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  • Why Van Jones' Anti-Tea Party Will Fail

    He talks about “rebuilding America,” but his ideas will do nothing of the sort.

    Last night, Van Jones launched what he’s calling the “American Dream Movement.” Jones, as you may remember, was President Obama’s Green Czar before he resigned amidst controversy. He was hired last year by Princeton University as a visiting lecturer in the Center for African American Studies.

    In his almost two-hour, live-streamed event launch—which was heavily promoted by the liberal group MoveOn.org—Jones laid out the liberal vision for America. He called the simple truth that our country has a major debt and deficit problem “a dangerous lie” and led the crowd in chants of “America is not broke!”

    In one particularly shocking part of his speech, Jones seemed to compare conservatives to terrorists, saying, “Paul Ryan’s budget would knock out more critical American infrastructure than our sworn enemies ever dreamed of knocking out.” This is specially dangerous territory for one such as Jones, who has found himself in trouble before for signing a petition suggesting that America was at fault on 9/11 or complicit in al-Qaeda’s attacks on our nation—the so-called truther movement.

    Throughout his speech, he repeated many of the same tropes of the left that we’ve heard before: that America is not broke, that the wealthy don’t pay their fair share, that union membership is the foundation of the middle class, that wages have remained stagnant, etc.

    Jones ended by questioning the patriotism of the Tea Party movement. With a nod to Vice President Joe Biden, he discussed the patriotism of paying higher taxes and took to calling his fellow progressives the “deeper patriots,” as if patriotism is determined by how much of other people’s money you can spend.

    But perhaps the major conceit in Jones’s address was the notion that the economy is a zero-sum game where the success of one person hinders your ability to succeed. If you’re not doing well, it’s because someone else is getting ahead at your expense. “We’re not broke,” Jones said early on in his presentation, “We’ve been robbed.”

    As Rachel Weiner over at The Washington Post notes, this isn’t the first attempt at a sort of anti–Tea Party, and not even the first attempt by Jones:

    A coalition of liberal and civil-rights groups united under the “One Nation” banner last year and held a rally on the National Mall in October. After the election, the group—in which Van Jones was involved—fizzled.

    We will see in the coming weeks whether this newest movement fares any better. But ultimately, it’s doomed to fail. There’s a reason the Tea Party movement wasn’t launched with a slick website or a webcast. The Tea Party was the result of a growing feeling in this country that things aren’t on the right track, that we weren’t being told the truth by our leaders.

    The Tea Party is the small business owner struggling under the weight of more and more regulations, the senior citizen wondering how the government can possibly afford to keep its promises, the parents concerned that their child will be worse off than they. In short, the Tea Party is a selfless movement driven by the desire to save our country before it’s too late.

    This new effort by Van Jones is something else entirely. It’s supported by those who, like AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, know they have a vested interest in keeping government big and are trying to convince the rest of us that we do, too. This “American Dream Movement” is about fostering jealously and class warfare to justify expansive social programs and bigger government in order to, as President Obama explained, “fundamentally [transform] the United States of America.”

    There are two important lessons from Jones’s presentation for conservatives.

    First, conservatives need to keep educating the public, because we have real solutions to the nation’s most pressing issues. The left knows they have to do something because, as Charles Krauthammer explained earlier this year, “they’ve lost the American people” and are struggling with serious Tea Party envy. After all, liberals control the Senate. They control the White House. But they know they’re losing the public.

    Secondly, while we explain the importance of reducing government and righting our fiscal house, we can’t forget to explain the other half of our message—how taking these steps not only keeps us from going off the cliff but can help stimulate growth and create jobs. In one of the videos played during the event, a woman says, “The American dream is worth fighting for.” Heritage agrees, which is why we launched an actual plan to preserve that dream and ensure that it exists for future generations. We call it “Saving the American Dream,” and you can learn about it here.


    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    29 Responses to Why Van Jones' Anti-Tea Party Will Fail

    1. LowLifeKriminal says:

      Why job creation and not wealth creation?

      • "…how taking these steps not only keeps us from going off the cliff but can help stimulate growth and create jobs."

