So who sports the super-patriotic cuff links? If you guessed Van Jones from CNN’s Crossfire, you win! Actually none of you guessed Van Jones, so none of you win. But that’s okay, even the man himself admits they’re uncharacteristic.
“My liberal friends get mad at me for wearing them,” he told us through a mouthful of chicken tacos after his 6:30 show last night.
He’s not exactly a wrap-yourself-in the flag kinda guy after all. Indeed, his appeal on Crossfire is as an unapologetic, anti-war, anti-gun, pro-social welfare Progressive. Add to that a stint as Obama’s “Green Jobs Czar,” and detractors are quick to label him as one of those people trying to “destroy America.”
Van himself isn’t bothered by such accusations. “You know, I think there are only two parties in this countries -the ‘Give a Damn’ Party and the ‘Don’t Give a Damn’ Party. Me and everyone I work with, we’re part of the ‘Give a Damn’ Party.”
We asked Van where co-star Newt Gingrich fell on that spectrum. “Oh Newt is great! You know I think I’m the only other person in the country besides his wife, Callista, who has read every single one of his books.”
Even the alternative fiction? “Okay, every non-fiction book.”
That’s what we thought.
“Working with Newt is a privilege though. The man knows everything. You never know when he’ll turn to you and say something like, ‘President Reagan once gave me some advice about life…’ How often do you get to have access to a resource like that?”
Having just got off the air, Van was in a philosophical mood, espousing the conventional belief among liberals that the Tea Party would destroy itself -with some help from the Democrats – in the coming mind-term elections as long as they kept obstructing in Washington. “In 2014, the Republicans are going to run against Obamacare, and we’re going to run against the Tea Party.”
He also had some not-so-conventional wisdom (at least not on the left) about the Democratic party: “Right now we are a party of personality. If Barack Obama fell down the stairs and Hillary Clinton was kidnapped, we’d be in big trouble. We’ve got to define what we actually stand for, and stop relying so much on personalities. That’s what Bill de Blasio did in New York.”
He also had some choice words for would-be mayor Christine Quinn: “So what, you’re a lesbian, and you claim to be a Democrat, but you’re for Wall Street and for putting down brown people? What’s that about? Sorry, I’m not buying.”
The hyper-energetic host couldn’t sit still for long though before he was up and running out the door to prep for CNN’s special post-election airing of a second episode of Crossfire at 11:30. As he rounded the corner, we urged him to get some rest -after all, he just came in from California and had hours yet to go before he could sleep. Van simply flashed a smile, and perhaps alluding to his Captain America cuff links said, “Hey, sleep is for mortals.”