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Cheap Patriotism': Van Jones' New Book Attacks Tea Party, Glenn Beck


"It will not be easy to stop the dream killers."


Former White House Green Jobs Czar Van Jones has become infamous among Tea Party activists and their allies by this point as the 9/11 Truth spouting former communist who helped craft the Obama administration's strategy on green jobs while rallying the administration's progressive base. Now, Jones has published a memoir about his experiences in the administration. If preliminary excerpts and interviews with Jones are any guide, it's somewhere between a semi-sober reflection on the past and a vicious polemic against Jones' political adversaries including, but not only, the Tea Party movement and Glenn Beck himself.

The Leftist website "Democracy Now" has reprinted what looks to be the introduction to Jones' book. It definitely starts off on a fiery note, denouncing Tea Partiers and talking up Occupy Wall Street in several revealing passages:

Of course, it will not be easy to stop the dream killers. Tax policy that burdens working families and gives the biggest breaks to the super-rich has helped to keep more and more of our national wealth locked in the private safes of the top 1 percent. This alarming economic polarization, combined with the constant flow of good-paying jobs overseas, threatens to end our status as a middleclass nation. Too many of our big banks and largest corporations are behaving in a manner that is both irresponsible and unpatriotic. Their conduct makes it that much worse for the many patriotic and responsible businesses—especially small businesses—that follow the rules and provide good jobs to their employees.

Additionally, many well-intentioned people have been recruited into a powerful crusade—the Tea Party movement—that promises the American people economic relief by slashing taxes and taking a wrecking ball to America’s government. The impact of the Tea Party’s reckless policies would be to financially decimate our government, further dismantle America’s middle class, and strengthen the chokehold that the top 1 percent has on the economy. Nonetheless, the Tea Partiers effectively seized the public narrative in 2009 and congressional power in 2010, quelling the wave of hope generated by the 2008 election. They have succeeded at painting their agenda “red, white, and blue.” If we are to have an economy that works for the remaining 99 percent, this kind of “cheap patriotism” must be sidelined in favor of a “deep patriotism”—one that honors the accomplishments of our parents and grandparents. After all, they used the tools of both free enterprise and democratic government to build a society that sets the global standard.[...]

Corporate America’s millions of casualties are beginning to find their voices, stand together, and fight back—against joblessness, homelessness, and despair. The destruction of America’s middle class is meeting with angry opposition in the streets. The protest wave began in February 2011. It was powered by public fury over union-busting legislation proposed by Tea Party governors in Wisconsin and Ohio. It grew throughout the spring, as students mobilized to oppose tuition hikes, and foreclosure victims resisted evictions. In the summer of 2011, hundreds of thousands took to the streets in every U.S. congressional district to rally against devastating budget cuts under the slogans “Jobs Not Cuts” and “Save the American Dream.”

Powerful stuff, but according to a companion piece by the Huffington Post, this isn't the tenor of Jones' entire book. He comes up to breathe and even reflect on his time in the administration at various points. He even takes a critical view of the Obama administration's approach to coordinating with liberal activists, accusing them of writing legislation before talking to their base, and then more or less forcing their base to accept that legislation, rather than take input.

And, of course, he talks about his experience being "targeted" by Glenn Beck for his previous ties. Though he obviously dislikes Beck for forcing him out of office, Jones does drop one interesting nugget, highlighted below:

Jones reports that he initially asked Color of Change leader James Rucker to stop a boycott against Beck, worried that it would backfire. Beck succeeded in ousting Jones, but the assault on his advertising base was also successful, and Beck is no longer on Fox News.

It took a toll on Jones. "Unless you have been at the center of a media firestorm, it is almost impossible to describe how unreal it is," he writes. "There is a face on television, and it is yours. But the commentary around that face is so distorted that it may as well be the visage of another person. One day, you are a three-dimensional person, known to your friends and colleagues in all your complexity, good and bad. The next day, you are flattened-out, two-dimensional, billboard-sized caricature of yourself on your worst day. Your name is everywhere, but you no longer exist.

"The disconnect between your inflated televised image and the logistics of your practical life is particularly disorienting," he continues. "You still live in the same house. No limo appears to take you anywhere, just because your face is on television. You still have to run down the street in the rain to catch the bus and the train."

You can watch Jones' elevator pitch to the Huffington Post below:


One thing that can definitely be said is that Jones' views, while they might not have moderated, they've certainly become more cynical.

"I have a 360 view. I saw how too many people at the White House level, they didn't understand the grassroots, social movement side, and too many people on the social movement side didn't understand the White House, so this book is for what I call the 'post-hope' Democrat," Jones says. "We know reelecting Obama ain't gonna do it."

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