        I guess that'd be the "stimulate growth" portion of the two. 'Course I'd say " stimulate growth and THUS create jobs." ;)

    2. Sam says:

      Van's the MAN! Only Heritage would say he'd fail…pffft!

      • Dave says:

        With all due respect this country was founded on Judeo Christian values. But almost all of this has been lost due to the progressive movements assault on God in this country. Since the Progressive Department of education has a monopoly on educating our children, lies have been spread about all of our founders being agnostics, deists, and atheists. If one takes the time to study our founding fathers they will find that they were lovers of God and Godly principles. No where is it written in the bible that peoples property is to be confiscated against their will and then given to someone else. It violates Natural Law!!!! Jesus taught us to give out of our heart. If we all did what the word of God tells us about giving the poor would be taken care of directly without the government eating up most of the money prior to it getting to the ones in need. The more the government grows the less freedom you will have until it is all gone. Wake up America! If you so enjoy the socialist agenda or communism the move to Venuzuela an hang with your buddy Hugo Chavez

    3. cejkn says:

      Pure Communist ideas, nothing this man says stands for freedom.

    4. judydcash says:

      I appreciate the fiscal point being made here. But how is it that the Tea Party or conservative movement has blinders on to the greed of the highest levels of corporate leadership? Doesn't it strike one as false that big corporations can get their way? with everything from tax shelters and loopholes to base lack of accountability for wrongs done (oil spill, wall street, bank 'theft,' etc.) Should the extremism on the right get a pass any more than that on the left? And what about caring for the middle class? Is the small business owner hurt at least as much by not being able to get a loan from an impersonal bank as from the rigid government? I think that both sides are tiresome in the inability to come to agreement – or maybe that's how this republic works. But if I have to 'choose' I will choose the little guy. It's always that epic struggle.
      And Yes, I read the Heritage Foundation's plan- again, good on some fiscal points while totaling ignoring higher group's accountability. Do such proponents acknowledge at all that to Those who are given Much, Much is Expected? So my bottom line would be- follow the middle path. I would take the best from both sides. Or can't that be done?? Thanks for the discussion.

    5. Winston says:

      because he is a communist and majority of Americans hate commies

    6. Joanniej says:

      Hold on to your hats the American Dream movement is EXACTLY what the average American wants. People in this country are not as stupid as the conservatives believe they are. We are sick and tired of all of the big tax cuts and benefits that have been going to the billionaires and the large corporations. How is trickle down economics working you and for the American public? Seems to me that the whole concept is a sham, those big tax breaks are doing nothing for the average American in fact the companies are taking the money and running to outsource their jobs. People are waking up so your article which was not newsworthy because in it you basically told us how to think rather than reporting any facts and letting the reader decide just supports the fact that you think that the public is too dumb to make their own decisions. Watch out, people are sick of being told what to think- there is a new movement on the horizon.

      • Guest says:

        Smell the roses Joannie before you're clicking your heels together and giving a straight arm salute – The reason companies outsource their business is the cost of business is too high here in the US – and the unions do nothing but ask for more money when the job market is dwindling.

        • Louis says:

          i agree with that explanation but it's also true bush tax cuts made our deficit bigger over the years. our deficit is certainly a spending problem but it's a revenue problem as well. i don't understand why raising taxes on the super rich is a bad idea. they'll still buy whatever the heck they want even after the taxes are raised. let's also close those tax loopholes. it's BS that these corporations like GE get away with paying no taxes when I have to pay most of my taxes with my own hard earned money

    7. tabarnhart says:

      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.

      • Avery says:

        All one has to do is look at what happened in the US between 1934 and 1975. First government did what private industry could not or did not do. Employed people to build infrastructure and cultural institutions in the 30's. Then with human capital and war bonds and taxes, crushed Hitler and the imperial Japanese military jargonautes to become the last standing world power. With the GI bill helped educate and retrain solders for the nations growing industry an community development in the 40's. With taxes, at the highest rate ever in our history, at 91%
        built a middle class within ten years and created the "Golden Age" of industry and economic growth in the 50's. Initiated policies that lead to greater equality and public health with the passing of the voting rights bill and Medicare in the 60's. Even under Nixon though Carter administration government open doors for greater access to higher education for poor and racial minorities through the 70's. Since Reagan in the 80's, working and middle-class quality of life has flat-lined and unions have declined and government has become the steward of corporations and the wealthy elite while ignoring the weak and disenfranchised. Thirty years later we have a nation whose barrows from the rich and powerful instead of taxing them for the state and national service that supports them. We have a staggering
        economic gap between the wealthy and working class that out rivals the Guilded Age of the 1870's through the 1920's. The spiritual and social conscious of the nation is at a crossroads. I'm grateful for Van Jones and many others for making an effort to reawaken and restrenthed this nation at it's roots.

