Remember Van Jones, the President Obama’s “green energy czar,” from the early days of the administration? He’s the one who resigned after Glenn Beck and others exposed a video of him calling Republicans “arseholes,” and his dabbling in 9/11 conspiracy theories.
Well, according to Politico, he’s back.
And he’s apparently helping to shepherd an open-source left-wing political coalition that was inspired by the Tea Party. He calls it The American Dream Movement, and its slogan is “Rebuild the Dream”
“I thought progressives were too quick to go from hopey to mopey” during the past two years, Jones told POLITICO in a recent interview. “They skipped the fight in the middle.”
The tea party, he said, impressed him by “the way they were able to gather so many organisations and individuals under an open-source brand. There just wasn’t a voice on the economy for progressives and moderates that was coherent and passionate like them. I thought that was really fascinating, so I studied them.”
The report from Politico is interesting, but it is hard to credit Van Jones with leading much. His conferences draw few people. And the sourcing in the story suggests that the Occupy Wall Street movement, which happened entirely apart from Jones’ leadership, presents him with an opportunity.
Jones claims to have more organising power than the Tea Party movement. That’s a difficult claim to credit. There are hundreds of Tea Party or Tea-tinted groups working autonomously along with several regional or Washington-directed Tea Party groups that are competing with each other for activist-loyalty and patronage.
Tea Party groups have led some successful primary challenges to Republicans and arguably changed the debate in Washington over debt and spending. Left-leaning groups that Jones claims to be affiliated with have defeated a ballot initiative in Ohio.
The profile makes Van Jones seem more like an activist-opportunist, one that hopes to raise his profile by jumping in front of a movement that he didn’t start and probably can’t command.
Because Occupy Wall Street hasn’t generated its own set of spokesman, they can expect plenty of new people volunteering themselves for the job.
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