Van Jones’ Tea Party Envy

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Of all that the Tea Party has accomplished, perhaps the movement’s most unlikely achievement to date is the admiration it has inspired on the activist Left. Disillusioned with President Obama and the rapid dissipation of a long-term left-wing dominance that Obama’s victory was supposed to usher in, left-wing activists and commentators have come to look upon the Tea Party as a model to revive their faded political fortunes.

Speaking for many on the Left, Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen recently acknowledged, “I suffer from Tea Party envy.” Similarly, the disgruntled twenty-somethings taking part in the Occupy Wall Street campaign have styled their protests as a left-wing and anti-capitalist version of the Tea Party. The latest left-wing admirer of the Tea Party is none other than Van Jones, the disgraced former Obama administration official who was ousted from his post as green jobs czar following revelations of his radical past, which included signing a 9/11 “Truther” petition. Time off from professional politics has afforded Van Jones an opportunity to reflect, and like many on the Left he has concluded that in order to regain their relevance, progressives must take a page from the Tea Party’s playbook.

Van Jones made his appreciation of the Tea Party’s success clear on Monday, when he was the keynote speaker at the Take Back the American Dream Conference in Washington D.C. The conference, featuring a number of prominent left-wing groups, was intended as a first step in the left’s attempt to build a cohesive national movement as a progressive counterpart to the Tea Party.

That is clearly how Van Jones sees it. In his remarks, he chastised the Left for its lack of organization and urged activists to imitate the Tea Party’s strategy. The Tea Party “talks individualism,” Van Jones observed, “but they act collectively.” If progressives wanted the Tea Party’s influence, they would have to stop looking to Obama for leadership and create their own national movement. As his own contribution to movement building, Van Jones announced the creation of his new group, which is called Rebuild the American Dream. According to Jones, Rebuild the American Dream will be a “support center” for the Left as it works to build its own movement. Van Jones also praised the protestors of the Occupy Wall Street campaign, which he hailed as a forerunner of the movement that is supposedly emerging on the Left.

At a time when the leading grassroots movement in the country is the Tea Party, Van Jones’s emphasis on structure and cohesion has obvious appeal on the Left. In this account, the problem is not with the left’s political agenda but with its organization. All progressives need to do to rival the Tea Party’s influence is to coordinate their efforts more effectively and accept that, campaign rhetoric notwithstanding, Obama will not be their savior.

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  • UCSPanther

    I think the Liberals miss the '60s (Their glory days) and the '90s (When they finally did get to rule, and made one hell of a mess in the process).

    I predicted that Obama's election may be a last gasp for late 20th century Liberalism some time back, and I wager that will be more accurate than I expected.

    • StephenD

      You are 99% correct! The only issue is your use of the term LIBERAL. There is nothing liberal about espousing a Totalitarian system of government. I only use the term LEFT.

    • Anti-BertramScud

      From your lips to God's ears. One hundred years of 20th century progressivism is more than enough demonstration that socialism doesn't work. Everything they control now is a mess, in particular, education. It's amazing the U.S. survived it. The boomerang effect created by so many American finally fully awake is going to hit progressives so hard, they won't know what happened or how. They will never recover. There will be no "reinventing themselves" this time around, because no disguise will conceal who they really are. Everyone knows. They've ruined enough lives. Let's stick to the plan until the job is done! Charlie Mike until Mike Charlie!

    • Jim

      Whatchu been smokin, Obama has been Bush 3; he extended taxes for the wealthy, he expanded the Dick Cheney Halliburton profiteering war, he bailed out Wall Strreet and the banks. What else does the right wing want?

      • coyote3

        I can't speak for everyone, but repeal of any statute that was not enacted pursuant to a power enumerted and delgated to congress to start with. We can begin with the NFA, the 1964 Civil Rights Act Bill (to the extent it regulates private conduct on private property), Obamacare, the list goes on, but this is a good start.

  • BS61

    Ah, it's nice being in the majority!

  • elihew

    Brother Van is nothing but a rabble-rousing racist.

  • Chezwick_mac

    Funny how the Tea Party changed overnight from "a bunch of racists" to the imprimatur that this bunch of anarchists seek to be compared with in order to derive legitimacy.

  • StephenD

    I heard this morning a report that the largest gathering of these mobs thus far has been a couple thousand at best with 143 news outlets covering it. The TEA Party had rallies that boasted 80,000 in attendance and was hard pressed to get 87 news reports in total for all their rallies, and then only for the fringe signs and allegations (spitting, racist remarks ~ none of which were ever substantiated). Even with this obvious bias, the TEA Party is recognized as a force to be reckoned with.

  • Spider

    The "occupy wall street" mob are nothing but nihilists. They have no plan other that to tear down the current order not knowing or caring what will be its replacement. It is only moral to tear something down if you have something better to put in its place. But they don't and everyone knows it.

