Jones was recruited not in spite of his wacky beliefs but because of them
Just how comfortable was the Obama team with the far left, radical statements and beliefs of Van Jones?
Obviously, they believed he fit right in. Somewhat lost in the controversy over Jones Trutherism, his conspiracy mongering about whites trying to kill black people through environmental degradation, his anti-Semitic statements on Israel, his support for the cop killer Mumia, and other beyond the pale beliefs is the fact that, as Paul Mirengoff of Powerline points out, Obama had his eye on the "former" communist for years:
Having watched the rise of Van Jones, why did Team Obama nonetheless "recruit" him into the White house? Because what Jones says and believes is well within the range of what Obama believes, and thus not jarrring to him and his crew.
If Jones is now beyond the pale, it is only because the Obama crowd finally hears him through the filter of a controversy. When Obama and company heard him only through the filter of what they believe, there was no controversy because his statements -- e.g., his attack on Israeli "occupation" dating back to 1948 and his claim that "U.S. tax dollars are funding violence against people of color inside the U.S. borders and outside the US borders" -- are not particularly controversial to Team Obama.
This, of course, is the Rev. Jeremiah Wright phenomenon all over again. Wright's racist, anti-Israeli, anti-American statements didn't jar Obama while he was sitting in Wrights's church for 20 years because they were not that different from what Obama believes. Even when controversy erupted and Obama's political future was on the line, Obama at first found Wright's pronouncements no more in need of being "disowned" than his grandmother's view that she'd rather be driven to work than be panhandled by an aggressive black man at the bus station. It took a shot by Wright at Obama himself to cause the candidate to break with his spiritual mentor.
One of Paul's friends is quoted as saying, "Van Jones is simply Jeremiah Wright behind a White House desk." How true, indeed.
Obama's radical associations may not have prevented him from winning the White House. But I have a gut feeling that his links to these nutcases won't get quite the free pass he received in 2008. A few more Van Joneses coupled with Obama's attempt to restructure our economy and the voter won't need the MSM to tell them that something is terribly wrong with the president and the company he keeps.
Hat Tip: Ed Lasky