The Blogger Licensing Board informs me that I have to say something about Van Jones. Scattered thoughts below:
First, my take is that he's a guy with some amazing accomplishments who simply never should have signed on in light of his 9/11 comments. There's just no way you can ask an administration with such big issues on its plate to take the time to fight this battle. And honestly, truthers give me the willies. So regardless of whether he read what he signed or not, this is not a battle I want to fight with health coverage reform in the balance.
Second, I think liberals are upset not so much because of Jones himself, but because of the timing. His resignation comes on the heels of a number of completely unnecessary surrenders in the face of right-wing attacks. Obama's revision of his address to students, along with his waffling on end-of-life counseling, particularly annoyed me. People are also extremely upset about the White House's waffling on the public option.
But while all of these events are frustrating, I don't think it's fair to lump Van Jones in with them. It's just qualitatively different.
Third, I don't buy the argument that the resignation will empower the Glenn Becks of the world. Beck and others have been ranting for some time, and the Democratic numbers in Congress look pretty good. And if those numbers go bad, it won't be because of Beck.
If anything, I think Beck & Pals might learn too much from this. If the resignation causes them to redouble their efforts on the crazy and paranoid conspiracy front, that's potentially helpful. The more crazy they get, the more I think Obama benefits long-term.
Fourth, and finally, the most substantively frustrating aspect of the resignation is that it's sure to slow down the already-too-slow appointment process. We're quickly approaching the one year anniversary of the election. It's outrageous that so many offices remain vacant. And this isn't going to help.