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Van Jones should run for Mayor of Oakland

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I had to take a time out to send a little message to my friend Jack Cafferty at CNN. He has a blog post focusing on Van Jones and asking if the White House should have so many czars.

Van Jones: Mayor of Oakland

Now a bit of background, CNN's been very good to me by giving me a platform to feature my video work, particularly during the Democratic National Convention last year, and putting me on live TV more times than I can immediately recall. CNN essentially "made me" so after so many appearances and headquarters visits, like the one below, where I met the iReport staff that's become family to me, I've got a pretty good idea what they're looking for.

Now, I know what CNN's doing - same thing I do - ask a question or go to a subject that I know will smack the hornets nest and get people emailing, commenting, and talking, er, like this one. It's called building buzz and generating new content by creating provocative content. People fall for it all the time, get pissed and write stupid things (which helps the cause), so I decided to help CNN out a bit and in a circuitous way and post something I knew would get others going and draw the attention of their producers:

Jack, leave Van Jones alone. You don’t know the man. He’s not as conservatives have painted him and yes, the Obama Adminstration should have vetted his past better, but he’s done a lot of good here in Oakland and could run for Mayor and win.

Knowing CNN as I do, I figured they'd post this and Jack would read it on the air, and they did and he did.  But I beyond the matter of New Media process and economics, I do believe what I wrote.  Van Jones can be an effective mayor of Oakland. And now, he's got a good deal of name recognition that would help him raise money to run. (Francis Dinkelspiel has a great blog explaining the Bay Area's tradition of activism and how Van's so much a part of our culture.)

Yes, the current buzz about Van has been negative,  but the good thing is that now Van's been "pre-vetted" and can move forward and allow more Oaklanders get to know him.  But that's not a problem because the vast majority of us do and we know the real Van Jones. He's committed to improving the lives of those less fortunate, making goverment work for everyone, and improving the overall quality of life.  The good news is he's done it here in Oakland.

Van Jones is just the tonic Oakland needs to move forward.

After Jack read my message on CNN's The Situation Room, I got a few texts from people that frankly are in good positions to help him become Mayor if he wanted that.  That's not what they were texting about; it was to say "Way to go."

The conservative attack on Jones, a swift-boating and a smearing that left Jones with a new national identity to build from.  Yes, he's got to overcome the YouTubing he's gotten and he can do this with, well, new videos.  Van's not the radical he was in the past, but you know what, Sean Hannity's not cavorting with the White Supremacist Hal Turner anymore either right?

Yes, Van's said some dumb things in the past and he's apologized for them, but this is 2009 and he's remade himself into a powerful person working for the good of all Americans. 

I think you see my point.

To my conservative friends at the conservative website Free Republic, er, Freepers, (and yes I do have Freeper friends and agree with them on not a few issues) which give me so much traffic (thanks!) I've got to let you know that people who support Van Jones, like me, aren't "commies" and in fact have some of you as friends.

I know it makes you feel good to haul off and trash people you don't know, but I think you're wrong about Van and would like him if you met him. 

Give him a chance.

To Van, I say this: run for Mayor.  For some weird, zippity-do-da, reason only the Lord knows, you've been given a powerful platform and an giant army of really pissed off supporters around America and certainly in Oakland. 

You can do a lot of good here. Run for Mayor of Oakland.  Strike while the iron is hot.
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