Van Jones gave a talk at Google HQ earlier this month, where he had some sound advice for his former boss: Obama needs to start acting like "most liberal President ever" -- LBJ.
During the speech, Jones seemed disillusioned. He once referred to himself as a "post-hope Democrat." His major issue was with Obama and his vaulted expectations. Once referring to the president as "MLK," Jones lamented the failure of the president to listen to the grassroots, as super liberals FDR and LBJ had done before him. Jones also condemned the leftist movement for being overshadowed by the Tea Party in its effectiveness.
Watch a segment of Jones's advice to the President below:
Some Key Jones Quotes:
- "Think about the most liberal president ever, right? LBJ, right? I think we all have to agree that LBJ is probably the most liberal president: war on poverty -- not the other war [laughs] -- like two big civil rights bills, probably the high point of American liberalism."
- "Did LBJ lead the civil rights movement? No, not at all. In fact, there was a vigorous civil rights movement in the streets, grassroots people, and there was a head of state, LBJ. LBJ was willing to listen to and respond favorably to the movement, but there had to be a movement to do the moving."
- "I think what happened to some of us was, Obama kind of looks like a social movement leader. You think he's cute. Talks good. Um, you know? And I think there was this, there where, this is MLK and he's President, right? How cool is that?! And so you kind of sit and you kind of wait for him to do what a social movement leader would do, which is to go and challenge the consensus, disrupt everything and stick up for the … but that' not what any US president has done."
- "LBJ didn't lead the civil rights movement. The people had to do that. FDR didn't lead the labor strikes that led to the New Deal. We the people did that. Lincoln wasn't even an abolitionist. That was Frederick Douglas, John Brown, a bunch of other people. Nixon -- you thought I was just making funny -- but Nixon, famously, didn't lead the environmental movement, but he signed into law the EPA, Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act. So you can have an arguably crappy president, but if you have a strong enough movement, the environmental movement, you can actually get a lot of good things done."
- "So, really, we thought we had all we needed when we got to Washington DC. We had the House, with Nancy Pelosi -- best Speaker ever. We had 60 votes in the Senate. And we had Barack Obama as president. We thought we had all we needed. It turned out, that's 1/3rd. That's the big takeaway. That's only 1/3rd of what you need."
- "You also have to have popular movements -- the Tea Party was out there as a popular movement. They had a big impact event though they didn't have governmental control. And you have to have Big Media coordination. Fox and the rightwing bloggers played a huge role in impacting policy -- even though they had none of those levers or power."