The New York Times’ Caucus Blog didn’t note if Van Jones teared up when addressing Glenn Beck directly in a speech to the NAACP, but I insist on believing he did. It renders the image so much creepier, and that much more entertaining, when he does a Sally Field channels Jim Jones by way of Bob Marley [update: with a–how could I have missed it?–shout-out to Avatar (“I see you”*)]:
“I see you, and I love you, brother,” Mr. Jones said. “I love you and you cannot do anything about it. I love you and you cannot do anything about it. Let’s be one country. Let’s be one country. Let’s get the job done.”
I’m going to love you forever, or until the weight of my love caves your skull in. Jones was in Los Angeles accepting an award, apparently for some artful obfuscation conflating “green jobs” (not to be confused with “little green men”–much more often sighted, if slightly harder to verify) and civil rights, thus diverting some portion of the public purse to a grateful political network. The actual wording of the award citation may have differed somewhat.
Anger on the Left over Jones losing his scalp was more aroused by who would wear it, the hated Beck, than by the loss of Jones, whom Beck raised for his purpose from a deserved obscurity (for the man, not his former office, which deserves much more skeptical clarity). It’s understandable; Beck and his ilk are not sated by these political kills but only made hungrier. So a Van What’s-His-Name is beside the point–it’s the principle, so to speak, of the thing.
But Rahm Emmanuel, being no fool (witness the lack of public declarations of personal love for political enemies), must have viewed Jones as a relatively cheap loss, and one better taken earlier rather than later. A guy like that has the potential to become a real embarrassment down the road, and if you’ve already satisfied one campaign-debt with the absurdity of Van Jones, Green Jobs Czar, indeed, if you can essentially retire that debt early, well… Van Jones was the political equivalent of the decoy flares aircraft jettison to fake-out heat-seeking missiles. Or he would be, if such systems held the potential to explode unexpectedly in flight. Good riddance.
I, however, join those lefties who still lament the loss, if not for the same reasons. Van Jones would have made great theater. You’re right, this isn’t fair at all–he is making great theater. Here’s hoping he gets the roles and attention commensurate with his talent. His most recent performance proves his commitment to his art and devotion to celebrity. Acting takes the courage to risk your dignity; or so actors and their acolytes insist, endlessly, often in undignified fashion. So, in my best imitation of James Lipton’s purring drawl I say: Bravo, Van Jones! Encore!
*alternate title, for the Freudian-themed Horror Film version: Vangina, The All-Seeing Eye.