Two thoughts on Saturday’s resignation of Van Jones, President Obama’s green jobs adviser:
1. The Obama administration did a poor job of vetting this appointment. Considering his past record of activism, Jones was certain to be a lightning rod. Even some liberal commentators who know Jones were surprised that he had ascended to a White House appointment. Jones is a charismatic figure — a passionate, eloquent speaker — but he has allied himself with some very questionable causes, including the fringe notion that the Bush administration knew about and allowed the 9/11 terrorist attacks to happen. Even though the conservative claims that Jones is a "communist" are ridiculous and irresponsible, there’s more than enough fire here to justify Jones’ departure.
2. While Jones clearly was not Obama’s wisest choice for a White House post, he’s a troublesome kitten compared with some of the dangerous beasts who surrounded President George W. Bush during his eight years in office. The men and women who orchestrated the Iraq war through lies and obfuscations, who created Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo and other secret prisons, who made a mockery of the attorney general’s office — in context, their repugnant and destructive acts greatly dwarf the questionable beliefs of Obama’s green jobs guy.
The Jones resignation is a minor glitch for Obama, not the biggest story of the century, as right-wing talk show hosts undoubtedly will characterize it when they return to their microphones after the long weekend. Every president runs into these kinds of things, and the smart ones get past it quickly. Bush, by contrast, kept his cast of kooks on the payroll for years and years, allowing them to foul up everything they touched.