Van Jones, the Special Advisor for Green Jobs at the White House Council on Environmental Quality, is Number 46 of the petitioners from the so-called "Truther" movement which suggests that people in the administration of President George W. Bush "may indeed have deliberately allowed 9/11 to happen, perhaps as a pretext for war."
In a statement issued Thursday evening Jones said of "the petition that was circulated today, I do not agree with this statement and it certainly does not reflect my views now or ever."
It is a problem, of course, and folks are right to be upset -- no administration should employ believers in a-historical fringe conspiracies.
But I wonder if this isn't really a means of covering for something that should be bothering the right's conscience lately: the "Birther" movement. Patrick Ruffini over at The Next Right has continued to lay out a strong case against the right's own a-historical bit of crazy:
The Birthers are the latest in a long line of paranoid conspiracy believers of the left and right who happen to attach themselves to notions that simply are not true. Descended from the 9/11 Truthers, the LaRouchies, the North American Union buffs, and way back when, the John Birch Society, the Birthers are hardly a new breed in American politics.
Each and every time they have appeared, mainstream conservatives from William F. Buckley to Ronald Reagan have risen to reject these influences -- and I expect that will be the case once again here.
One hopes so, for the good of the GOP. But the party seems unable to break the shackles of the demagogues who claim to speak for it now -- the Coulters and the Limbaughs, the Joe the Plumbers and the Palins. Even Paul Ryan has fallen from the prominence he knew during the last budget debates (although I do expect him to be a strong voice of opposition, on fiscal grounds at least, to the health care legislation, when that fight comes).
One wonders, really, if the GOP even wants a Buckley any more.