Former Obama administration adviser Van Jones said the country should re-elect President Barack Obama to “stop the tea party” because former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney would “govern as a tea party president.”
Jones also said that some of Obama’s supporters misunderstood Obama as a “social movement leader” after his victory in the 2008 presidential race rather than as “head of state.” (RELATED: Full coverage of the tea party movement)
“We have to win politically in November to stop the tea party. We don’t want a tea party presidency, and I don’t care what you think about Mitt Romney. If we wins, he’ll win because the tea party got excited enough — that base got excited enough — he will have to govern as a tea party president so we don’t want a tea party president,” Jones said Friday at The Center for American Progress during a discussion about his The New York Times bestseller “Rebuild the Dream.”
“You’ve got to build an independent progressive movement that can both help to re-elect the president, but it also can re-energize the movement because we’re going to have to be able to both have somebody in the White House — who will listen to the people and who can be moved by the people — but we also have to have a movement to do the moving. And the last time we came out of the voting booth cheering; this time we’ve to come out of the voting booth marching. I mean, we’ve got to be very clear. We’ve got to pivot right into another big fight.”
Jones said that there was a “misunderstanding” among Obama’s supporters when he assumed office.
“There was a center for gravity that said Obama is MLK [Martin Luther King, Jr.] who ran for office and now is president. So, Obama is a social movement leader first, who just happens to be in the White House. And so we’re going to follow him like you would a social movement leader,” Jones said.
“Wait for him to give you an inspiration speech, wait for him to tell you what to do and just support him against his enemies because that’s what you do to a social movement leader. The problem is he’s head of state and those are different roles.”
He continued, “Under [George W.] Bush, you had the right movement — a big movement for peace — but the wrong president. He wasn’t anybody. Then under Obama for a long time, you had arguably the right president but you had the wrong movement: the tea party. And so we’ve got to be able to have the right president and the right movement — that’s the big challenge from November forward.”