"Man, once surrendering his reason, has no remaining guard against absurdities the most monstrous, and like a ship without rudder, is the sport of every wind." — Thomas Jefferson
Yesterday President Obama rewarded the incompetence and radical bias of his political friends by appointing Susan Rice as National Security Advisor and Samantha Power as Ambassador to the United Nations.
Let’s look at Samantha Power first.
The woman charged with the protection of global human rights for the White House for the last four years was promoted Tuesday to represent the United States at the United Nations.
Despite leading an embarrassing policy of inaction — during which 80,000 plus Syrians were killed by violence created by their own government, thousands of Sudanese were ethnically-cleansed in Darfur, and hundreds of thousands were murdered and displaced in the Congo — President Obama announced Tuesday that he has selected Samantha Power, an academic and 2008 Obama presidential campaign aide, as his next nominee to represent the United States as ambassador to the United Nations.
Power, a former Harvard professor known for lecturing U.S. government officials to do more to stop international violence, ran the White House’s Office of Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights until March of 2013. She was also appointed in April 2012 by the president to chair a newly-formed Atrocities Prevention Board. Power’s book “A Problem from Hell, America and the Age of Genocide” even won a Pulitzer Prize.
Power has spent most of her career advocating for increased U.S. government involvement to stop rights abuses around the world.
Her appointment to run the White House office for human rights was loudly trumpeted as a coup for the NGO community: The woman whose career skyrocketed by lecturing President Bush on his inaction in Sudan was now in charge of the U.S. government’s response to future crises.
However, it didn’t take long before Power’s decades of big talk was put to the test.
In a position of power and proximity to the president of the United States, from which she could meaningfully act against any unfolding injustice, Power was largely silent and completely ineffective.
In a position of power and proximity to the president of the United States, from which she could meaningfully act against any unfolding injustice, Power was largely silent and completely ineffective.
The NGO community was left wondering which Samantha Power was getting to speak inside the Oval Office.
Prior to entering government, Power was a loud supporter of the international concept “Responsibility to Protect (R2P)”, a U.N. supported term that pressures those in power to protect the vulnerable during war, crisis and poor governing.
In fact, it’s not an over-statement to say her career was built on the idea that the government should act more and talk less.
But from inside government while sitting comfortably ensconced at the White House’s National Security Council, she was one of the most disappointing leaders to the R2P activists.
Before entering government, Power consistently espoused her strong R2P views.
In August 2004, while happily perched at Harvard, Power wrote a lengthy piece for the New Yorker on the issue of Sudan where she lamented the slowness of the Bush administration to confront the killing of tens of thousands of Sudanese, questioned President Bush’s motives for confronting the killings, and criticized him for not getting other countries to help. Power opined:
“Neither President Bush nor Kofi Annan, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, spoke publicly about the killings in Darfur before March of this year, by which time some thirty thousand people had died as a result of ethnic cleansing.”
Even when giving President Bush credit for later dealing with the issue, Power cynically questioned his reasons. She said, “The stage was set: Bush would delight his Christian constituency; U.S. businesses would gain access to Sudan’s oil; and Sudanese civilians would stop dying.”
Yet once Power finally achieved a position of actual authority, she continuously failed to act or even forcefully speak out in favor of U.S. government action.
She espoused little to no support of Iran’s 2009 Green Revolution when Iranian students and others took to the streets to protest the election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
She sat silent during the crucial moments when the Syrian crisis first started and has remained absent for two years as 80,000 plus Syrians have been killed.
And despite years of fierce rhetoric against Bush for inaction in Darfur, she has become mute as genocide continues to ravage the region.
An academic with zero real-world diplomatic experience, her biting words ring hollow from inside the White House.
Elizabeth Blackney, an NGO activist on human trafficking said, “For Samantha Power to be promoted is disturbing. She shed her record as an anti-genocide, human rights advocate for political power and affiliation. She became the bystander, the "person sitting in an office" implementing a bad policy that ensured greater suffering."
