The Van Jones affair also has served as a reminder of how weak-kneed Democrats really are. When Republicans launch a shit-storm, Democrats run for cover, time and again. Sure, Jones' decision - whether consciously or not - to sign on with the September 11 "Truthers" was a serious mistake, but it was no worse than several recent scandals that Republicans have managed to weather.
Case in point - GOP Governor Mark Sanford of South Carolina, who flew off to Argentina for five days earlier this year without telling anyone in his administration where he had gone. The right-wing Christian who preached morality and ethics had abandoned his post and used taxpayer funds to meet clandestinely with his mistress. Yet he steadfastly refused to resign. Or, remember Senator Larry Craig, the GOP moralist who was caught soliciting sex from a male cop in a men's airport bathroom? Sure, he decided not to run for reelection, but he refused to resign and stayed in office for more than a year after the scandal broke. Or how about Ted Stevens - the Republican senator from Alaska who refused to resign despite being indicted on felony corruption charges? Or what about Louisiana GOP Senator David Vitter, who was caught up in a prostitution scandal?
Democrats, by contrast, quickly call it quits when the going gets tough. And it's not just Van Jones. In the past few years, several prominent Dems have stepped away from higher office after enduring similar or lesser problems - from former Senator Tom Daschle and New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson to New York Governor Eliot Spitzer. From the Democrats' perspective, they simply couldn't withstand more scandals, while Republicans appear to have no problem enduring theirs.