Embattled White House energy jobs advocate Van Jones quietly resigned over the Labor Day weekend under intense scrutiny, mostly by GOP leaders and conservative media pundits for his past controversial statements.
Jones, a best-selling author and community organizer from the San Francisco Bay area, came under fire recently when he used a vulgarity to refer to Republicans earlier this year. Jones was criticized for signing a 2004 petition questioning whether President George Bush had allowed the September 2001 terrorist attacks so he could start a war in Iraq. Van Jones also publicly supported death row prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal, who is charged in the murder of a Philadelphia police officer.
Jones has been great fodder for the media. Fox News Channel and syndicated radio talk show host Glenn Beck first started criticizing Jones in July. It got ugly when Glenn called the energy czar a “communist-anarchist radical” and President Obama a “racist” after a 2005 video surfaced of Jones saying “You never seen a Columbine done by a black child.” It’s hard to deny the truth in Jones’ Columbine statement and much of what he said can easily be misconstrued.
Nevertheless, many supporters appreciate Jones’ candidness and resisted his resignation. Did any good come out of Jones’ departure? No doubt Jones was becoming a key distraction to the Obama administration as the president continues to push healthcare reform and revive a failing economy. The White House had no choice but to take the high road and accept Jones’ resignation. The Democrats however need more bulldogs in the ranks to combat the onslaught of “anti-Obama” attacks set by the conservative media.
Can Van Jones be the Democrat equivalent of the GOP’s Pat Buchannan? It would be fun to find out. It remains unclear what the Democrats have in mind but the gloves may be coming off in combating Republican attacks, now that Jones is not linked to the White House.