Sending Power to the United Nations sends the message that President Obama doesn’t care as much about actually helping the world’s vulnerable as he does about loyalty and academic prestige.
Sadly, the U.S. may be represented at the U.N. by someone who has no multilateral diplomatic experience outside of one-hour classroom exercises.
Power’s record at the NSC proves academic success means little in the real world, but all-too-much to the president of the United States.
While not being very effective as a human rights advocate and more of an Obama political operative Power has a history of controversial comments that could haunt her in confirmation — including likening U.S. foreign policies to those of the Nazis.
In a March 2003 New Republic magazine essay, Samantha Power wrote that American foreign policy needs a "historical reckoning" which would entail "opening the files" and "acknowledging the force of a mantra we have spent the last decade promoting in Guatemala, South Africa, and Yugoslavia."
She continued: “Instituting a doctrine of the mea culpa would enhance our credibility by showing that American decision-makers do not endorse the sins of their predecessors. When (German Chancellor Willy) Brandt went down on one knee in the Warsaw ghetto, his gesture was gratifying to World War II survivors, but it was also ennobling and cathartic for Germany. Would such an approach be futile for the United States?"
Republicans in the Senate, which must approve Power for the diplomatic post, could press her during her confirmation hearing on a number of other topics, including comments she's made on Libya and Israel. If confirmed, Power would take over for Susan Rice, whom Obama appointed as his new national security adviser. Rice, unlike Power, will not face a confirmation hearing
Power, aside from being a well-known foreign policy expert, is also married to Obama's former regulatory "czar" Cass Sunstein.
Asked Wednesday if the White House is girding for a contentious confirmation, Press Secretary Jay Carney said, “We would not expect one.”
He lauded Power’s “remarkable career” as a journalist and foreign policy adviser, as well as her “passion” for issues like shedding light on genocide.
But others say her views on the Middle East spark concerns about her position on Israel. She once suggested the possibility of military intervention in the Israeli-Palestinian dispute.
During a 2002 interview with Harry Kreisler, host of Conversations with History, a program produced by the University of California Berkeley Institute of International Studies, Power said America needs “a willingness to actually put something on the line in sort of helping the situation."
“Not of the old, you know, Srebrenica kind or the Rwanda kind, but a meaningful military presence, because it seems to me at this stage — and this is true of actual genocides as well and not just, you know, major human rights abuses, which we're seeing there. But — is that you have to go in as if you're serious, you have to put something on the line,” she said.
Power, a Pulitzer Prize winner, Harvard Law School graduate and Harvard professor, created a public ripple during the 2008 Democratic primary race when she was quoted in a foreign newspaper calling then-candidate Hillary Clinton names.
"She is a monster, too — that is off the record — she is stooping to anything," Power told The Scotsman, which published her comment.
"But if you are poor and she is telling you some story about how Obama is going to take your job away, maybe it will be more effective. The amount of deceit she has put forward is really unattractive," she added.
Power resigned from Obama’s campaign following her comments.
Power, a human rights expert and former White House adviser, left the White House earlier this year, though she was considered the president’s likely pick to move to the U.N. She has long been connected to Obama. And if you’ll recall, she has had her fair share of controversy, specifically after she was forced to resign from the president’s 2008 campaign following negative remarks she made about Hillary Clinton.
Power’s comments though didn’t lead to completely severed ties to Obama, as she was soon back in the fold. So, too, was her husband — she is the wife of former regulatory czar Cass Sunstein. As early as 2011, TheBlaze covered expectations that Power could possible secure greater power, specifically if the president was elected to a second term. Her U.N. appointment appears to solidify these expectations.
In the past, Irish Central called her one of the main architects of the Obama administration’s policies in Libya, noting her influence over the White House. And Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, said in a 2011 New York Times profile that “She is clearly the foremost voice for human rights within the White House and she has Obama’s ear.”
Bloomberg has more about her Libya involvement as well:
“She played a role, along with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice and other NSC advisers, in convincing Obama to push for a UN Security Council resolution to authorize a coalition military force to protect Libyan civilians. Other administration figures were concerned about the effectiveness of a no-fly zone and differences within NATO over what Defense Secretary Robert Gates warned would be a “big operation.” [...]
