On the Jones thing, I defer to Conor Friedersdorf:
Oh Van Jones, your past is so absurd that you’ve managed to align Glenn Beck and mainstream opinion! Is the Obama Administration unaware that a frighteningly large minority of citizens imagine that the president secretly harbors radical Marxist impulses that he intends to surreptitiously advance via the federal bureaucracy? It’s as though George W. Bush appointed a guy who spent years prior publicly agitating for the invasion of Iraq in order to seize its oil fields and establish an imperial foothold in the Middle East. (Heh.)But wait- it might not have actually been a 9/11 Truth petition! (And yes, I just linked to LGF for exculpatory evidence for a liberal.)
I’m surprised to see so many voices in the left blogosphere defending Mr. Jones. I’d normally be sympathetic to a guy who gets forced out of government for a faux-outrage controversy unrelated to his official duties. But this is the rare instance where, if you explained the past actions at issue to the average apolitical person, they’d regard the guy as someone who shouldn’t be entrusted to do any government job that affords a lot of discretion over millions of dollars, and any outrage they felt wouldn’t be faux.