I’ve read a bunch of books and articles about the Obamas’ rise to power and Valerie Jarrett has been there every step of the way—ever since she first met Michelle Obama (and hired her) in 1991. Indeed she seems to be the third wheel in the Obama marriage. Jarrett, an only child, was married for five years herself in the 1980’s and her marriage produced one daughter now grown up, so she seems to have appended herself to the Obamas for more than two decades so far.
The other night my ears pricked up when I heard Ed Rollins tell Sean Hannity that it was Jarrett behind the decision on Obamacare that so riled the Catholic Church. He went on pointedly and without any equivocating verbiage, to state that she too was behind the Keystone Pipeline decision. Hannity never picked up on it and the discussion continued.
Religious freedom firestorm
Brother to former Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, Bill Daley, the now-departed Obama chief of staff, was cited as one of those within the Obama Administration who said there would be hell raised if they went forward with the decision to force Catholic agencies to provide birth control and abortion services.
Remember too that chief of staff Daley resigned in the same week that Jodi Kantor’s book was released in which we learned that Jarrett and FLOTUS Michelle (while both were working for Mayor Daley) said they were sick of all the white Catholics (like the Daley family) running Chicago and Illinois politics. I assumed it was the ‘white’ boy part that offended Daley, but it’s possible that it’s the Catholic part that served as the last straw for him resulting in his surprisingly early return to Chicago.
Kantor tells us on many occasions throughout her book that Jarrett was behind many of the conflicts between staff members as she and Michelle, ever the ideologues, fought with the political pragmatists Robert Gibbs and Rahm Emanuel to name just two. Oh, and don’t forget it was Jarrett who brought avowed communist and now Occupy Wall Street strategist Van Jones into the White House.
Is Jarrett an inept bumbler and abrasive crank, or something more?
Weekly Standard writer Matthew Continetti calls her the worst White House Aide ever. I’m not so sure. She seems to be consolidating her power having apparently been responsible for the departure of Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, and two chiefs of staff, Rahm Emanuel and her former boss (the white Catholic boy) Bill Daley.
Oh, and do you remember all the fuss about who would get Barack Obama’s former Senate seat? Remember there was talk about Jarrett getting it? Seems that Obama killed that idea himself. Emanuel wanted Jarrett in the Senate (and not hovering at the White House), but Obama nixed the idea because he wanted Jarrett nearby.
Here is Continetti (in the Weekly Standard article I missed last month, emphasis mine):
If for nothing else, Jodi Kantor’s The Obamas will be remembered for an anecdote from 2010. After he spent hours disputing an allegation in the French media that Michelle Obama thought life in the White House was “hell,” press secretary Robert Gibbs encountered senior adviser Valerie Jarrett. She told him the first lady was unhappy with his work. Gibbs exploded in a rage, informing Jarrett that she didn’t “know what the f— you’re talking about” and that if Mrs. Obama was displeased, well, “f— her too.” Subsequent relations between the senior adviser and press secretary were strained. Gibbs told Kantor he stopped taking Jarrett seriously “as an adviser to the president of the United States.”
It’s about time. Many have wondered—and the Washington Post asked last year—“What, exactly, does Valerie Jarrett do?” No one has a clear answer.
Continetti says of Jarrett, the daughter of a black medical research doctor and by all accounts an accomplished man, who was born in Iran and supposedly shares with Barack a view of America as just “one of many” countries, nothing exceptional, as far as they are concerned.
In making his case that Jarrett is a political neophyte or just plain inept, Continetti lists all the political blunders Obama has made that have Jarrett’s fingerprints all over them. Read the list yourself here.
…. journalist Richard Wolffe, divides the administration into “revivalists,” who want the president to be true to the spirit of hope and change, and “survivalists,” who believe compromise is necessary in a divided country. Jarrett is the leader of the revivalists, and her fingerprints are on every blunder and boo-boo the White House has ever made.
When I read Kantor’s book, I came away with the strong impression that Obama was as he says of himself—“lazy” and somewhat not engaged, willing to allow the power play (that includes Michelle!) to go on around him as he slipped off to play pool upstairs with Martin Nesbitt. Who is that you ask? Haven’t heard of the Nesbitts and the Whitackers? No surprise—their presence in the White House is one more thing the mainstream media never mentions. They are two black families who along with Jarrett serve as Obama’s inner circle. (Here is a New York Times profile of them from 2008). They were all part of the congregation of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. They go everywhere with Barack and Michelle. You know those lavish vacations—yup! Nesbitts and Whittackers pack their bathing suits and go along too!
LOL! Remember when “tingles” Chris Matthews ranted that this White House didn’t socialize with anyone in Washington, that the White House was being run by “little kids with propellers on their heads” (I expect Matthews wanted to be invited to the private quarters for an occasional dinner). The truth is that the Obamas prefer their own black social circle—couples who came to the White House with them—they don’t want to be around Washington politicians and political junkies like white Matthews.
When writing about Kantor’s book, Taki’s magazine (hat tip: Paul) touched on the strange situation:
In Kantor’s telling, Barack has become even more introverted with age. He likes power more than politics. In contrast to Bill Clinton, who exploited the Lincoln Bedroom to make cool new friends such as Bono, the president has retreated emotionally to a tiny inner circle of two wealthy Chicago black couples godmothered by his adviser Valerie Jarrett, whose vapidity drives his white aides to distraction.
According to Kantor, Obama’s intimates all resent whites who resent affirmative action…
Back to the Weekly Standard where author Continetti implies Jarrett is the consigliere while Taki’s uses the same metaphor with its “godmother” reference.
To set the scene for Continetti’s wrap-up, Kantor told readers in The Obama’s that the family doesn’t go back to Chicago often because their home is in a regular (albeit wealthy 1 percenter) neighborhood that is completely disrupted when the Obama’s do visit.
The House is lost, Obama’s reelection looks dicey, but Jarrett is flying high. In one sense she is the most successful Obama courtier of them all: She has outlasted her rivals. Gibbs is gone. Internal clashes led to Emanuel’s sudden discovery that he had always wanted to be mayor of Chicago. Emanuel’s replacement, fellow Chicagoan Bill Daley (brother of Richie), was muscled out last week; word is he fought with Jarrett too. Her persistence is matched only by her tone-deafness. Wolffe describes the president’s first visit to Chicago after his inauguration. From the window of his helicopter Obama could see that his arrival had caused a major traffic jam. “We shouldn’t have come here in rush hour,” he reflected. This was too much for Jarrett. “You know what, Mr. President?” she said. “You may not be enjoying your new life, but I am.”
So, what is my conclusion out of all this rambling?
Our side needs to start questioning who is running this White House—superman Barack the brilliant political mind or the angry Michelle and Valerie Jarrett (and whoever is behind her)?