Van Jones: San Francisco progressive
Local progressives are upset that Van Jones was forced to resign from the Obama administration, but the only surprising element of the whole kerfuffle is that he was hired in the first place. Van Jones is a mainstream progressive in the Bay Area, where the 9/11 petition and supporting convicted cop-killer Mumia Abu Jamal are the norm in leftist circles. In fact, as Debra Saunders reminds us, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors endorsed the Mumia-as-victim cause several years ago.
Turns out that Jones wasn't serious enough about the 9/11 issue to defend signing that petition, so why did he sign it in the first place? If being a fringe political figure means anything, it should mean being serious enough about your ideas to defend them. He signed it because that was considered normal, sensible behavior in leftist circles, where the suspicion was/is that the US somehow arranged the 9/11 attacks to justify attacking other countries.
Saunders gets it right: as a conservative and a Republican, she acknowledges that some on the right are a little nutty, while pointing out that we liberals and Democrats also have our fringers, of which Van Jones is a prime example:
Of course, in the Bay Area, Jones' politics aren't all that unusual. He could easily fit in with the San Francisco Board of Supervisors (which passed a resolution naming a day in Abu-Jamal's honor). But inside the Washington Beltway, only amateurs and extremists believe it is acceptable to assert that the Bushies chose not to prevent the attacks on the twin towers or that Abu-Jamal---who was found with a gun and a gun wound to the chest at the scene where Philadelphia police Officer Daniel Faulkner was fatally shot in 1981---is a political prisoner.
Randy Shaw on Jones.
Tim Redmond on Jones.
Chris Daly on Jones.
Charles Krauthammer on Jones.
Van Jones's Sept. 17 open letter to his supporters.