Valerie Jarrett – the story continues
And having discussed Valerie Jarrett the other day, I find her mentioned at The American Thinker in an article on Valerie Jarrett was our First Female President. I will only add here to what I have already discussed, and begin with this, weakly put though this is:
She arguably has more influence over Obama than anyone with the possible exception of Michelle Obama herself.
This is followed up by the following quote which comes closer:
Her influence is shown by an account in Richard Miniter’s book “Leading From Behind: The Reluctant President and the Advisors Who Decide for Him.”
It relates that at the urging of Jarrett, Obama canceled the operation to kill Osama bin Laden on three occasions before finally approving the May 2, 2011, Navy SEAL mission. Seems she was concerned about the possible political harm to Obama if the mission failed.
Miniter writes that the president canceled the kill mission in January 2011, again in February and a third time in March, in each instance at the urging of Jarrett.
Miniter cites a source within the Joint Special Operations Command who had direct knowledge of the operation and its planning.
Edward Klein, author of the best-selling book about Obama, “The Amateur,” once asked Obama if he ran every decision by Jarrett, and the president responded, “Absolutely.” A former foreign editor of Newsweek and editor of the New York Times Magazine, Klein describes Jarrett as “ground zero in the Obama operation, the first couple’s friend and consigliere.”
Obama has said he consults Jarrett on every major decision, something current and former aides corroborate. “Her role since she has been at the White House is one of the broadest and most expansive roles that I think has ever existed in the West Wing,” says Anita Dunn, Obama’s former communications director. Broader, even, than the role of running the West Wing. This summer, the call to send Attorney General Eric Holder on a risky visit to Ferguson, Missouri, was made by exactly three people: Holder himself, the president, and Jarrett, who were vacationing together on Martha’s Vineyard. When I asked Holder if Denis McDonough, the chief of staff, was part of the conversation, he thought for a moment and said, “He was not there.” (Holder hastened to add that “someone had spoken to him.”
Jarrett holds a key vote on Cabinet picks (she opposed Larry Summers at Treasury and was among the first Obama aides to come around on Hillary Clinton at State) and has an outsize say on ambassadorships and judgeships. She helps determine who gets invited to the First Lady’s Box for the State of the Union, who attends state dinners and bill-signing ceremonies, and who sits where at any of the above. She has placed friends and former employees in important positions across the administration — “you can be my person over there,” is a common refrain.
And Jarrett has been known to enjoy the perks of high office herself. When administration aides plan “bilats,” the term of art for meetings of two countries’ top officials, they realize that whatever size meeting they negotiate — nine by nine, eight by eight, etc. — our side will typically include one less foreign policy hand, because Jarrett has a standing seat at any table that includes the president.
Obama is a cypher of no account other than he can be elected. If you wish to understand what has mattered, following Jarrett and her circle will give you a far better understanding of who the Americans have been governed by and the principles, as such, that have guided what they have done.