
He says so himself.

Who are you going to believe?


Or your lying eyes?

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

"Full-Throated" (4.00 / 1)
was the phrase du jour not too long ago.

Except now he's just choking on his own bullshit.  

[ Parent ]
Not really. Well, if bullshit was a pretzel, then maybe. (0.00 / 0)
Would be good if Obama would be choking on his crap. But actually, it looks like he has no problems with bullshitting his own party. Quite to the contrary...

[ Parent ]
my favorite quote lateley (0.00 / 0)
is from the 2004 presidential debate, john kerry had a classic, just because george w. bush said it does not make it true,

whatever you think people owe you, that is what you owe people

[ Parent ]
n/t (0.00 / 0)
You are never going to win over the American people by continuously playing the race card.

That's what they said... (3.43 / 7)
...during the civil rights movement.

[ Parent ]
n/t (0.00 / 0)
Let's put it another way.  Don't cry wolf every time you see something with four legs.

[ Parent ]
This is true (4.00 / 1)
Which is why Republican racists continuously play the race card, knowing that if you try to shoot it all down, you will look ridiculous.

[ Parent ]
There is no "race card" (4.00 / 4)
it's called exposing institutionalized racism, i.e., broad, systematic injustice.

[ Parent ]
Nor will you ever win over the American people (4.00 / 3)
by shooting your own men in the back. All that tells them is that they don't want to be on your side.

Montani semper liberi

[ Parent ]
Excellent work David (4.00 / 7)
Every liberal who appears in this format should have the courage and candor to tell the truth about what's behind these media lynchings of committed activists on the left.

About the petition (4.00 / 2)
It's my understanding that when he signed the petition, it called for an investigation into why the Bush WH ignored pre-9/11 intelligence and that he was either tricked into signing, or that the language was changed later by its authors. It seems you missed an opportunity to stress that at the time, Jones was concerned about the lackadaisical behavior of the administration before the attack, not that signing it was a mere "mistake".  

My Critique of Sirota's Performance (4.00 / 4)
David made some good points, but I would note a few things.

First, the takeaway message that viewers should get is "David Frum is a partisan hack who is only saying this because he is Republican."  Frum's nonsense about decent society should have been laughed at by Sirota...literally.  Do not let his faux indignation go unrebutted.

Overall, Sirota did a poor job of knocking down Frum's attack on the petition.  The people behind the petition were 9/11 Truthers.   However, the questions on the petition were 95% legitimate (maybe one was suggestive of MIHOP-type thinking)..  

It is 100% not true that one would have to believe that the Bush Administration plotted 9/11 in order to sign that petition.  All that you would have to believe is that there was a general failure to investigate, arguably for all the mundane conflict of interest reasons that we see everyday.  But Sirota pretty much let Frum's smear of anyone who signed that petition go unrebutted.

When Frum tried to say that believing something FALSE and HURTFUL disqualified Jones from public service, Sirota should have slammed him over the head with the Birthers nonsense?  "Are you saying, David Frum, that every Republican Congressman who spread the false rumor about Obama's birth certificate should resign?  Of course not, right, because they are REPUBLICANS. [Roll eyes at any response]"

getting involved in an argument about 9-11 is STUPID (4.00 / 1)
That happened 8 years ago and it is time for Democrats to focus on getting things done instead of focusing on things that will NEVER be solved.  YOU WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO PROVE THAT GEORGE BUSH ALLOWED 911 TO HAPPEN FOR POLITICAL REASONS.  Arguing with the rightwing media is EXACTLY what they prevents you from getting anything done.  Healthcare is MORE important that winning an argument with a media pundit.

No, there is an advantage (4.00 / 2)
It sows divisions into the right wing:

Alex Jones and the "infowarriors" are a true force in American politics. They landed numerous body blows on the Bush administration, they now are tearing into Obama re Iraq, Bailouts, and other deviations from sound progressive government (ironically).

The only way the GOP can be resurrected is to recapture the Ron Paul vote, a huge part of which is the Bircher/Alex Jones voter.

Ergo, we try to peel away reasonable Ron Paul libertarians from the Alex Jones libertarians by actually governing well re: the war on drugs, the war on terror, civil liberties, corporate welfare, fiscal & monetary policy.

The libertarians were frightened away from the right by Bush, Democrats received their votes by default. That won't happen in 2010. But instead of reaching out to them, instead of courting them, the choice was to mock and humiliate them.

Echoes of Weimar.