        • TMG says:

          Very well said!! I agree completely!!

        • Quickster says:

          EXACTLY…the only thing republicans are doing is the bidding of ALEC & it's corruption of our entire political process & our ability to prosper by handing over to republicans their own laws to legislate. this undercuts the rest of us who do business here as well as work here. How American is that? I am a republican for yrs…and I wish you would open your eyes to what is really happening in our state houses & capital. WAKE UP! From one conservative to another..i didn't leave the GOP…they left me.

      • Eric in GA says:

        You seem to think that the GOP was wrong in driving up government growth – but then somehow Obama gets a free pass when he triples the problem. Seems to be a double standard – you complain of massive govt growth under the Republicans ($400 billion deficits) but have nothing to say about the growth under Obama ($1.4 trillion, or 3 times as much). If the Republicans were bad, then the Democrats should be driving you crazy.
        The Republicans were penny-pinchers compared to Obama's style of budgeting. And by the way, while it is totally true that Bush spent more money than he should have: (1) conservatives, including Heritage, did not support the excess spending (just like many Democrats didn't support Obama's willingness to extend the Bush tax cuts), and (2) a huge chunk of the spending occurred under the Democrat-controlled Congress, which they took over in 2006. So blaming Bush for all of the excess spending in 2007-2008 is a little disingenuous, since it wasn't his party that was passing the budgets then.

    8. Maggie says:

      Hilarious that McCarthyism is alive and well, still. Taxes are about investing in the United States. We are not spending other people's money, we're spending our money for things that we all use – roads, nurses, police, public education. There are so many tax loopholes that giant corporations wiggle their way through in order to avoid paying taxes, never mind that they, too, use these public roads, and were educated at public schools and have to have a public police force protect them. Certainly they're now so wealthy that they don't have to deal with such filthy low-brow things, they can hire their own health care professionals and security guards and send their children to private school. But as Americans they should be concerned about the little-person, about their fellow man. This isn't Communism, this is simply asking everyone to contribute fairly so that we can all have the chance to become as wealthy as the Koch brothers. Wealth itself isn't the issue – it's the greedy, selfish and manipulative personalities of CEOs etc who run the big corporations. The American Dream Movement is about making it fair for everyone to have a shot at living a good life, first and foremost (in my book) by closing those tax loopholes that prevent EVERYONE in the US from benefiting from the billions of dollars lost every year.

      Perhaps you are right, in that maybe it isn't "right" to start a mass-movement with such flash and glamor. But the idea is to bring together and unite all the individual organizations and people who do want a change, to get our, frankly, wandering yet certainly not un-motivated mindset focused together on one single task. Jones specifically, and repeatedly, points out that this movement isn't about one person, but about unifying this mass of people.

      • Quickster says:

        I like Van Jones & his movement…it's really a bottom up movement of real people…not phoney corp orgs parading as citizens groups. THAT is what really scares the GOP & their wealthy donors…that we the people would actually succeed in kicking their selfish butts to the curve.

    9. Jane says:

      Van Jones is executing Alinsky rule 12: "The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative." If you're like me, you're wondering why the DNC is so interested in "astro turf" all of a sudden. What Jones demonstrates is that liberals have to be taught how to counter critical thinking. "Say it with me, "America is not broke.'" Well, of course we're broke, and this new script will do diddly when Moody's down-grades the U.S. credit rating.

      Another reason why this high-priced astro turf will fail: liberals don't identify with the grammar of patriotism as their natural language is class warfare and social discord. The AFL-CIO will pay through the nose to attempt the impossible–teach entitlement-minded people who hate patriotic terminology to use it effectively against the real Tea Party.

