So it’s looking like the buzz around the Internet left is that Van Jones’s ouster is all about race. No doubt that’s part of the story—but does anyone really think the reaction from the right would have been much different had Obama appointed a white ex-Maoist to the job? For God’s sake, the right thinks cap and trade, the most conservative approach to the carbon crisis you could imagine, is a socialist plot to expropriate property, just like Obama’s scheme to subsidize the health insurance industry (aka “reform”) is socialized medicine.
Obama will keep ceding ground to them, because he wants to run a capital-friendly regime, but it will never be enough. At what point will people stop blaming things like the failure of white green organizations to fight a racist attack and start admitting to Obama’s loyalty to the deep structure of American capitalism?
The right is often nutty, delusionally so, but they also have a set of principles that they really believe in and they fight tirelessly for them. Yes, their hatred of Obama is partly fueled by race, but it’s also of a piece with the history of the American right. Hofstadter, in The Paranoid Style, quotes a woman as lamenting on Eisenhower’s re-election, “Four more years of socialism.” The teabaggers and town hallers are the same thing, 53 years later.