Did far-left Van Jones just come out of the closet to announce that he’s a conservative? It sure looks that way.
The 2019 edition of the Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC-2019, billed as the largest gathering of conservative activists in the world, got off to an unusual start Thursday by inviting the liberal CNN host and analyst to speak on criminal justice before a crowd of largely young conservatives and libertarians.
Jones, along with event chairman Matt Schlabb, was interviewed on the subject by The Daily Caller’s Saagar Enjeti, and Jones had little but good to say about recent advances in criminal justice made possible nationally and in some states by conservatives.
“The conservative movement in this country, unfortunately from my point of view, is now the leader on this issue of reform,” Jones said, before listing some examples.
“You look at Mississippi, a rock-ribbed, total conservative former jailer is now the governor. Gov. [Phil] Bryant cut the prison population and crime at the same time. [Former Gov. Nathan] Deal in Georgia cut the prison population and crime at the same time. [Former Texas Gov.] Rick Perry, cut the prison population, prison expenditures, and crime at the same time,” adding, “ Ohio, South Carolina.”
He concluded, “What you’re seeing now is Republican governors being tough on the dollars. Tough on crime and shrinking the prison population, and showing the rest of the country that it can be done.”
He lamented that conservatives are “doing a great job on what should be my issue. You are stealing my issue!” prompting laughter and applause from the audience.
He encouraged conservatives to “take some dadgum credit for being smart. Take some dadgum credit for getting it right.”
He closed by observing that “I’ve never seen a bird fly with only a left wing, I’ve never seen a bird fly with only a right wing — not even in Mississippi.” He concluded, “We need each other.”
Prior to his CNN gig, Jones was a prominent voice in the Obama administration as the president’s Special Advisor for Green Jobs, popularly known as the “Green Jobs Czar.”
Although Jones was, for the most part, a hit at CPAC-2019, fellow liberals couldn’t believe what they were hearing, beginning with journalist Erick Fernandez.
“Honestly, what the hell is Van Jones’ endgame here?” asked Fernandrez. “This is completely embarrassing and laughable on its face.”
Far left activist, filmmaker, and podcast host Adam Best offered an analogy to Jones’s appearance.
“Van Jones going to CPAC to praise conservatives on criminal justice reform is like going to a Koch Industries board meeting to applaud their environmental contributions,” he said.
Progressive political action group Bros4America had a one-word appraisal of Jones: “Sellout.”
This isn’t the first time Jones has strayed from the liberal reservation. He said that President Donald Trump became presidential during his first address of a joint session of Congress shortly after taking office when he honored the widow of a slain Navy SEAL.
“He became President of the United States in that moment — period,” he said. “That was one of the most extraordinary moments that you have ever seen in American politics — period.”
Last December he praised Trump again, along with son-in-law and senior White House advisor Jared Kushner, for their efforts in getting a federal criminal justice reform bill approved in the Senate.
“This is history,” he said. “Right now we are witnessing history on the floor of the United States Senate.”
He added that it would never have happened but for Trump.
“He became, to the shock of everybody, the biggest, loudest champion on criminal justice and used his power to get something done,” Jones said. “I got 99 conflicts with the Trump administration; prisons are not one. Everybody came together on this.”
Maybe it’s a temporary aberration on Jones’s part. Maybe his eyes are opening to the benefits of conservatism. Maybe, despite his former title as Green Jobs Czar, he sees the folly of the far-left’s infatuation with socialism and the “Green New Deal.”
Whatever it is, take that next step, Van, and come on in. The water’s fine.