Van Jones Is Right: They Are A–holes

(from driftglass)
You might have heard about the latest successful rightwing hissy-fit: environmentalist and White House advisor Van Jones is being attacked by conservatives for calling Republicans “assholes.” But he’s saying what many Democrats are thinking. I don’t mean that any individual Republican is an asshole (or that there aren’t Democrats who are assholes). I’ll willing stipulate that they are no less kind to small animals and children. But as a party and as a political movement and organization, they are assholes. Consider:

  1. Invading a country which had nothing to do with the Sept. 11th massacres, and then accusing Democrats of treason for opposing the invasion, or even not supporting it enough (remember Max Cleland?).
  2. Zealously supporting acts of torture, which the U.S. after World War II found so horrible that it executed the perpetrators (and, as above, anyone noting this was tarred as Unamerican).
  3. Being so terrified of black people that citizens of New Orleans languished for days before being rescued.
  4. Being willfully ignorant of human-associated climate change, even though there is overwhelming evidence for it.
  5. Opposing the recent stimulus package, even though recent analysis show that without it, the economy would be worse, and hundreds of thousands more people would be unemployed.
  6. Either remaining silent or supporting the ‘deathers’ and the myriad lies about healthcare reform, while at the same time, not even suggesting a plan to prevent the roughly 18,000 deaths per year that result from lack of health insurance coverage.

Mind you, this is a very short list (I’m sure readers can add more in the comments). Anyway, this means they’re assholes (or worse).
At this point, some reader (maybe more than one) will work himself into high dudgeon about ‘incivility.’ But invading the wrong country, supporting economic policies that would keep people unemployed, and so on, these are not interesting debate subjects, after which, we can all go to a nice cocktail party and be friends. People will suffer or die due to those who hold these stupid ideas. Being called an asshole is getting off easy.
These ideas have had horrible consequences (or would have, had they not been averted). And these ideas are consciously held by people–many of whom just happen to be Republicans. So, I will be ‘civil’ when they are ethical and moral. Until then, we should view this as an excellent framing opportunity. It allows us to make the argument that certain policies have immoral and unethical outcomes, that politics should not only be discussed in objective terms, but normative ones. Or put more simply, calling them assholes is a very simple and straightforward way to cut through all the chaff they’re throwing up, and get to the basic point: what they fight for is wrong. Hell, if nothing else, they have to deny it.
Besides, they are assholes.

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11 Responses to Van Jones Is Right: They Are A–holes

  1. elmlish says:

    I’m going to miss Van Jones, he was a good man who didn’t hold back. I admire that strength of character. You can’t hold back and try to act civil in the face of a rabid dog whose only goal is to tear out your throat, kill your children and piss on your carcass. This is the republican party of today.
    Yes, there are individuals who don’t fit this description in the Republican party, but the collective of the mob which calls itself the republican party has become sick and dangerous and now is not the time for bipartisanship or playing nice.

  2. Russell says:

    Yes, they are assholes. And what they are doing now isn’t new. Remember what happened to Lani Guinier? Jocelyn Elders? The Obama White House needs to recognize that this will be played out again and again and again. It must decide what kind of background it won’t defend, and refuse to appoint those who are so marked, whether substantively or just for political purpose. And simultaneously, it needs to get tough and stand up for those appointees who are otherwise attacked.

  3. They are more than just assholes. They are moral degenerates.

  4. RFM says:

    No they are not A-holes, they are simply people who either are making out like bandits, or they represent people who are making out like bandits under the current political and economic situation. For instance, the invasion of two countries, Iraq and Afghanistan, which had nothing to do with 9/11 has made the armaments industries very wealthy (and their stockholders), promotions and pay for career military, and satisfied the millions of Americans who wanted to see something done. Better that than howling at the moon and more profitable.
    The insurance industry and the pharmaceutical industry,and so-called non-profit hospitals make money hand over fist currently. Does anybody really believe that want to change that? Of course not. Look at Billy Clinton who campaigned on a slogan that everyone was entitled to a lawyer, but not a doctor. He was probably the most surprised man in America when his own party turned against him on the issue of health care reform; and lest we forget it was the same folks who gave us Harry and Louise that now have these ninnys standing up and bleating about socialism although they have no health insurance themselves.
    It is all about money, my friends, and under our system of government it is money that determines government policy, not intelligent discussion and debate.

  5. llewelly says:

    As with Joyceln Elders, the Republicans insisted the Democrats shoot down one of their best, and the Democrats did it. If the Republicans behaved in the submissive way they demand the Democrats behave in, Sarah Palin would have been persona non grata the day she started implying Obama was connected to terrorists (a far more damaging claim than calling someone an “asshole”.)
    But as happens so often, when the Republicans throw a tantrum, the Democrats do whatever is necessary to bring the tantrum to an end, even when it is obvious that acquiescence will result in more and worse tantrums in the future.
    The Democrats have no greater weakness than their cowardly willingness to shoot down their best when the Republicans throw a tantrum.

  6. NewEnglandBob says:

    Van Jones is wrong, they are not assholes, they are fucking assholes.

  7. Bob King says:

    great minds… but I think “Assholes” is too feeble a term – and I think Edmund Burke would agree. Stop for a moment to consider that…

  8. Kaleberg says:

    Let’s stop insulting assholes by comparing them with Republicans. Without assholes we’d all be full of s—. Republicans have no such utility.

  9. Nemo says:

    Republicans are certainly assholes, and I’d like to hear every member of the administration saying so. But in the case of Van Jones, I think the real issue might’ve been his support for 9/11 Truthism… which is something I’d fire him for myself.

  10. Kate from Iowa says:

    Did you just read my mind, llewelly? I WAS kind of starting to think that the Democratic Party’s acting an awful lot like an oft-beaten spouse…
    “No…really doctor…I fell down the stairs again. I’m just clumsy, it wasn’t the Republicans.”

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