Tuesday, September 4, 2012

In Case You Missed It - Who's Really Running the White House

I'm certain your first response to the rhetorical question in the "hed" is Michelle Obama. You are half right, a woman does wear the pants at the White House but it's not Michelle, its Valerie Jarrett. Barack Obama's "work wife" is Iranian born, and now Chicagoan, Valerie Jarrett.

Valerie Jarrett in Charlotte at the Playbook Breakfast Tuesday Morning
From the New York Times piece you might have missed:

Valerie Jarrett is a White House senior adviser and assistant to the president for intergovernmental relations and public liaison. But that title tells less about her role in the White House than other descriptions: the Obamas’ first friend and a tenacious and powerful White House operator.

A Chicagoan who helped Mr. Obama navigate his rise through that city’s aggressive politics, Ms. Jarrett came to Washington with no national experience. But her unmatched access to the Obamas has made her a driving force in some of the most significant domestic policy decisions of the president’s first term, her persuasive power only amplified by Mr. Obama’s insular management style.

From the first, her official job has been somewhat vague. But nearly four years on, her standing is clear, to her many admirers and detractors alike.

Partly her power comes from her ubiquity, the guiding hand in everything from who sits on the Supreme Court to who sits next to whom at state dinners, the White House staff memos peppered with “VJ thinks” or “VJ says.” When the billionaire investor Warren E. Buffett showed up for a private lunch with the president in 2011, the table was set for three.

Ms. Jarrett often serves as a counterweight to the more centrist Clinton veterans in the administration, reminding them and her innately cautious boss that he came to Washington to do big things. Some of his boldest moves, on women’s issues, gay rights and immigration, have been in areas she cares about most.

If Karl Rove was known as George W. Bush’s political brain, Ms. Jarrett is Mr. Obama’s spine.
She is also his gatekeeper, sometimes using that power to tip the balance in internal debates. After the financial crisis, as the administration grappled with how to rein in Wall Street, Ms. Jarrett made sure that Paul A. Volcker, a former Federal Reserve chairman whose voice was being drowned out, got a meeting with the president. The result: tougher measures than the president’s top economic advisers were advocating.

And she is the president’s protector in chief, or as Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner put it, the person who must be as “omniscient as possible” in spotting trouble on the way. Those whom she deems to have failed Mr. Obama tell of scolding late-night calls and her trademark accusation of betrayal: “You are hurting the president.”
But she has also steered him toward controversy, as in a clash with the Roman Catholic church in early 2012 over contraceptive coverage, where Ms. Jarrett resisted efforts to water down the protection offered by the health care reform law. And some of Mr. Obama’s most senior advisers worry — perhaps not entirely without jealousy — that her direct access to the president has at times led to half-baked decision making and unclear lines of authority.

Mr. Obama’s first two chiefs of staff, Rahm Emanuel and Mr. Daley, clashed with Ms. Jarrett over strategic direction and over who had greater authority to interpret and carry out the president’s wishes, several officials said.

The New York Times continues here.

Over the last three years you may have wondered who is really calling the shots at the White House, well there is your answer.

In order for the 44th president of the United States to be a good leader the President desperately needed to surround himself with quality advisers. What he got was a room full of psychopaths and leg humpers, so he shut the door and turned to VJ.

Mrs. Jarrett doesn't hold cabinet position or a even a recognised position. She's just there. Which is why Syria is still out of control, and military and Afghanistan are back burnered and the Obama agenda for the last year has been all about winning reelection and the country has gone to hell. Every move, every statement has been directed by someone with no experience in foreign affairs, defense or the economy.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing. Now I know why Obama has been lax towards Iran. People almost always protect their homeland.