Over at environmental magazine Grist, David Roberts has a great post on the Van Jones controversy, and why he thinks the White House shouldn’t dump Jones:

A couple days ago I ran a post defending Van Jones from some of the more absurd charges leveled at him by noted race-baiter Glenn Beck over the last month. Jones is not an “ex-con,” he’s not a communist, he’s not even a czar. He’s not, to pick just one of Beck’s darkly hinted smears, on a top-secret mission to commandeer the U.S. Treasury and dispense slavery reparations. He is, however, two things that scare the whitey tighties off of Beck and his tighty-whitey audience: black and liberal.

[...]

This is all about bitch-slap politics. If Jones drops out, think Beck or the right-wing slime industry will stop? Think they won’t keep going after Carol Browner, John Holdren, and the rest—twisting and attacking every word and gesture from the Obama administration? “Uncovering” people as wildly caricatured leftists? Faux-populist fear merchants are like sharks; they have to keep moving, keep eating. There’s no sating them. Letting Beck bag Jones would be like chum in the water.

Read the whole post. This is the one thing that really gives me pause: Letting Van Jones go won’t let the insanity stop–in fact, like the firing of Dan Rather, it will become the stuff of legend, and provoke one effort after another to repeat the triumph. Beck and his ilk could find a flimsy pretext to call for anyone in the administration to be fired–even as the Republican Party holds one political appointee after another hostage in the Senate.

In the next Republican administration, I’d like to think that someone who signed a petition for an “inquiry” into Obama’s birth certificate would be fired. I just doubt that’s the case.

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