Power, who sought the limelight as a writer and public intellectual, has learned to be a behind-the-scenes policymaker over the past two years, associates say.”
Eventually, she repaired relations with Clinton. That said, she’s still widely seen as a problem by conservatives who oppose her ideals. After all, it wasn’t only her comments about the former Democratic presidential candidate that has caught the ire of critics; her foreign policy, too, is seen by some as problematic.
Power has a complicated history with the Obama camp and has also been accused, in the past, of making disparaging remarks about Israel.
In March 2011, Glenn Beck covered Power on his radio show and a subsequent article on GlennBeck.com recapped the host’s stance:
“For anyone who thinks that Samantha Power is just some low level cog in the Washington machine, the New York Times just did a nice profile on her role in the current administration. It turns out that Mrs. Cass Sunstein is probably the most dangerous woman in America, after all.
“Samantha Power took the podium sounding hoarse and looking uncomfortable. In two hours, President Obama would address the nation on Libya and Miss Power, the fiery human rights crusader‑‑ they shouldn’t use the word crusader in this instance, should they? The human rights crusader who advises Mr. Obama on foreign policy did not want to go out in front of the boss,” Glenn said, adding some of his own commentary to the article he was reading from.
“I’m not going to talk much about Libya, she began, but when it came for her question, she count help herself. Our best judgment, she said, defending the decision to establish a no‑fly zone was the failure to do so would have been extremely chilling, deadly and, indeed, a stain on our collective conscience,” Glenn continued.
“Now from her perch on the national Security Council, she is in a position to make the case for the commander in chief and to watch him translate her ideas into action. She’s clearly the foremost voice for human rights with in the White House, says Kenneth Ross. She has Obama’s ear. The Irish‑born Miss Power, 40, functions as kind of an institutional memory bank on genocide,” he continued.
“So we have Cass Sunstein’s wife advising on the Responsibility to Protect,” Glenn said “If you’re in the circle of George Soros, she was a queen. George Soros immediately funded a group to push the Responsibility to Protect.”
“[UN official Richard Falk] has been pushing for the right to protect or the Responsibility to Protect to be used against Israel and they’ve been trying this now for the last couple of years, and that’s what this is really all about, period. This is about going after Israel,” Glenn said.”
Last year, The Chicago Sun-Times provided information about Power and her involvement in Obama’s Atrocities Prevention Board, an effort to prevent future genocide (i.e. the doctrine of a “Responsibility to Protect”) and other horrific occurrences:
“Samantha Power — who won a Pulitzer Prize for her book on genocide and now advises the Obama administration on the subject–will chair President Barack Obama’s new Atrocities Prevention Board, which gets down to work Monday as Obama delivers a speech at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. [...]
The Obama White House efforts to address genocide is headed by Samantha Power, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights. Power won a Pulitzer Prize for her book, “A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide” and worked briefly for Obama when he was a U.S. senator from Illinois.”
But that has largely been seen as an interventionist policy — something many Republicans and Democrats shy away from.
Considering her past comments about Israel and her perceived stance on the Middle Eastern country, it’s likely that her appointment will be contentious, drawing particular frustration from conservatives and those who believe that her policy stances will be damaging to the current Middle Eastern scenario.
Past comments do little to temper these fears. In her 2002 interview with Harry Kreisler, the director of the Institute for International Studies at Berkeley Kreisler asked her the following:
“Let me give you a thought experiment here, and it is the following: without addressing the Palestine – Israel problem, let’s say you were an advisor to the President of the United States, how would you respond to current events there? Would you advise him to put a structure in place to monitor that situation, at least if one party or another starts looking like they might be moving toward genocide?”
Power’s response, in the eyes of those who support Israel, was problematic, as she claimed support for “external intervention” in the Israeli-Palestinian dilemma and said that it’s important to consider the “lesser evils” associated with getting involved in alleviating the issue.