[ Parent ]
the PROBLEM with the media is that (0.00 / 0)
they invite people of EXTREMES from both sides and think they have an honest debate.  It is not a honest or productive debate just more MEDIA "dog fights".  The people that believe the government allowed 9-11 to happen are the opposite extreme of those people that think Obama was born in Kenya.  COMPLETE AND UTTER NONSENSE

[ Parent ]
We can't focus on the present until we achieve justice for past crimes. (4.00 / 1)
The wounds are never going to heal, and we'll never be able to get anything constructive done, if we don't deal with the crimes of the past and those who carried them out.  I guarantee you that the very slimeballs who wreaked such havoc over the past forty years will slither back into power unless we make sure they can never do so again - not without an enormous and exhausting fight, anyway.

[ Parent ]
Questioning is good (0.00 / 0)
9/11 was an inside job, period. Check the evidence; and of course, don't depend merely on mainstream programs: you'll usually just get propaganda there. Anybody remember "the smoking gun in the form of a mushroom cloud"? Yellow cake anybody? Ever hear of Operation Northwoods? Look it up!


Global Warming is NATURAL. Look up the atmospheric CO2 levels for the last 600 million years and the global temperatures for the last 5+ million years ago instead of just the short-term: we are not seeing anything new.


To not question the mainstream and the government is not to know history.


Anyway, we all know that Obama is a corporate puppet just like Pelosi, McCain, Bush, etc.

the next thing (4.00 / 2)
obama will be telling his supporters on the left is to eat cake.

He hardly has any supporters left on his "LEFT!" (0.00 / 0)
Most of them are too smart to have stayed around anymore.  

[ Parent ]
Obama May have Done Us A Favor By Caving (4.00 / 2)
on Van Jones.

So says Jon Schwarz On "A Tiny Revolution." He says that if Obama had stood by Jones, he--and by implication, a lot of us--might have had to change our understandings of Obama's character. By caving, he spares us the effort...

Emphasizing Race (4.00 / 1)
I think you did well, but it was a mistake to emphasize that Jones is black. Few are going to believe that a black President is going to be racist that way, and this particular black President's most recent racially-charged act was to inject himself into the Gates matter, mildly on the side of Gates. And it's not true either. Had Van Jones been white, Asian, or anything else, this would have played out exactly the same, at least as far as Obama's actions are concerned. It's ideological, not racial and not both, and you undermine your credibility with the racial argument, as many less political types who may not know enough to evaluate the argument from ideological prejudice will evaluate the argument from racial prejudice as false, and assume your whole point is false.  

Yet the scalps so far -- (4.00 / 1)
Jeremiah Wright and Van Jones, are both black ones. Obama has not jettisoned anyone white, Asian or anything else.

I can't help but notice the human sacrifices only come in one flavor, and that's usually an indicator of a systemic problem. Especially when those human sacrifices represent a tiny minority of the population in question. How many black advisors did Obama have to begin with, before he threw away the two?

Montani semper liberi

[ Parent ]
Other Scalps (0.00 / 0)
Samatha Power was thrown under the bus. She's pretty white. So was Ayers - it's hard to argue with that one, but the fact remains. Obama's connection with him wasn't nearly as close as Wright, but then Obama tried in the initial race speech not to throw Wright under the bus, while he showed no hesitancy with Ayers.

The key is in all cases I think it is hard to argue that Obama's actions would have been different had the race of the person involved been different. Had Wright been white would Obama have ditched him? Of course. It would have been easier to do, because with Wright he had to not seem to be dissing the black church as such, which is why he tried to avoid outright rejection. Had Samatha been black would she have been ditched?  You bet. I think that one was mostly about message discipline in his ranks.  

[ Parent ]
Power has a seat on the National Security Council. (0.00 / 0)
She fell upstairs. Ayers was never connected to Obama in any meaningful way to begin with.

And you're missing the point. It's the racist right wing which is insisting on the purge of influential black people, Obama is merely following their orders.

Montani semper liberi

[ Parent ]
As far as Beck (0.00 / 0)
you have a fair point. There is definitely a racial component to what he is doing.

[ Parent ]
C'mon. How about Daschle? How about Richardson? (0.00 / 0)

[ Parent ]
those were tax issues and unrelated leftist ideology (0.00 / 0)

[ Parent ]
What I was responding to (0.00 / 0)
I was responding to the statement, "Obama has not jettisoned anyone white, Asian, or anything else." If we keep qualifying it -- and I see it has been further qualified below as those attacked for "reverse racism," then we'll be left with "None of the non-Blacks jettisoned are Black."

[ Parent ]
If you think that Obama and Van Jones' race have nothing to do with this, (0.00 / 0)
You're missing a key implicit connection that has historically been made between Black people (especially "Angry Black Men"), anti-authoritarianism, and perceived radicalism.

