Van Jones incident pulls back curtain on Nixon maneuver as Obama speaks.
”Watch what we do, not what we say”
— Nixon Attorney General John Mitchell to reporters as Nixon Administration began.
— Republican slogan in the 1946 congressional elections
Van Jones was not a vetting problem, he was a “getting caught red-handed” problem.
As discussed on Friday in this space, Jones would never, ever have been allowed in the door of the White House with his nutty record — much less be hired to work there — unless people at the top thought of him in, an ideological sense, as one of their own. This episode has nothing to do with vetting, with race or anything else other than that the curtain was momentarily pulled aside to reveal what President Obama and company really, truly believe.
More to the point, it shows exactly where they are trying to take the country.
As the President prepares to address the health care rebellion that burst into public view at town hall meetings across the country, and as the real meaning of the Van Jones resignation begins to sink in, let’s look back a moment. Turn to what seems to be an eerily familiar strategy that was, in the day, famously associated with President Richard Nixon and his attorney general, John Mitchell.
William Safire explains how it worked.
Mr. Safire, the wonderfully talented and fearless Nixon aide and loyalist who wound up his career in the public eye as the resident conservative on the New York Times editorial page, described Mitchell’s “watch what we do, not what we say” strategy this way in an essay at Mitchell’s death in 1988:
Coming from the law-and-order campaign manager with the visage of a bloodhound, that epigram was interpreted as the epitome of political deceptiveness.
But his intent was to reassure blacks that, foot-dragging poses aside, the Nixon Justice Department would accomplish desegregation. John Mitchell knew that the appearance of a tilt toward white Southerners would ease the way for acceptance of steady civil rights progress for blacks, and sure enough, what he did in this area was much better than what he said.
The objective was admirable. Integrate the segregated public schools of the South — a legacy of the Democrats — while proclaiming other intent. Notably, this also worked. To his opponents’ teeth-grinding acknowledgment, it was in fact Richard Nixon who saw to it that segregated schools in the American South went the way of the dinosaurs.
The sudden burst of attention surrounding the resignation of Obama “green jobs czar” Van Jones serves notice that the president who was a community organizer and follower of Saul Alinsky has up until now been effectively putting the Nixon/Mitchell stratagem to work — resurrecting it on behalf of some of the furthest left causes on the American political scene. If watching what was said while not paying attention to what was being done worked for Nixon and Mitchell on school integration, it can work for what is really the Obama agenda.
The Nixon-Mitchell approach was working for Obama, in a fashion. Everybody was watching, almost hypnotically so, what Mr. Obama said — the wonderful verbal imagery, the now unmistakable voice earnestly oozing words like “keep your doctor” “tough choices0 “putting a sweeping economic recovery in place” and, of course, the trademark “yes we can!” The polls were high, the good-will abounded.
But almost no one in the mainstream was, per John Mitchell, watching what Mr. Obama and company were actually doing: effectively attempting to re-make America in the image of the oldest of far left-wing nostrums, using socialism, identity politics (racism), appeasement and soft tyranny to overhaul a nation built on principles of freedom and liberty. Changing a country of vast prosperity created by a devotion to bread baking economics into a nation of economic beggars, based on long discredited leftist theories of bread slicing economics. With Mr. Obama and his political allies doing the slicing.
Were it not for the conservative opposition on talk radio, in the blogosphere, on Fox News (Glenn Beck, please take an extremely well-deserved bow), and in publications like this one, Van Jones would still be wearing his White House pass. Because it is here in these places — and only these places — that people spend their time actually learning what Mr. Obama is really doing — not just listening to the pretty words. They will, as learned long ago, not be getting it from a mainstream press that has sold its journalistic soul to liberalism and Mr. Obama. On Sunday, a furious New York Times columnist Tom Friedman sat on NBC’s Meet the Press and referred to the Internet in the context of Van Jones record as “an open sewer.” As Byron York at the Washington Examiner trenchantly pointed out, the number of stories on Mr. Jones in the Times preceding his resignation? Zero. Ditto with the three broadcast networks and the Washington Post.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?