And nobody on the left hates Valerie Jarrett quite like New Republic editor and author Noam Scheiber, who has quite the extensive post-midterm hit piece on Jarrett up. My feeling is that it would have gone up even if the Democrats had done well.
Jarrett’s work behind the scenes served the president well so long as people like Larry Summers, Rahm Emanuel, and Robert Gibbs (the former press secretary, with whom Jarrett also clashed) remained inside the building. She diversified the views he received without stifling internal debate. But then, one by one, the big personalities left. After two years, Summers and Gibbs had been replaced by far more amenable actors; Emanuel’s strong-willed successor, Bill Daley, lasted less than a year before being replaced by a relative cipher, too.
Today, Obama’s top economic adviser is Jeff Zients, a former management consultant and Jarrett pal who had no experience in government before joining the administration. The senior adviser seat that David Axelrod once occupied now belongs to Dan Pfeiffer, and the chief of staff is Denis McDonough. Both joined Obama in 2007 and have long since made their peace with Jarrett’s influence. “My sense is Denis does his best to not turn that into a reckoning kind of relationship,” one former White House official told me. “He doesn’t want to test it.”
As Jarrett has outlasted her rivals, it has increasingly fallen on her to do more than simply protect Obama from those who might undermine his presidency. She must nudge him when he becomes self-satisfied and rein in his worst political impulses. It is a position for which she is uniquely unqualified.
And then Scheiber goes on a pretty epic roll.
Valerie Jarrett is not above keeping a shit list—or as hers was titled, a “least constructive” list. One progressive activist recalls Jarrett holding the document during a meeting and noticing her own name on it, along with the names of others in the room. “It was kind of an honor,” the activist told me. This was not out of character for Jarrett. The woman who once resisted Emanuel’s commandment against rewarding bad behavior has often gone out of her way to suppress dissent among ideological allies and others who question the president. (A White House official says the document was prepared by a staffer acting without orders and that it is not a common practice.)
Consider her interactions with the LGBT community when they agitated for an executive order banning discrimination by federal contractors. Jarrett had been one of the Obama team’s biggest supporters of gay rights since the campaign (long before Obama himself “evolved” on the marriage question). She had even authored a memo advising the president to sign the executive order. But when Obama decided against it in 2012, he dispatched Jarrett to deliver the news to four or five groups active on the issue.
The meeting was a minor fiasco. A BuzzFeed reporter had broken word of the gathering just before it began, prompting Jarrett to lecture everyone in the room for several minutes about speaking to the press. She fumed that the reporter was outside “writing stories,” and told the activists that “we can’t have White House meetings if you do this kind of thing.”
Scheiber goes on for another 3,000 words or so of anecdotes and stories on how Jarrett is basically the Bitch From Hell and how everyone hates her and how she's destroying Obama's legacy, It's amazing then to find somebody that Scheiber hates more than Obama himself, and that person is definitely Jarrett.
He ends with this:
It’s no surprise that Barack Obama and Valerie Jarrett would govern as reasonable people. It’s who they are. The tragedy is that we live in surpassingly unreasonable times.
Why can't Obama just give me my pony?