The spectre of the "Angry Black Man", unelectable in mainstream politics, was clearly haunting this whole fiasco.  It is clear that Obama faces double pressure, which actually makes me feel a twinge of pity in this situation.  He has to denounce radicalism of all stripes (let's not forget Bill Ayers and 'palling around with terrorists') but he especially has to denounce anyone who threatens his image as a Black man compatible with seeing over a predominantly White nation.

Barack Obama, for all his faults, is not an idiot.  You can be damned sure that he knew what he was doing in disassociating himself from someone who threatened to turn him into an "Irrational Angry Black Man".  We saw it with Reverend Wright, and we're seeing it now.  I'm not saying he won't reject people because they're radical and White.  But I would be willing to lay down money that anyone that threatens to connect him with even a hint of Black Nationalism gets lost double-quick.

I just think he should have confronted that stereotype head on, instead of trying to get it out of sight.

Figuring out how to be a progressive college graduate transplant to Ohio:

[ Parent ]
If this were driving him that strongly (4.00 / 1)
Why did he pick Holder for AG?  AG is the prosecutor, where the image of angry black man would be the most imtimading. He could have a black man or two for positions that would not place them so strongly in the center of legal battles and controversies, but he did not. Now we're going to get at least a token torture investigation headed by a black man, which would be a thumb in the eye of the Right were Obama thinking this way. Obama has shown no inclination to thumb the eyes of the Right, so I don't think this is guiding his thinking in general, save in cases like Wright where it is unavoidable.  

[ Parent ]
I'm not saying Barack Obama is never going to appoint a Black man to a position (0.00 / 0)
The key is radical Black man, who could be portrayed as a reverse-racist.  Malcolm X, the Panthers, and all other "reverse-racist" politically radical, Black Nationalist/Communist figures have served as convenient internal boogeymen for 'decent' Americans for decades.  Note also that only Black people have been called racist by the right so far, this is a key component of the demonization of alternative ideologies: the idea that any form of affirmative action or self-determination by people of color is a form of reverse-racism.  Van Jones fit the mold via his association with STORM and his previous self-description as a Communist.  Eric Holder has never had even a remote association with such ideologies, and would be a pretty insufficient target of White resentment (which depends vitally on the belief that White people are oppressed by reverse-racism).  So far as I know there's nothing they can use to attack him as a racist.

I am not saying that the only reason they attacked Van was because he's Black.  I'm not saying that Obama will never take on Black men.  But neither of those conditions mean that race was not a factor in Beck's targeting of Van, or for that matter the right's targeting of Jeremiah Wright.  Race can be a factor in some places and not in others.  To miss pointing out racist rhetoric where it exists is to allow (intentionally or no) an atmosphere where it continues to thrive and wreak havoc.

Figuring out how to be a progressive college graduate transplant to Ohio:

[ Parent ]
We could play the race card all day, but (0.00 / 0)
What I took from the CNN video is that David is saying that the issue is Progressive politicians being left to "dangle in the wind."  Obama gives lip service in his speeches to popular Progressive causes, but his actions speak differently.  The issue is the issues.  If we inject race into every situation that relates to Obama, pretty soon people will yawn when the left speaks.  Obama did not fire Jones because he was black.  He fired him because the people Obama bows to ordered it.  David's point was that leaders like Giethner are favored by the rich, so they are excused from crimes, but a leader of the common people, like Jones, cannot even express a contrary opinion.  It would seem to me that David is suggesting a war that can be fought with the help a larger army.

"Oh. My. God. .... We're doomed." -- Paul Krugman

[ Parent ]
There can actually be two issues at the same time (4.00 / 1)
This doesn't really have to be either/or.

Obama left a progressive behind...

AND race was an influencing factor.

Simplifying the argument to "Obama did not fire Jones because he was black" is convenient, but unfortunately you're responding to something that neither I, nor I think David were saying.

Who are these people Obama bows to?  I was under the impression that the pressure for Van Jones to resign was created by an opposition party and movement that theoretically, Obama shouldn't be bowing to.

Your assessment that rich-favored leaders are held to different standards than activists representative of common people is to my mind correct.  But that point does not negate the other points present, that the attacks on Van Jones were partly racially motivated, and the worries about keeping him around may have been similarly so.  And I didn't 'inject' racism into this situation.  Beck has called both Obama and Van Jones racist, which I contend is a racist and privilege-infected assertion.

