On March 10, 2009, President Obama announced that environmentalist and civil rights activist Van Jones would serve as a Special Advisor to the White House, overseeing the administration’s ambitious and highly publicized “Green Jobs” project. Just six months later, in September of 2009, he resigned the post.
What happened? Fox News’ Glenn Beck picked up on a wild story in the blogosphere which alleged that Jones had signed a 9/11 Truth petition back in 2004. A vicious smear campaign ensued: Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas), Chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, publicly criticized Jones, and many conservatives called for Jones’ resignation. A year later, 911truth.org released a public statement announcing that they could find no evidence that he had ever signed the petition.
Now Jones is back in full-force, taking on Ann Coulter in a debate over the Supreme Court and the healthcare system on George Stephanopolous’ This Week: “It’s so amazing to hear the Republican party now cheerleading for the free-loaders,” he said. “If we can’t have single-payer [healthcare], we can’t have a public option, and we can’t have individual responsibility, what we’re going to have is more people dying.”
The outspoken political insider has even turned cultural critic, expressing his unhappiness at the news that James Bond will be drinking beer instead of martinis in the next Bond film. “You’re going to go from being this incredible, iconic character… to being a corporate shill?” he demanded.
Jones will be in our studio this Thursday at noon EDT to talk about what it’s like being at the center of controversy, to share his thoughts on Occupy Wall Street, and to talk about his new book, Rebuild the Dream. As the first former official from the administration to reflect on his time in the White House, Jones will evaluate the administration’s progress and offer new suggestions for how the United States can get back on track.
What would you like to ask Van Jones? He’ll answer a few good questions live on Big Think on Thursday, April 5th, 2012 at 12 PM Eastern Daylight Time.
Submit your questions by posting them in the comments section below, writing them on our Facebook page, or emailing [email protected], then tune in at noon (EDT) on Thursday to watch.