[Posted by Karl]
The Obama administration has been pushing the line that the (forced) resignation of its “green jobs czar” Van Jones is a story about botched vetting. However, Fox News confirmed what members of past administrations already knew — that Jones was investigated by the FBI (and perhaps others), regardless of whether Jones filled out the standard questionnaire for presidential appointees.
The Obama administration didn’t need no stinkin’ questionnaire to know who Van Jones — communist-cum-eco-socialist Truther — was:
Mr. Jones was a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, which was established, funded and celebrated as the new intellectual vanguard of the Democratic Party. The center’s president is John Podesta, who was co-chair of Mr. Obama’s transition team and thus played a major role in recommending appointees throughout the Administration.
As lefty blogger-activist Jane Hamsher noted, Jones was exceedingly well-known within the Sorosphere:
I first met Van Jones when he was honored last year by the Campaign for America’s Future at their gala dinner. He was being swarmed by all of the liberal institutional elite, who just could not be more full of praise for the impressive environmental leader and prison reform organizer. Everybody wanted Van Jones on their board. Everyone wanted him at their fundraisers. Everyone wanted a piece of his formidable limelight.
Now he’s been thrown under the bus by the White House for signing his name to a petition expressing something that 35% of all Democrats believed as of 2007 — that George Bush knew in advance about the attacks of 9/11. Well, that and calling Republicans “assholes.” I’m pretty sure that if you search through the histories of every single liberal leader at the CAF dinner that night, they have publicly said that and worse.
Although folks on the right may like to focus on that poll showing that over one-third of Democrats are Truthers, a note of caution is in order. As with polls on “birthers,” such numbers are more a function of heuristics than deeply-held opinion. Hamsher’s suggestion that the intellectual vanguard of the Democratic Party — which is certainly better informed about Trutherism than the average person — is sympatico with Jones is a far more damning indictment than the poll.
That there are more Van Joneses lurking in the bowels of the Obama administration is a near-certainty. Consider the case of Chas Freeman, Israel-hating, Saudi-shilling apologist for the Butchers of Beijing. Like Jones, Freeman blamed the US for 9/11 — and he probably would be in charge of drawing up National Intelligence Estimates today, if not for those meddling bloggers.
These sorts of views are not disqualifying to the Obama administration because — as Andy McCarthy points out — Pres. Obama “is not Mr. Magoo — haplessly gravitating to Truther Van and Ayers and Dohrn and Klonsky and Davis and Wright and the Chicago New Party and ACORN, etc.”
It is the nature of Pres. Obama and his fellow travelers that the administration needs to have swept under the proverbial rug. Making the story about vetting serves the Obama administration on several levels. It deflects blame to a relatively anonymous bureaucracy, but more important, suggests that the Jones appointment is an aberration.
However, the tactic of shifting the story from substance to process carries its own measure of risk. First, over time, people may yet come to learn that the Van Jones hire was not an isolated incident, resulting in a loss of credibility. Second, people are already figuring out that Pres. Obama is pursuing a raft of left-wing policies; this cannot be covered up with a midnight resignation. Third, a narrative of incompetence is corrosive. Incompetence of this sort has little political traction — until the administration is seen as doing a big thing badly, like Hurricane Katrina or the Iranian hostage crisis. Should that sort of event occur, Obama’s weakened political infrastructure may collapse under its own weight.
Bonus: Anyone who doubts Hamsher’s assessment can read apologia for Trutherism at The New Republic and Newsweek. Hamsher herself was doing the same on MSNBC today.