  • RAS

    Thanks to Obama and cronies, like Van Jones, the curtain has been pulled back exposing the Left's real anti-America agenda and waking the sleeping giant. The silly radicals and "useful idiots" protesting in the streets of our major cities are only serving to solidify the resolve of the giant to put an end to this nonsense. The Tea Party is just one manifestation of this awakening; there will be more to come. Establishment politicians also need to heed the angry roar of the giant less they become part of the unemployed.

  • Brujo Blanco

    I believe we need to use the proper terminology regarding who is trying to year the USA down. The terms I feel are accurate are communists and socialists. We see them attempting to control every aspect of our lives. They are concerned for example with how health care is provided or how it is withheld. Control health care and they literally control who lives and who dies. These commies want to control the media. Recently a journalist was screamed at for disclosing the truth regarding the Fast and Furious problem. We have an administration that wants to control the flow of information. We are in danger of having the constitution totally disregarded.

  • mrbean

    Van Jones and his ilk are just the 2nd generation useful idiot indoctrinates of the useful idiot indoctrinates of the long dead four horseman of The Frankfurt school leading the lumphen proliteriat in 2011.

  • Fred Dawes

    The race war has been going on for years and not just words but in Bodies this week one black murdered 3 whites and almost killed 7 other whites we had a new freeway shooter who is hispanic killed 1 shot 8 others all white or white hispanic the list is endless of how many whites killed and VAN Is a killer as many of his people are. its not about political ideals that is only a cover

  • tagalog

    I have doubts that a manufactured grass-roots movement like Occupy Wall Street will ever earn the authenticity that a real, self-generated, organic rising like the Tea Party has brought to itself.

  • Sound&Fury

    The left has been organizing street protests for years while "Tea Partiers" have watched quietly from the sidelines. Finally, Tea Partiers have had enough to stage their own protests, and the Left is envious. Why? Because Tea Party rallies are composed of normal Americans, while leftists rallies are composed of kooks. The left knows that it can organize, but it cannot make itself look respectable.

    • Axe

      Not anymore. Because the media is much more open, and it is impossible to control the message.

      See zombie.

  • mrbean

    Van Jones is one of those who believe in “social justice” and I am one of those who believe in economic opportunity. He is one of those who believe in taking from others by initiating force and I am one of those who believe in the individual's right to keep wealth gained from their own production.

  • Flipside

    This cobbled together article is really just another attempt by a Zionist to vent his spleen at the Center for American Progress. Amid all the other articles this FPM managing editor manages to edit about the alleged rising tide of Muslim extremism it would be nice to find the rebuttal to his attack on Kevin MacDonald who rightly pegged the nature of these coordinated efforts to dictate US policy:

    • astra

      Yeah, but blah blah blah, blah blah blah blah.
      That page you're directing us to needs to be laid out better. Half a sentence in I got a headache from the formatting.

  • BS77

    I love how all these demonstrators who are attacking Wall St., capitalism, the wealthy, the entrepreneur, are ALL using I phones, I pads, Nike shoes, cars, food, energy etc etc etc all created by and sustained by the very companies and system they condemn. Just exactly what kind of "system" do they propose?

  • deyeah23

    You know how the TeaParty is supposed to be mostly white? I'm looking at pics of Van Jones' Occupy movement and darned if they aren't mostly white too. Even in my hometown which is at least 60% black in the city, I counted 5 black people out of 500. Two were "organizers", two were kids who looked like they were there to pick pockets and 1 guy was just marching like everyone else.

    Does that make Occupy racist?

  • exchangerates

    you guys are awesome. 8 years of massive government growth under GOP leadership and suddenly it's, Oh dear the government is too big. meanwhile, with the support of Tea Party money (the billions of the Koch Bros, who are the real Tea Party movement), state governments in WI, MI, FL, PA, NJ & elsewhere are growing larger, more intrusive, and more restricting of rights. but you keep on tooting your little horn. it's so adorable how you continue to play your role in this farce.

  • BS77

    what do the leftists propose as a better system? They hate Wall St. while continuing to use I pads, I phones, Sony TVs, Nike footwear; they drive cars, eat in capitalist restaurants and shop at capitalist malls and market franchise chains while screaming they hate the system….what is the plan, lefties???? North Korean model? Maybe you leftist twits should go live in Zimbabwe or Burma for awhile to get a taste of dictatorial Animal Farm style socialism..see how you like it.

  • alexander

    Democraps already saying: "NO MO ELECTIONS" – so they will keep their "sure loss" positions….Poor FuBAR…acks

  • Ben

    Left propaganda is always based on the deception (their real goals are frightening),so any political success they see as the usual deceit ,that worth learning.

  • Rogue100

    Sorry Van, comparing the TEA Party vs the Profitable Enough Already (PEA) Party you'll easily see ours is bigger than yours.

  • Carol Cox

    This is TEA-NESS envy, pure and simple