She also, at one point in her commentary, claimed that Middle Eastern leaders — including Israel, it seems — are “destroying the lives of their own people.” Here is a portion of her response:
“What we need is a willingness to actually put something on the line…and putting something on the line might mean alienating a domestic constituency of tremendous political and financial import. It may more crucially mean…investing literally billions of dollars not in servicing Israeli military, but actually investing in the new state of Palestine.
In investing billions of dollars it would probably take also to support, I think, what would to be, I think, a mammoth protection force…a meaningful military presence because it seems to me at this stage — and this is true of actual genocides as well and not just major human rights abuses which we’re seeing there — but is that you have to go in as if you’re serious. You have to put something on the line and unfortunately the position of a solution on unwilling parties is dreadful, it’s a terrible thing to do, its fundamentally undemocratic.
But sadly, you know — we don’t just have a democracy here either — we have a liberal democracy. There are certain sets of principles that guide, you know, our policy, or that are meant to, anyway. And there, it’s essential that some set of principles becomes the benchmark, rather than a deference to people who are fundamentally politically destined to destroy the lives of their own people, and by that I mean what Tom Friedman has called “Sharafat.” I mean, I do think in that sense, there’s — that both political leaders have been dreadfully irresponsible, and unfortunately, it does require external intervention which, very much like the Rwanda scenario — that thought experiment, of ‘if we had intervened early’ — any intervention is going to come under fierce criticism, but we have to think about lesser evils, especially when the human stakes are just becoming ever more pronounced.”
DiscoverTheNetworks.org also makes some fascinating claims about some of Power’s other most recent statements. Here’s just a sampling:
In her 2004 review of Noam Chomsky’s book Hegemony or Survival, Power agreed with many of Chomsky’s criticisms of U.S. foreign policy and expressed her own concerns about what she called the “sins of our allies in the war on terror,” lumping Israel together with Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Pakistan, Russia, and Uzbekistan. She called Chomsky’s work “sobering and instructive.”
In 2005–06, Power worked as a foreign policy fellow in the office of U.S. Senator Barack Obama. In this role, she helped to spark and inform Obama’s interest in the deadly ethnic and tribal conflict of Darfur, Sudan.
In a 2007 interview, reported in FrontPage Magazine, Power said that America’s relationship with Israel “has often led foreign policy decision-makers to defer reflexively to Israeli security assessments, and to replicate Israeli tactics.” The United States, she explained, had brought terrorist attacks upon itself by aping Israel’s violations of human rights.
Naturally, many will still wonder if her views surrounding Israel and the Middle East will impact how she manages her position at the U.N — and, more specifically — her treatment of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Now for the tarnished Susan Rice.
Much is known about Susan Rice since her disgraceful appearance on five Sunday talk shows immediately following the attract on our consulate in Benghazi where she followed the fictitious party line of blaming a YouTube video for the murder of our Ambassador and three others.
It is worth considering the reason Obama appointed Rice for the position of National Security Advisor — a position not requiring Senate confirmation.
“Tuesday morning my reaction was why appoint Susan Rice as national security adviser? She will be a DISASTER.
Here's why: I spent seven years working for the most successful NSC adviser in history, Henry Kissinger.
I watched him conceive new policies, negotiate with foreign leaders, ride herd over the bureaucracy, massage the press and foreign policy intelligentsia and work behind the scenes with congressional leaders.
Susan Rice can’t do any of those things.
She has zero credibility with the media, on Capitol Hill, with the foreign policy community and foreign leaders, and is so badly tarnished by the Benghazi scandal that she walks into the job on Day One weak and wounded.
The most obvious problem is her disastrous performance on the Sunday talk shows peddling the administration’s fairy tale on Benghazi; when she was either complicit in the cover-up or incompetent.
Either she knew what really happened and deliberately lied to the American people or she was a mere actress who read the script she was given and didn’t know enough to question whether the words she spoke were accurate.
Rice might have been able to overcome the Benghazi debacle if she had other strong credentials, for example being a senior military officer like Colin Powell and Brent Scowcroft, or a respected academic like Henry Kissinger and Zbig Brzezinski. But Susan Rice is none of these.
