Former Obama adviser Van Jones came to the "Take Back The American Dream" summit in Washington, D.C. on Monday with one big message: stop being mad at the tea party, and started learning from them.
"I'm not mad at [the tea party] for being so loud," he said. "I'm mad at us for being so quiet the last two years."
Jones elaborated: "We had the wrong theory of the presidency. We thought that if we elected this one person... we could pop popcorn and just watch him. We went from having a movement to a movie."
Echoing Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD), who immediately preceded him, Jones added, "We can blog and tweet, but what if we actually did something?"
That's when Jones call on attendees to "build a movement to take back the American dream."
In that, he encouraged them to get inspired by the tea party, which had learned from the Obama campaign to connect existing groups to one "meta brand" -- the candidate himself. What the tea party did, according to Jones, was that "They branded not a person, but a movement."
"There is no 'tea party,'" he explained. "You can't land at the airport here in D.C. and get in a taxi and say, 'Take me to the tea party headquarters.'" Instead, Jones said, it's an umbrella organization for a large collection of pre-existing groups that got to keep their own ideas.
By connecting the groups that had supported Obama to a larger network -- and Jones suggested it be called the "Take Back The American Dream" network -- he believes that progressives "can do this bigger and better than we did in 2008."
"It's our turn now," Jones told the cheering audience. "We let the warmongers have their turn for eight years and they ruined this country."
Photo: Flickr user markn3tel.