Over the weekend, presidential adviser Van Jones resigned after a smear campaign by FOX News patron patriot of the week Glenn Beck.
So, why should Vermont care?
For starters, Sen. Bernie Sanders chairs the Subcommittee on Green Jobs and the New Economy, which is part of the Environment and Public Works Committee. Sanders has worked some with Jones — but also with the White House Council on Environmental Quality— on ways to spur the "green" economy by creating manufacturing jobs in the United States to build solar panels, wind turbines and other environmentally-friendly energy technology.
On Friday, the ranking Republican — Christopher "Kit" Bond (R-MO) issued a letter to Sanders, asking him to hold hearings on Jones' "behavior and comments to reassure the American people that their government is safe from his divisive, incendiary and ultimately counterproductive sentiments."
Sanders now doesn't have to worry about responding to Bond's letter, but he is disappointed in Jones' resignation.
Equally, Sanders is bothered by the lack of counterattack by Democratic leaders and the Obama administration on the "right-wing echo chamber."
"To surrender to them is ridiculous, because they're not going to stop. They're just going to go after the next guy," said Sanders. "We need to be standing up to them more vigorously and exposing their lies."
Beck successfully dug up unsavory moments from Jones' past — such as when Jones added his signature to a petition asking for a more detailed probe into the attacks of September 11, 2001, and calling members of the GOP "assholes" during a speech before he was hired on by the White House. Beck also drudged up claims that Jones was a communist, or a socialist, or maybe a fascist. Possibly a racist, too.
On FOX News Sunday, former Gov. Howard Dean said Jones was "brought down" and called it a "terrible loss for the country."
Vermonters had a close-up view of Jones at work when he gave the keynote speech at this year's Vermont Business Expo — the organization's 25th annual event. In case you missed what this radical, communist, fire-breathing, destroyer of capitalism had to say, here's a link to Jones' speech.
He's articulate, engaging, and offers one of the best explanations to the mysterious "cap-and-trade" system I've heard yet. He was also pretty clear that the Obama administration was siding with the problem solvers, not the problem makers, in cleaning up the environment. But, he expected the solutions to come from the private sector, not government.
I shit you not.
Best line was Jones telling the crowd that if we have a 22nd century, and he stressed if, it will not be because Pres. Barack Obama was the first black president. "It will be because he was the first green president," he noted.
He also said in 100 years the idea of the first black president will have lost its luster because the country will have elected a Latino, a lesbian and someone in a wheelchair by then. As in, there are many more firsts that lay ahead of us.
OK, now I can see why Beck is scared. I mean, after all, he's only a white guy. I mean, they don't run jack shit anymore.
If you don't want to sit through the hour-long program (his speech is about a half hour), then you want to check out this interview he did with Tuttle Middle School students Riya Patel and Neel Desai of South Burlington Network News. It's an eight-minute video, and the students cut right to the chase.
Best part of the interview is when Jones dismisses the "green jobs czar" title and says he thinks of himself as the "green jobs handyman."
If you ask me, Jones is just the first of any number of talented, articulate, educated black men in the administration that Beck and other closeted — or not-so-closeted — racists will attack and denigrate. Why? Because their real target is Pres. Barack Obama — the person they are convinced was born in Kenya with only one goal in mind: steal the presidency, wage a communist jihad and enslave all white people as reparation for, you know, real slavery.