When the spotlight was on her at the U.N. she was an ineffective ambassador who couldn't get Russia or China on board to deal with Syria or impose strict sanctions against Iran.
Not only did she fail to persuade those key members of the Security Council, she didn't know it until after the votes on sanctions were taken!
Benghazi was supposed to be her audition for the Secretary of State job -- go on all the Sunday talk shows and be the Obama administration’s primary spokesman.
She was so eager for the try out that she didn't stop and ask why they wanted her. The decision to send someone from the administration to appear on all five talk shows is a decision made at the highest levels of the White House.
It should have been the Secretary of State, or maybe Secretary of Defense, or CIA chief, or NSC Adviser or White House Chief of Staff – they were part of the decision process.
Susan Rice was the one senior administration official who knew nothing about events leading up to Benghazi and the attack itself, yet the White House asked her to go on those shows?
Alarm bells should have gone off in her head!
I checked their schedules and most of the other senior officials were in Washington and available that morning. It’s just that they were smarter than Rice and realized it was a poisoned chalice.
So what is Obama thinking with the Rice appointment? He’s doubling down and circling the wagons. He's rewarding Rice for being a loyal (if incompetent) soldier. He is hanging tough on the scandals and claiming that he knew nothing about them until he read about them in the papers.
On the other hand, maybe Obama's appointment of Rice is smarter than it looks on the surface.
By appointing Rice to the NSC job the president can invoke executive privilege and claim she doesn’t have to testify on Capitol Hill. And even if she does talk about Benghazi, at some point, she will certainly be a loyal soldier if she is now sitting just steps from the Oval Office.
But despite what the president might want the Benghazi isn't over, not by a long shot.”
The Obama administration is all about failing. If you have lied to the American people, overseen policies that resulted in the deaths of American citizens, created other policies that have undermined American law and interests, screwed up royally, and covered up your actions, then you are primed for position and promotion in the Obama administration.
The most recent example this is Susan Rice. Rice is, of course, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations who was wheeled out on September 15th of last year on five Sunday morning show to peddle a whopper of a lie. She said that they believed the terror attack in Benghazi (which they all knew at the time was a terror attack committed by forces linked to al Qaeda) was simply a “spontaneous demonstration as a result of what had transpired in Cairo,” and she explicitly blamed an obscure YouTube video. That was a lie, she knew it was a lie, everyone around her knew it was a lie, and she said it anyway.
Now she’s getting rewarded with a big promotion to National Security Adviser. That gig requires no Senate confirmation, so she’s in. Great work if you can get it.
Taking her place at the U.N. will be Samantha Power, the wife of Obama’s radical regulatory czar Cass Sunstein. Power is the one who came up with the basis for our disastrous intervention in Libya — which ultimately led to the Benghazi attack and the deaths of those four brave Americans. Called “Responsibility to Protect,” Power’s doctrine argues that the U.S. has a moral responsibility to intervene anywhere there is a slaughter or the potential of slaughter (whether our strategic interests are involved or not). She successfully argued R2P and Obama led the NATO operation that helped to overthrow Moammar Qaddafi (who had not initiated an assault against his people). Qaddafi fell, was killed, and then we went on a social engineering experiment that led to the outpost in Benghazi and gunrunning out of Libya to Syria.
This brings us to Syria. If Power’s “R2P” were applied consistently, then Obama should have intervened there 2 years ago, when Assad’s slaughter began. There is still no intervention there, 70,000 to 80,000 lives later. I’m not arguing for intervention — in fact, I don’t think we should be injecting ourselves in that Arab civil war. But there is no consistency in policy: intervene in Libya where there was no slaughter, but don’t intervene in Syria where there is an actual slaughter. Whatever exists of an Obama “doctrine” (which is quite a mess and is resulting in the rise of anti-American regimes and forces around the world) is Samantha Power’s worldview. Lord help us, now she’s going to be our U.N. Ambassador. Failing upward!
