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Mickey Edwards
Political leader

Mickey Edwards

Former U.S. Congressman, Mickey Edwards is vice president of the Aspen Institute, where he directs the Institute's Rodel Fellowships in Public Leadership.

Not Worth Fighting For

It's an important question, though Van Jones may not be the best illustration of the issue; he was not a close adviser to the president but a fairly low-level consultant to a White House office. Jones's departure probably sends no signal at all to other administration officials because he was not "allowed to leave" because he was a Republican or a Democrat or a liberal or a conservative but because he espoused fairly extreme ideas, worked on the fringes of the political world, and exhibited great hostility to those who did not share his views. This was not a great model of what a public official should be.

It is not a mere matter of protecting a public image: If Barack Obama is the kind of person I believe him to be, I doubt he would knowingly welcome a person with such views into his administration, and I imagine he was not very sorry to see Jones leave.

That said, the bigger question, at the heart of this one, is whether or not a leader should jettison a true "valued colleague" who has not brought discredit upon himself solely because his political views have come in for criticism. The answer in that case is "no." Start dumping anybody who brings a little flak into your life, and you will soon have very few people willing to make an effort to help you achieve your goals.

By Mickey Edwards

 |  September 8, 2009; 3:23 PM ET
Category:  Making mistakes Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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I don't know why Obama cut the guy. He clearly supported what he said, he knew his work, the racial remarks were public record.

I think this guy actually does represent Obama's view, but Obama for political expediency jettisons those who are outed for expressing what the president's inner circle does behind closed doors.

Posted by: Ombudsman1 | September 9, 2009 6:29 PM
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One of the few things that I admired Bush about was his standing by those he appointed.
DITTO!
OBAMA got to cut this out stand your ground man.
Bush did he cared less he put his agenda out there and that was that!

Posted by: SOLVBACK | September 9, 2009 4:52 PM
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"I doubt he would knowingly welcome a person with such views into his administration"

Indeed, I recall seeing some reports that Jones did not fill out the usual vetting questionnaire. He may not have been a fully known quantity.

Posted by: tomtildrum | September 9, 2009 1:42 PM
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One of the few things that I admired Bush about was his standing by those he appointed.

Posted by: Badwisky | September 9, 2009 10:24 AM
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This was just another misstep by a president who has two left feet when it comes to choosing his friends.

It's better not to give jobs to radical friends. Somebody will always dig up the videos of them saying something ridiculous. It's an occupational hazard.

Good politicians never say anything they can't wiggle out of later. The really good ones never say ANYTHING of any consequence.

Posted by: postfan1 | September 9, 2009 7:05 AM
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