    10. Dave Kaye says:

      Mr. Stewart, you should try the whole "substantiation" thing. It would do wonders for your writing.

    11. rjw.progressive says:

      Thanks for this article. I wasn’t sure how I felt about his idea, but the instant crescendo of right wing attacks has convinced it’s at least worth a look.

      The problem I see with current economic practices is that conservatives have forgotten (or never knew) the observation of Adam Smith, the father of capitalism, that for a nation to build wealth, it needs to manufacture the good it uses, not import them.

      The large international corporations quite naturally serve the interests of their investors.

      But when that leads to exporting manufacturing and jobs out of our country to maximize investor profits, it seems to me that American patriots have to choose between supporting those corporations or supporting our country.

      As a person who loves my country, I believe that now that we are in a “global economy,” automatically supporting large corporations is a wrong turn.

    12. Eric in GA says:

      So the liberals are now using the old stratagem popularized by many demagogues – "if you tell a lie often enough, the people will believe it." Instead of engaging in rational discussion about how to fix the deficit and debt situation, they simply insist the problem does not exist.

    13. Michael says:

      Looks like all iciing, no cake to me.

      Dozens of experts work for months on a budget plan – http://www.savingthedream.org – laying it out in 52 detailed pages, charts, etc. Van Jones just recycles liberal talking points in a fiery speech with no facts or figures to back him up. Typical of the left.

    14. CoffeeDawg says:

      You stimulate economic growth the same way you do with your lawn. From the dirt and the roots. You add water and fertilizer and good seeds and the grass grows up.

      Trickle-down, supply-side economics has been disproven over and over again and is partly responsible for the mess we're in now.

      Van Jonse's American Dream Movement may well fail. I suspect that it might because Van is NOT willing to lie about his motiviations and intensions. The American Tea Party portrays itself as a grass-roots movement but is really just a few seasoned conservative politicians who have taken a bunch of money from billionaires and corporations to whip up emotions and look after corporate interests.

      It's been called an astroturf movement because it looks like grass roots, but when you get closer, you realize it's all artificial.

    15. Bobbie says:

      such a beautiful smile that encourages nothing but hate. which makes him uglier than sin! NONPRODUCTIVE!

      I pray for those Vanny Jones has convinced of Vanny Jones personal hatefilled and EXAGGERATED perception. May people come to know their own strength through their own ability to think for themselves and see truth and reality over this man's personal weakness!

    16. toddboyle says:

      The U.S. is too big, and needs a constitutional convention to decentralize power away from the "thing" in NY-WashDC. Personally, I hope this is the year it collapses, like the Soviet Union. I hope the long-predicted collapse of the dollar happens in August. We have been stealing the production from the rest of the planet with this dollar scam. The dollar is too high. I hope inflation picks up. I hope interest rates go up. I hope oil goes thru the roof. These are good things, not bad things. So– go ahead Republicans. Make my day. Block the debt ceiling.

    17. Walter says:

      The tea party already is going socialist in New Jersey. A Socialist Party USA candidate was invited to present his platform to a tea party meeting in Monmouth, New Jersey. The tea party group praised the socialist, as did a tea party blog, and defended his presence at the meeting.

    18. don says:

      this could go down as the worst researched article of the year.

    19. Paul says:

      The article states that Jones "found himself in trouble before for signing a petition suggesting that America was at fault on 9/11 or complicit in al-Qaeda’s attacks on our nation—the so-called truther movement."

      But the truther website acknowledges on its website that Van Jones did not sign the petition. Moreover, this retraction was posted almost a full year before this article was written.

      Here is the link, posted on July 28, 2010: http://www.911truth.org/article.php?story=2010072

      "…In early September of 2009, Van Jones contacted the current board of 911truth.org asking to be removed from the 911 Truth Statement, which was created in the Fall of 2004. Since the current members were not working with 911truth.org in 2004, former Board members researched the situation and were unable to produce electronic or written evidence that Van agreed to sign the Statement."

      This deliberate misrepresentation smacks of a smear campaign.

    20. 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.

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