Not to mention Victoria Nuland, who led the charge in demanding the edits to the Benghazi “talking points” documents that protected “her building’s leadership.” She’s now being promoted to Assistant Secretary of State.
Top IRS officials who oversaw the targeting of conservative and patriot groups remain in their jobs, and those who aren’t still employed by the IRS were scheduled to leave and retire anyway. Lois Lerner, a major villain in this scandal, is on “administrative leave” while still drawing her $177,000 salary. Paid by you. (You may want to work a little harder.)
And don’t forget that several of the officials overseeing Fast and Furious in Arizona — which resulted in the deaths of two brave Americans — were merely shuffled around to different jobs. Not fired, not held accountable, just moved around.
If you suck at your job and are willing to lie through your teeth, I’ve got good news. In this horrendous Obama Economy, you can always get a job among your fellow liars in the Obama administration. You might even get promoted.
On an interesting note it appears that President Obama is prone to surround himself with weak and incompetent women who are devoted to him and his ideology. We have Susan Rice a nobody when it comes for foreign policy and national security. Then there is Samantha Power an Irish political operative, who will be, no doubt, our next Ambassador the United Nations. This is really a dead end job that usually results in a book deal and fairly good speaking fees. Janet Napolitano as Secretary of Homeland Security has been as dreadful as she was as governor of Arizona. For the life of me I can’t understand why he picked her. She did not deliver Arizona to Obama in 2008. Kathleen Sebelius has been a joke as Secretary of Health and Human Services. Her job was just saved when a federal judge told her to reverse course — a 10-year-old girl dying from cystic fibrosis should be added to the adult lung transplant list. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson has been an overbearing greenie now accused using phony e-mail accounts associated with the pseudonym Richard Windsor to take online training programs on subjects including ethics, whistleblowers and records preservation. The EPA is now under investigation for targeting conservative groups. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, who submitted her letter of resignation last week, was in the pocket of the unions and brought the action against Boeing for moving to South Carolina. Now Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, is being considered as her replacement.
And of course there is his mentor and power behind the throne Valerie Jarrett. President Obama canceled the operation to kill Osama bin Laden three times before saying yes, because he got cold feet about the possible political harm to himself if the mission failed. Instead of listening to advisors from the U.S. military, Defense, or even State, Obama was acting on the advice of White House politico and close friend Valerie Jarrett.
This account comes from Richard Miniter's upcoming book “Leading From Behind: The Reluctant President and the Advisors who Decide for Him.” Miniter has written six books on the war on terror. He is relying on an unnamed source within the U.S. military Joint Special Operations Command who was directly involved in the operation and planning of the Osama bin Laden kill mission.
Is the story credible? According to Edward Klein, a reporter once asked Obama if he ran every decision by Jarrett. Obama answered, "Yep. Absolutely."
Edward Klein, former foreign editor of Newsweek and editor of the New York Times Magazine for many years, describes Jarrett as "ground zero in the Obama operation, the first couple's friend and Consigliere." Klein -- who claims he used a minimum of two sources for each assertion in his book on the Obama presidency, The Amateur -- writes in detail about Jarrett opposing the raid on bin Laden. She told Obama not to take the political risk. Klein thought Obama ignored Jarrett's advice. Miniter tells us he listened to her, three times telling Special Operations not to take the risk to go after bin Laden.
We need to understand the role Valerie Jarrett plays in Obama's private and political life.
"If it wasn't for Valerie Jarrett, there'd be no Barack Obama to complain about," starts Klein's chapter on Jarrett. He quotes Michelle Obama on Jarrett's influence over her husband: "She knows the buttons, the soft spots, the history, the context."
No one outside Michelle has the access or power over Obama's decision-making like Jarrett does. Here's an odd little fact that gives some insight into what kind of president Obama is: Michelle, Michelle's mother, and Valerie, and only a few others in Washington, are allowed to call Barack by his first name. After work, Jarrett joins Obama at night in the Family Quarters, where she dines often with the First Family. She goes on vacation with them.
