Say what you like about Van Jones, but the man is a spectacularly gifted spokesman for the reptilian portion of the young American Left's collective consciousness. And perhaps because of this, his speeches are eminently predictable - they will almost routinely be a mixture of Left wing talking points, adulation for Occupy Wall Street, defiance toward whatever group happens to be making a conservative counter-argument, and pure, undiluted narcissistic reinforcement for his typically under-informed audiences.
And perhaps no speech captures this eerie mixture better than Jones' speech today at the Take Back the American Dream Conference. This speech hit all of Jones' bases, slamming everyone from critics of Occupy Wall Street's messaging to Republican supporters of the Keystone Pipeline to the Bush tax cuts to even the Trayvon Martin case. And as per usual, it was all framed in terms that cast "the young people" on the side of the virtuous Leftists, and everyone else on the side of the evil Right. Watch the speech below, followed by some of the juicier excerpts:
On GOP climate change skeptics: "Look at the [young people] who watched the hopes of a planet be destroyed by a do-nothing, obstructionist Congress that still has not moved on climate change, that still has not moved towards clean energy, that that has been stuck on stupid - afraid of science now for three or four years. Look at the face of that."
On the Keystone pipeline: "They said, 'we're not going to let them jab this dirty needle of a pipeline into America. We're not going to let them take the dirtiest energy ever created and cook it up and stick it into this country. And they broke the seal in August of last year, in civil disobedience against this White House, nobody a year ago was saying 'it's time to do civil disobedience against the White House.' These young people said, 'My future and the future of this planet is too great,' and 350.org and Bill McKibben and the Native American tribes went down in the heat of August. And they sat in, and thousand were arrested, and the media tried to ignore it, but a message was sent. And through their courage, the project was derailed."
On Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party: "Look at the young people who rescued America last year, coming out of that horrible August when the Tea Party put Congress in a headlock and said, 'If you don't do what we say, we're gonna blow a hole in the American economy.' We're gonna destroy America's credit rating. And this whole town trembled in fear and gave in and said, 'Okay, we'll create a Supercommittee' to do super damage to the American people. And some young people and some struggling folks, no pollsters, no lobbyists, no big grants, went down with some sleeping bags and some tents to the scene of the crime against their future and occupied Wall Street and turned this country upside down."