Monday, August 21, 2017

How Soon We Forget

In an interview with Chauncey DeVega of Salon, Van Jones stated "The We Rise tour is trying to pull people back together. That's what happened in 2008 with Obama."

You'll remember that Jones was the "green jobs czar" for President Obama when he resigned because the President was under pressure from hysterical GOP criticism of Jones.  Jones told DeVega

There was only one white guy in Hillary Clinton’s ad and it was Donald Trump. You’re sending a signal, 'I’m not going to govern for all the people. I’m going to govern for these new folks,' and then you’re mad that that signal got picked up. You call people "deplorable.'

If I looked at an ad and the only time I saw a black person in the ad it was a negative or they were not there at all, and somebody called me “deplorable,” I’m probably not going to vote for him. I mean some of this stuff is real simple. We like to make simple stuff complicated. I didn’t say, “Erase our circle and draw a new circle.” I just said, “Draw our circle larger.”

That is warm and fuzzy, a vague and ultimately useless postmortem from a fellow who seems to have forgotten this:

You go into these small towns in Pennsylvania and, like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not.

And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.

That's a heck of  a way of drawing the circle larger.  Obama nevertheless prevailed while Clinton was not  able to survive the "deplorable" comment against a candidate who ran the explicitly anti-immigrant campaign Obama was spared the task of facing.

It is an interesting but ultimately futile exercise to hypothesize about whether Barack Obama, if constitutionally permitted, would have won a third term. People change, circumstances change, and the Obama presidency would have been defended by the incumbent himself rather than by Mrs. Clinton.

It would have been Barack Obama, rather than Hillary Clinton, who would have had to appeal to the supporters of Donald Trump, who made anti-immigrant and anti-free trade sentiments the virtual foundation of his case against the status quo.  I don't know how that would have come about- especially without angering discontented voters even more- and despite his implication, neither does Van Jones (interview from four months ago, below).

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