Jarrett's title is the weird mouthful "Assistant to the President for Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs." She is the gatekeeper, but she is also much more than that. She occupies Karl Rove's and Hillary's old office and has an all-access pass to meetings. She shows up at the National Security Council, at meetings on the economy and budget. She stays behind to advise Obama on what to think and do Obama uses her as his left-wing conscience. Klein's sources describe how at each pressing issue, Obama turns to ask her, "What do you think the right thing to do is?" As president, he likes to have her next to him "as the voice of authentic blackness in a White House that is staffed largely by whites."
A longtime friend told Klein that Jarrett is the "eyes, ears and nose" of the Obamas. She tells them whom to trust, who is saying what, whom to see at home and abroad. Michelle wants her there: "I told her it would give me a sense of comfort to know that (Barack) had somebody like her there by his side." As Obama told the New York Times, "Valerie is one of my oldest friends. I trust her completely."
To understand why Obama relies so heavily on Jarrett, we must remember the president's identity crisis as a black man, which is the main subject of his memoir, Dreams from My Father. Valerie Jarrett's adoption of the Obamas as her friends and protégés in Chicago's upper-crust black society was one of the greatest things that ever happened to Obama. Until becoming a community organizer, Obama tells us he felt himself to be an inauthentic American black. Nothing in his life helped him understand or fit into the American black community.
Within a few weeks of Obama's birth, conceived out of wedlock as he was, his mother moved away to a different college, leaving Obama's African birth father behind in Honolulu. There may have been a shotgun wedding or not — in the memoir, Obama says he is not sure. The only time Barack set eyes on his father was a brief visit when he was ten. Our president lived with his white mother, then with her and her Indonesian husband in Indonesia from age six to ten. He was so unhappy that he chose to leave his mother and live with his white grandparents back in America. Obama's America was the tolerant, wealthy American world of Honolulu's top prep school.
His only black experience was his grandfather's creepy old friend, Frank Marshall Davis, a card-carrying Communist and self-disclosed pederast, who was Obama's voice of authentic blackness. One result of this lonely and unhappy childhood as a mixed-race child was Barack Obama's envy problem. The key to understanding Jarrett's power over the president is that Obama didn't just envy people with normal parents and loving, successful fathers. He envied American blacks, especially those who grew up in intact black families, knowing who they were, comfortable in their black skin.
Valerie Jarrett reflects Obama in many ways. Like himself, Valerie looks more white than black. Her mother had three white grandparents, and her father was black. Like Obama, she lived in the Muslim world for part of her childhood, when her father practiced medicine in Iran. Like Obama, she is a committed leftist. But there are crucial differences. Her father was not a drunk Kenyan polygamist like Obama's, but a famous pathologist and geneticist. Her mother was not a leftist expatriate like Obama's, but a distinguished psychologist. Valerie married into Chicago's black elite, the top rung of African-American society. She went to Stanford, got a law degree from Michigan, and became Mayor Richard Daley's deputy chief of staff, "the public black face" of his administration.
When Valerie Jarrett hired Michelle to work for Daley and befriended her, the Obamas gained access to the exclusive world of upper-class black Chicago politics. Valerie knew everyone whom it was important to know in black and Jewish money circles. She gave Barack entrée and legitimacy. She financed and promoted his ambitions for national office.
Obama finally belonged. Not that Jarrett's record in Chicago was anything to be proud of. Jarrett was known for her corruption and incompetence. Daley finally had to fire her after a scandal erupted over her role in misuse of public funds in the city's substandard public housing. She went on to become CEO of Habitat Executive Services, pulling down $300,000 in salary and $550,000 in deferred compensation. Again, she managed a housing complex that was seized by government inspectors for slum conditions. The scandal didn't matter to Obama. The sordid corruption was all part of Jarrett's Chicago success story.
Every insider in Chicago told Klein the same thing: Jarrett has no qualifications to be the principal advisor to the president of the United States. She doesn't understand how Washington works, how relations with Congress work, how the federal process works. She doesn't understand how the economy works, how the military works, how national security works. But she understands how Obama works and Chicago politics.