The 'race card' accusation, whether intended or not, is an unfortunate way of marginalizing and belittling critique, indeed, belittling the entire idea that racialzed analysis is ever legitimate.  It's a huge problem that racial discussions are so easily dismissed by yawns and boredom, I'd rather not simply allow this complacency to racial injustice continue.

Figuring out how to be a progressive college graduate transplant to Ohio:

[ Parent ]
"race card" is an insidious cliche (4.00 / 1)
that shouldn't be used in a serious discussion of anything, let alone something as meaningful and complex as how to change politics in the US

[ Parent ]
Jeremiah Wright stands as an example of Obama's willingness to ditch progressives to placate his compatriots. (0.00 / 0)
Let's be clear: Obama is a member of the hard right, and to that end he will do whatever he thinks is necessary to soothe the sensibilities of those whose opinions truly matter to him.  It doesn't matter that the far right refuses to be appeased.  He'll throw as many leftists under the bus as he deems necessary in the trying.

Hard Right (4.00 / 1)
I'm an idiot to respond to this, but...

If Obama is a member of the hard right, then where the hell is Glen Beck.  The really harder right?  The solid steel right?

According to you most of the population must be the hard right.

[ Parent ]
Beck is a freakin' Nazi. (0.00 / 0)
I don't toss that label out there lightly.  He is exactly the sort of fascist Hitler would have been proud to call one of his own.  The same goes for O'Reilly, Hannity, Malkin, Coulter, Limbaugh, Krauthammer, Savage, and the rest of the extreme right.  Obama's record alone marks him as a member of the hard right.  Read David Swanson's piece about how Obama really has come to represent Bush's third term.  It's truly sickening how parallel Obama runs to Bush and Cheney even as he lies his way through empty rhetoric of change.

[ Parent ]
Hmm. That's interesting. Could you point me to the Obama Administration's announcement that Van Jones was told to resign? (0.00 / 0)

Believing that there would be such an announcement is a bit naive (4.00 / 2)
That's simply not how this is done, neither in politics nor in business. In such cases, the boss makes up his mind if he wants to back his man, or won't, and if he won't he will have it communicated to the victim. Usually, this will be done with a carrot and sticks approach: 'Do us a favor, do the right thing now, resign, and we will find you a good job elsewhere.' And most of the time people play along. If the government or the corporation wants you to go, you don't have any real chances resisting that. Better to take the easy way out.

[ Parent ]
Here's What I Notice in this Debate (4.00 / 2)
This is intimately connected with Obama's failure to stand up to rightist bullshit on health care.  He still treats them as rational actors, which is why their call for Van Jones' dismissal was treated as a legitimate one.

Until Obama realizes that they cannot be treated as good faith bargaining partners, I think it's ludicrously optimistic to assume we're going to get health care results.

What if Obama, with and through Emanuel and others, is pursuing exactly the course he believes in, a non-progressive "Bush Done Right" course that favors the wealthy interests at the expense of 99% of Americans who don't have real money? What if Obama really is a Blue Dog? One who used progressive memes to get elected?

I'm continually struck by how Obama's biography, specifically his community organizing work and the care and support he got from his single mother and her family, fails to show up in his policy actions. Instead of a President who seems to like hanging out with average people, he golfs with the head of UBS within a week of their indictment for tax evasion (I believe). Instead of making health care a personal issue about the right to live, and be free of predation, he makes health care into a dry money and policy issue.

Actions speak louder than words. My question would be, what do progressives do if Obama is a Blue Dog? How do we force him to do the right thing and, failing that, how do we get rid of him? How do we build the movement around real progressives not faux progressives?

I do hope health care will work out, that the progressive block holds. But we need to be prepared early and often for the worst case. You can bet that Mitt Romney, for all his faults, will look good against a failed Bush/Obama, a weak economy, and all the rest that has happened and will happen. That outcome will set us back.

Bully for David, too, in calling BS on the Van Jones firing. I was particularly disturbed by the Color of Change angle that got 12 advertisers (?) to drop Beck's show for calling Obama a racist. Seems like sneaky payback.

We Got Your Back David (4.00 / 1)
We can chew our gum and walk at the same time.  Health care is important, but we can't let everything go until its accomplished.  Believing that members of the Bush administration did less than their best to prevent 9/11 is a main stream idea.  No one should be fired for believing that.   As you pointed out, they did much worse by lying us into a war that has kill hundreds of thousands of people.

I love to blog about how spineless Obama is.  I don't feel married to this guy.  He's our employee.  And, as Rev. Wright says, he'll say what politicians say.

"Oh. My. God. .... We're doomed." -- Paul Krugman


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