Feature

The resignation of Van Jones

What Fox's Glenn Beck accomplished by helping to push out Obama's green-jobs czar

"Thank you, Glenn Beck," said Arianna Huffington in The Huffington Post. The Fox News host and other right-wingers used a "vile and vicious" smear campaign to force the resignation of President Obama's green-jobs czar Van Jones. But they did the nation a favor —Jones is a "thoughtful leader who knows how to use words to move people to action," and now that he won't be stuck behind a desk he can put his "abundant skills" to better use (watch Glenn Beck criticize Van Jones).

That's one way to spin this, said Froma Harrop in RealClearPolitics. But booting Jones after midnight on a long weekend showed that the White House knew it had made a mistake by signing up a man "who had previously signed a petition questioning whether the Bush administration had let the Sept. 11 attacks happen to provide an excuse for invading Iraq." It's always tempting to "ignore the fevered rumblings from Glenn Beck and other right-wing players of regular folks' emotions," but sometimes they get it right.

The controversy over Van Jones revealed an underlying weakness in the Obama administration's approach to governing, said Ilya Somin in The Volokh Conspiracy. President Obama has dramatically expanded the use of "czars"—appointees who handle important issues without going through the normal confirmation process. Obama "has appointed more czars than the Romanov dynasty ever had"—let's hope this episode will persuade him to cut back on this "dubious practice."

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