Van Jones’ opinion of the GOP

VAN JONES’ OPINION OF THE GOP…. For a seven-month-old quote, this is generating a surprising amount of attention today.

A video in which White House green jobs adviser Van Jones calls Congressional Republicans (and himself) “a**holes” is quickly making the rounds on the Internet this morning.

Jones made the off-the-cuff remark in February, during his lecture at a Berkeley Energy and Resources Collaborative (BERC) event on the green economy. At the time, the Obama administration had not yet tapped Jones to serve as a special adviser on the White House’s Council on Environmental Quality.

In the exchange, Jones was asked why a Republican president working with a Republican Congress can pass more of its agenda than a Democratic president working with a Democratic president.

“Well, the answer to that is, they’re a**holes,” Jones said. He added, “Barack Obama is not an a**hole. Now, I will say this: I can be an a**hole, and some of us who are not Barack Hussein Obama, are going to have to start getting a little bit uppity.”

Jones later became the White House “green jobs” czar — he had no official role in the administration when he made the remarks — and later still, the man Glenn Beck has identified as the nation’s #1 bogeyman.

As far as I can tell, neither the Republican Party nor its cable news network has yet called for Jones’ ouster, and I’m hoping they won’t. He did, after all, put himself in the same a**hole category as the GOP.

That said, it seems some conservatives are nevertheless offended by Jones’ remarks. One right-wing blogger complained that the president’s “minions” have failed to “elevate the tone.”

Look, I realize it’s not nice to call Republicans “a**holes,” and had Jones been an administration official in February, this might be a more legitimate complaint.

But let’s also be clear about the record here. Jones was a private citizen, joking around. In contrast, in 2004, then-Vice President Dick Cheney was approached in a friendly way on the Senate floor by a respected, long-time senator. Cheney said, in front of witnesses, “Go f*** yourself.” He then refused to apologize, boasting on Fox News that he was glad he said it, because it made him “feel better.”

For those worried about the quality of the political discourse, Obama’s team has a long way to go before they reach Bush-era vulgarities.