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September 07, 2009

More on Trust

What I shall charitably call the "varied" way in which the Right and the Left have approached Van Jones' resignation demonstrates why Americans are having trust issues with the President.

Here's the Right's summation of the Van Jones affair: "We discovered that one of Obama's special advisers is an unreconstructed Marxist who, among other things, signed a Truther petition and expressed Truther sentiments, said Bush 43 was a 'crack-head', supported cop-killer Mumia, thinks 'Kanye was right', and calls Republicans 'assholes.' So we asked for his resignation."

Here's the Left's summation of the Van Jones affair: "It's because he's black."

No, really, that's what they're saying:

This was a lynch mob and, when it started forming a month ago, we didn't take it seriously enough. When I saw the first Glenn Beck piece on Van Jones and the Apollo Alliance as the new vast left-wing conspiracy, I could not take it seriously. Silence enabled Fox to keep pushing. The statements for which Jones apologized -- the reference to the right as "assholes" and saying that Bush was talking "like a crack-head" were such ordinary political discourse -- think Rahm Emmanuel, think Dick Cheney saying "fuck yourself" to Senator Leahy, think Tom Friedman dubbing Bush "the addict-in-chief" -- that I didn't understand why an apology was necessary; I assumed it would blow over.

Well, that was a mistake. So was the decision by the White House to treat the initial attacks not as part of an assault on the president but, instead, to allow them to be viewed as being about Van Jones. What we underestimated was the power of the fact that both Jones and the Barack Obama are black. Yes, the hysteria was about politics -- I don't think Fox News really cares about Jones's ethnicity -- but it was enabled by race. Calling Bush a "crack-head" is seen by a large part of America as worse than calling him "addict-in-chief" because crack is not just a drug -- it is a drug used largely by black people. It reminds those Americans who are still uncomfortable with Barack Obama that we have a black president.

...If you watch the infamous "assholes" video carefully, it's clear that what Jones was saying was that Republicans play hardball better than Democrats, and that we need to start playing by their rules. He said it, though, in the language of his own community -- and that, at the end of the day, was his crime. He spoke to and was of a part of an America that Fox and the reactionary right would like to put back on the plantation or pretend is not part of our nation.

This is vile, nasty stuff from Sierra Club Executive Director Carl Pope and it's widespread among Lefty commentators. It is reflected in the pallid coverage in the legacy media, which has emphasized Jones' claims that his views have been "distorted" rather than the actual content of his views.

Jones' Trutherism is entirely unmentioned in Pope's aplogia. It is conveniently omitted and if not for a concerted effort on the Right would never have been mentioned in the legacy media. That's the problem! The Right sees a radical Leftist troublemaker walking the halls of power and objects. But the Left cannot even be bothered to tell the whole truth about the man!

Well, as a result, we're not going to trust people on the Left. They so consistently lie about things—like Van Jones—for which there is no justification. If they want to defend the guy, fine. That's their right. But if they are going to defend him, they're going to have to be honest about him. Leaving his Trutherism unmentioned is a concession that it really is beyond the pale. If you stumble into Trutherism, you've crossed a moral and political event horizon. There is no return and a Truther like Jones should never have been let near our government.

Moreover, the Leftist defense of the President and all the President's men always seems to boil down to the same thing: "racist!" This is what I was talking about this morning. They namecall incessantly. It's impossible to trust someone—no matter how many friendly overtures they make—when its certain they're going to call you a racist the first time you disagree. There's not even a point to dialogue with folks like that. They're just smiling through their fangs, waiting for the right moment to attack.

And so the Right comes to distrust the Left because Leftists can't even seem to tell the truth when it doesn't matter, as in the case of a former green jobs czar who will probably go to a nice cushy community organizing job. How can we trust them to tell the truth when it does matter?

Micro-update: See Ace's post directly below for an example of this in the legacy media. No wonder the New York Times' readership is dropping.


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posted by Gabriel Malor at 02:16 PM

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