The president turns to Valerie Jarrett for definitive advice on all these issues. She has given him terrible advice over and over, and still he turns to her.
Her true job is to make Obama feel proud of himself. When Obama looks at Jarrett, he sees himself as whole and good and real. He is no longer the fake black, the fatherless kid flailing around in a white world, tortured by the unfairness of it all. She fills the emptiness at the core of his identity. She admires and adores him. Jarrett told New Yorker editor David Remnick that the president is "just too talented to do what ordinary people do." And the icing on the cake —she shares his left-wing politics that project unfairness out onto white America.
Obama relies on Jarrett to create the White House bubble he likes to live in, where his narcissism is stroked and his desire to do the big, left-wing thing is encouraged. Jarrett is the doorman. She runs access to the president. As Klein puts it, she guards him from meeting with "critics and complainers who might deflate his ego." No one gets past Jarrett who has an incompatible point of view.
Jarrett pushed ObamaCare. At the beginning of Obama's presidency, there was pressure on Obama to focus on the economic crisis. Rahm Emanuel advised a small, bipartisan health care reform with popular items such as coverage for young adults — to get it passed quickly and focus on the country's money problems. Jarrett urged the president to be true to his left-wing agenda. She was all for having Reid-Pelosi create the ObamaCare assault on the American health system and ramming it through on a one-party vote, using Chicago-style politics, while Obama crossed the country doing what he does best: make speeches. Obama liked Jarrett's idea. Emanuel is now out of the White House.
Jarrett pushed the Solyndra fiasco. Jarrett promoted Solyndra because one of her richest Chicago connections, billionaire George Kaiser, a top Obama bundler, had a 35% share in Solyndra. Kaiser visited the White House sixteen times.
Larry Summers, the director of the president's National Economic Council, warned Obama that the federal government should not get involved in venture capital of any sort. Summers understood that crony capitalism sabotages economic growth. Huge government funding distorts and destroys whatever market segment it touches, replacing economic decisions with political ones.
A member of Obama's finance committee warned the president that Solyndra was going bankrupt. But it is Obama and Valerie who see eye to eye, and they saw the value to Obama of rewarding his political cronies. It worked fine in Chicago. Larry Summers is now out of the White House.
Jarrett pushed Obama to take on the Catholic Church over contraception, arguing that it would appeal to single women (she was right) and that religious freedom isn't important (she was wrong). Bill Daley, who had replaced Rahm Emmanuel as chief of staff, argued against Obama pushing contraception on the Church and invited Archbishop Timothy Cardinal Dolan of New York to meet with a displeased Obama, who didn't appreciate hearing from the Church. Daley is now out of the White House.
Valerie Jarrett is the most powerful woman in Washington. She has guided the president's decisions on health care, the budget, the stimulus, the deficit, foreign affairs.
So when Jarrett told Obama that the mission to kill bin Laden was too politically risky, and to play it safe, it is entirely plausible to believe that the president listened to her. It is consistent with everything we know about Obama's dependence on her. According to Miniter's source in the U.S. Military Joint Special Operations Command, Obama listened to her for four months, dithering and deciding no the first three times the military told him that the time to get bin Laden was now.
The only possible exception to Obama’s proclivity for women would be Hillary Clinton who would stab him in the back when she gets the chance. No doubt her appointment as Secretary of State was a payback to Bill Clinton for supporting him in 2008. But after four years of Obama’s feckless, confused, and misguided foreign policy Ms. Clinton decide to bail out as she needed four years for the public to forget she was associated with Obama. It’s a wonder Ms. Clinton lasted as long as she did with the specter of Valerie Jarrett hanging over her head.
I can’t help but wondering if Obama’s proclivity to surround himself with women is due to his lack of a father figure in his youth and being raised by a domineering, radical left-wing mother along with his marriage to a strong and equally domineering wife along with having two very needful daughters. Daughters who seem to get whatever they desire and their mother wants from a weak and ineffective father. The question to ask is Valerie Jarrett his advisor or his mother?