That's why Jones rose so far. That's why he was such a "progressive" star. That's why, as top Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett put it, "we've been watching him" and were so eager to recruit him to the White House.
In the White House no more. Why? He's gone for one reason and one reason only. You can't sign a petition demanding not one but four investigations of the charge that the Bush administration deliberately allowed 9/11 -- i.e., collaborated in the worst massacre ever perpetrated on American soil -- and be permitted in polite society, let alone have a high-level job in the White House.
Unlike the other stuff (see above), this is no trivial matter. It's beyond radicalism, beyond partisanship. It takes us into the realm of political psychosis, a malignant paranoia that, unlike the Marxist posturing, is not amusing. It's dangerous. In America, movements and parties are required to police their extremes. Bill Buckley did that with Birchers. Liberals need to do that with "truthers."
You can no more have a truther in the White House than you can have a Holocaust denier -- a person who creates a hallucinatory alternative reality in the service of a fathomless malice.
But reality doesn't daunt Jones' defenders. One Obama administration source told ABC that Jones hadn't read the 2004 petition carefully enough, an excuse echoed by Howard Dean.
Carefully enough? It demanded the investigation of charges "that people within the current (Bush) administration may indeed have deliberately allowed 9/11 to happen, perhaps as a pretext for war."
Where is the confusing fine print? Where is the syntactical complexity? Where is the perplexing ambiguity? An eighth-grader could tell you exactly what it means. A Yale Law School graduate could not?
No need to worry about Jones, however. Great career move. He's gone from marginal loon to liberal martyr. His speaking fees have just doubled. It's only a matter of time before he gets his own show on MSNBC.
But on the eighth anniversary of 9/11 -- a day when there were no truthers among us, just Americans struck dumb by the savagery of what had been perpetrated on their innocent fellow citizens -- a decent respect for the memory of that day requires that truthers, who derangedly desecrate it, be asked politely to leave. By everyone.
Charles Krauthammer is a 1987 Pulitzer Prize winner, 1984 National Magazine Award winner, and a columnist for The Washington Post since 1985.
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