By Robert Wallace
Before the votes were cast in November I had taken to calling Obama’s campaign the greatest con job in American history. My view of the facts has not changed much since that day, but the tone in America has shifted dramatically.
Leading up to the election most Obama detractors were having a hard time convincing a war-weary American public that even though Obama’s rhetoric was red-blooded and centrist his record was radical. The Obama campaign was overwhelmingly positive because the media was doing their dirty work for them. The GOP had an attitude of resigned defeat.
All in all it seemed like a slow-motion train wreck out of a movie. All of the bad stuff was happening peacefully and with a sense of inevitability. The sound was muted. There was no anger or struggle or passion.
A lot has changed since then. A lot of Obama’s leading sycophants in the media have left their media jobs to work in the White House (change of venue rather than change of profession) and his media facade has started to crack around the edges. Meanwhile, the rest of America has woken up. Polls are down. Tea-party protests are ongoing. Town hall meetings have broken down into chaos.
And while this has resulted in the vital good of stalling health care reform and cap-and-trade, there’s a downside too.
Both the downside and the upside are epitomized by Glenn Beck. For the last week he has been hammering away at Obama’s special advisers: guys that advise the president but aren’t approved by Congress. You know, the “czars.”
And–although the czars as a group seem to be more or less a car-full of crazy–the head clown has to be Van Jones. Van Jones the communist. Van Jones the self-avowed, unrepentant radical. Van Jones–we’ve recently found out–the 9/11 “Truther.”
Here’s the recap:
Now that Glenn Beck–who is managing to draw nearly 1 out of every 100 Americans to his 5:00 pm cable news show–has gotten the ball rolling it seems like it’s never going to stop. Since then we’ve had the “Republican are assholes” comment:
And now Breitbart TV has video of Van Jones explaining that “You’ve never seen a Columbine done by a black child. Never. It’s only “suburban white kids.”
There’s also video of Van Jones comparing Bush to a crack-addict for the absurd, laughable, disgusting desire to drill for oil. (You know, sort of like the offshore drilling Obama has decided to underwrite in Brazil.)
Now the gist of all this stuff is true. You’d have to be crazy or blind not to realize by now that Van Jones is a left-wing radical. And I mean a galaxy far, far away (and to the left) radical. I’m incredibly grateful to Glenn for getting that news out there. Especially since the MSM has effectively declared a media black-out on the topic:
- Total words about the Van Jones controversy in the New York Times: zero.
- Total words about the Van Jones controversy in the Washington Post: zero.
- Total words about the Van Jones controversy on the NBC Nightly News: zero.
- Total words about the Van Jones controversy on the ABC World News: zero.
- Total words about the Van Jones controversy on the CBS Evening News: zero.
If Glenn Beck and other conservatives weren’t doing their job no one would know this stuff, and we’d all be living in the United Socialist States of America by now.
But despite this, I have to admit that I occasionally cringe when watching Beck’s show and listening to him blur fine distinctions left and right. Someone who believes that the White House knew about 9/11 and allowed it to happen or someone who believes that Bush ordered the deaths of 3,000 American citizens — sure, they’re both out there, but they’re not the same thing, either. Van Jones has said plenty of crazy things, and you don’t really need to work hard at all. They speak for themselves. And yet when Jones says that whites are diverting toxins to minority neighborhoods, Beck feels the need to add the word “intentionally” in there. Why do that? Van Jones didn’t say it, so let’s not pretend that he did. Obviously, passion can breed hyperbole, but as specific as Beck usually is about correcting mistakes in how he is perceived, he should have been here as well. It may be nit-picking, but as Beck has said himself, accuracy is important.
Another symptom of this problem is the right-wing reaction to the president’s address to school kids. Really, folks, the address itself is not that big of a deal. The President gives speeches. It’s sort of what he does. And let’s be honest: electing the nation’s first black president was a big deal for race relations in this country. He has the potential to offer a really unique message about the importance of education to kids in this country who really, really need to hear that message. Really — who amongst us is against staying in school?
It’s too early to complain about what Obama said during the speech because he hasn’t even given it yet. As Jeff has said (emphasis mine):
The real danger of Barack Obama’s speech to schoolchildren on September 8 did not lie in the speech itself, but rather in how the speech is received and how the agenda manifests itself in the classroom thanks to ideological teachers. With questions like “[w]hat is the president asking me to do?” and “[w]hat new ideas and actions is the President challenging me to think about?” and suggestions like “[have students] [w]rite letters to themselves about what they can do to help the president” it was extremely clear that the White House was less concerned with education and more concerned with indoctrination.
So when it comes to yanking your kids out of class that day, here’s my take: fine. Go ahead and do it. But when you do so make it clear why you are doing it. And the reason to pull your kids out of class is not because you think that a 15-minute exposure to Barack Obama is going to turn them into miniature Chairman Maos. It’s because there is principle at stake, and you want to protest for the sake of that principle.
Now I understand that a lot of folks are probably going to question why I would bring up such nagging details. And the reason is this: good guys are good guys because we don’t compromise. And now–more than ever–we don’t have to compromise. Look at those quotes. Is there any reason–any reason whatsoever–to add or modify Van Jones’s words? No. He’s done the work for us.
He’s an incredibly articulate, very funny, brilliant man who also happens to be communist. And no matter how articulate, funny, and brilliant I find him to be: I don’t want communists running my country or advising those who do. Period.
My concern is that in our haste to defeat Obama’s policies we’re going to allow two things to happen. First of all, we’re going to allow this country to become even more fractured along ideological lines. Beck is right about this as well: this isn’t about party. There are sane Democrats. Like Joe Lieberman, for example. And, of course, the GOP has not been anybody’s idea of a poster child of conservatism recently. Former President Bush should have been agitating to dismantle the Department of Education, not expand it through No Child Left Behind.
And that leads me to the second concern: we’re going to allow an elitist, pseudo-conservative GOP to profit from Obama’s mistakes without any sincere repentance of their own. Repentance is “a change of thought and action to correct a wrong and gain forgiveness from a person who is wronged.” I have seen zero evidence that the GOP is changing anything but their branding and polling strategy these days.
So while I don’t enjoy even mildly criticizing someone like Glenn Beck–who I believe is doing an absolutely, unequivocally invaluable service in this political fight–I’ve got to do it because I don’t want to be back here again in eight or 12 years fighting the same fight to take the reigns of power from one elitist, statist party who doesn’t pretend to support our conservative interests so that we can hand them to another elitist, statist party that does pretend to support our conservative interests. To his credit, I don’t think Beck wants to be here in eight to 12 years saying the same things, either.
Why, in one word, is Obama doing so poorly in public polling? Oversell. He promised to heal the earth, and he’s not even healing our economy. So when I start nitpicking about the difference in adding a single word to an already absurd quote from a committed nut-job radical, keep this in mind: accuracy is the cornerstone of credibility.
Right now, public opinion is swinging against Obama and the progressives. There’s a chance for conservatives to seize this chance and build credibility with the American people. But if we want to ride this backlash against Obama to real, meaningful reform we damn well better do this job right.
When it comes to principles?
Robert Wallace is classical liberal studying economics in graduate school. He and his wife work as business analysis consultants, and they live as undercover conservatives with their two small children in a socialist bastion of a college town. He has been writing for America’s Right since December 2008.