Yesterday Michael Moynihan noted that Van Jones, the Obama administration's "green jobs czar," signed a 2004 petition that demanded an investigation into whether "people within the current administration may indeed have deliberately allowed 9/11 to happen, perhaps as a pretext for war." After that story broke, Fox News reports, Jones insisted, "I do not agree with this statement, and it certainly does not reflect my views now or ever." An aide explained that Jones "did not carefully review the language in the petition." Jones also apologized for calling Republicans "assholes" during a question-and-answer session last February. According to Fox, "He said those remarks 'do not reflect the views of this administration' and its bipartisan aims." (To his credit, Jones did not actually deny that Republicans are assholes.) The story also plays up an essay that Jones, at the time a Yale Law School student, wrote shortly after the 1992 Rodney King riots. Contrary to Fox's implication, the essay does not exactly celebrate the riots. To the contrary, Jones wrote that "Los Angeles' great self-immolation, and its mini-versions elsewhere, give us nothing to cheer about" because "those of us on the streets"—where Jones said he "just marched around and chanted slogans"—"had rattled the bucket of radical ideas and were shocked to find it empty."
More troubling than any of this, because it is potentially far more consequential, is Jones' belief, expressed in his book The Green Collar Economy, that dramatically reducing carbon dioxide emissions not only won't cost anything but will actually benefit the economy by creating jobs. I debated this subject with Jones on a radio show last year, and my impression was that he is a true believer in the broken planet fallacy. The problem is that Jones was hired not despite but because of this nutty idea, which his boss also espouses.