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Suppose you were a committed leftist revolutionary who somehow got elected president of center-right America.
Suppose you were great at making speeches, but little else. You masked your socialist agenda in the appealing rhetoric of fairness and justice, but secretly loathed the American system of constitutional government and free-market capitalism.
Suppose you also had developed into a pathological narcissist with an absurdly grandiose view of yourself and almost no tolerance for criticism and disagreement. Suppose your ego was so fragile, your worldview so distorted, your mind so angry beneath your charismatic exterior, and your self-image of being a divinely gifted leader now in danger of disintegrating in the light and heat of mounting geopolitical turmoil and your own stunning failures as president.
Suppose, in short, you were Barack Obama.
To “stay the course” you were on – of forcing hardcore socialism on an unwilling capitalist country, despite mounting cries for you to stop – you would need help. A very special kind of help.
Before we get there, let’s just tighten our zoom and focus a little more closely on Obama’s current situation:
As of 2014, a great many people who supported him say they regret their vote. America’s economy is still in shambles and its standing in the world arguably worse. The “Affordable Care Act” has been an unqualified catastrophe with millions losing health insurance and tens of millions more expected this year.
Yet Obama feigns confidence in his programs, lies as easily as breathing and always seems to be playing golf, vacationing or fundraising. He admits he is lazy. He openly boasts about legislating from the Oval Office, refusing to work with Congress as the Constitution requires. Indeed, he doesn’t even like people, as former aide Neera Tanden, president and CEO of the highly influential progressive Center for American Progress, shockingly revealed. “The truth is,” Tanden said of the increasingly insular president, “Obama doesn’t call anyone, and he’s not close to almost anyone. It’s stunning that he’s in politics, because he really doesn’t like people.”
So here’s the question: If you were Obama, how would you be able to continue to lead the country leftward in the face of overwhelming and undeniable evidence it is absolutely the wrong direction?
First of all, you’d need a fierce personal protector from all criticism, as well as a skilled enabler constantly reassuring and comforting your gigantic but fragile ego, not to mention a consigliere whose counsel you unreservedly trusted and followed. You would also need a mentor with the almost transcendent ability to rekindle and renew your faith in your core values, however misguided and destructive. You would need – in many respects – a worldly savior.
Meet Valerie Jarrett, whom savvy Beltway insiders regard as the most powerful woman in Washington.
And yet, most Americans have never even heard of her, let alone know who she is or what she does.
‘The de facto president’
For someone widely considered the most powerful adviser in the White House, a person the former editor in chief of the News York Times Magazine describes as “in many ways the de facto president,” Jarrett is virtually invisible.
For example, she never seems to make the cut for Forbes magazine’s annual list of “The United States’ Most Powerful Women.”
Named in the 2013 list are Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton, of course. Also Janet Napolitano, Kathleen Sebelius and Nancy Pelosi. But not Jarrett.
From the business world, Forbes acknowledges the power and influence of Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook; Jill Abramson, executive editor of the New York Times; Virginia Rometty, president and CEO of IBM; Google VP of consumer products Marissa Mayer; and Oracle President Safra Catz.
Forbes also honors news media luminaries like ABC’s Diane Sawyer and Christiane Amanpour; Tina Brown, editor in chief of Newsweek and the Daily Beast; Fox News Channel’s
Greta Van Susteren; and Huffington Post Co-founder Arianna Huffington.
Likewise, powerful women in the entertainment world are celebrated, including Oprah Winfrey, Angelina Jolie and Ellen DeGeneres. Even Jennifer Lopez, Beyonce and – yes – Lady Gaga made the list of America’s “most powerful women.”
These, says Forbes, are the nation’s most powerful women. But not Valerie Jarrett, who pushed Obama to ignore the advice of more moderate advisers like Rahm Emanuel and instead to destroy the greatest health-care system in world history. For it was she who convinced Obama to “go for broke” with Obamacare, which ultimately was forced down the throats of an unwilling American public and Congress, using bribery, parliamentary tricks and every conceivable tactic, including some of the most infamous political lies (“You can keep your plan/doctor/hospital”) in history.
Apparently, the woman who continues to shape America’s future by successfully convincing the president to steer left at every juncture is not as powerful and influential as Christina Aguilera and Lady Gaga.
However, this is all quite intentional, part of the mystique of what Chicago Magazine calls “The mystery woman of the White House.” “VJ,” as she is known within 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., operates largely in the shadows.
And yet, in the elite circles of the executive branch, Jarrett is well known, and by many names, among them: “The night stalker,” “The Obamas’ consigliere,” “The most powerful woman in Washington,” “The spine of Obama,” “His mentor,” “The keeper of the essence,” “She who must not be challenged” and others – one of the most common being “Obama’s Rasputin.”
Rasputin, of course, was the reputed Russian “mystic” who served as the private and enormously influential adviser to the final Russian czar, Nicholas II, and especially his wife, Alexandra. Utterly unprepared and unqualified for the position of czar, Nicholas made mistake after mistake, and worse, was inflexible and disinterested in his own people. (Sound like any leader you know?) Rasputin, though secretive – he supposedly never spoke in public – exerted an uncanny influence on the czar and czarina, while also contributing greatly to the royal family’s ever-deepening isolation from the public. Ultimately the out-of-touch monarch, aided by the mysterious Rasputin, inadvertently led Russia into the 1917 revolution, the czar’s abdication and civil war.
Fast-forward almost a century and we are confronted with another breed of out-of-touch czar. Indeed, Jarrett has been responsible for bringing the most bizarre of presidential advisers to the Obama White House, including:
Besides bringing such off-the-charts, leftist, utopian control freaks to the White House, what else has Jarrett done for Obama?
Journalist and author Richard Miniter, in his book, “Leading From Behind: The Reluctant President and the Advisors who ... cites a source within the U.S. military’s Joint Special Operations Command who helped plan the operation to kill Osama bin Laden. It turns out Obama, on the advice of Jarrett, canceled three different times the operation to take out bin Laden – over fear of the political fallout should the mission fail. Finally, he approved the mission.
Miniter provides a revealing window into the inner sanctum of the current White House and Jarrett’s role there. In “Leading from Behind,” he writes of Obama:
[H]e can confide in almost no one, because opening up would break the spell that he has managed to cast over people with opposing views, making opponents believe he secretly agrees with each of them. The exceptions are his wife, Michelle, and his mentor, Valerie Jarrett.
The president himself says he talks to Jarrett several times a day, and that he rarely makes a major decision without consulting her. While every Nixon has his Kissinger, one of the things that make Jarrett unique in presidential history is that she is also the first lady’s mentor. Indeed, she has guided the careers and lives of both Obamas for twenty years.
At every turning point in Obama’s career, Jarrett was there to introduce, to solve or resolve, to console or confirm. She was in the room when Obama decided to run for president. And she was there on a warm summer night in July 2007 when Obama was afraid he was losing to Hillary Clinton.
Jarrett’s White House role is unprecedented. She meets privately with the president at least twice a day with no one else present. Her influence is enormous and wide-ranging. She wields informal power, like a first lady; scheduling power, like a chief of staff; and power over policy, like a special envoy. She has the unusual freedom to put herself in any meeting she chooses and to set the priorities as she sees fit. When the New York Times’ Robert Draper asked Obama if he “runs every decision past her,” the president answered immediately: “Yep. Absolutely.”
Jarrett’s radicalism has caused major eruptions with top White House personnel. As National Review Online reporter Andrew Stiles has pointed out, “Former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, who clashed often with Jarrett, likened her and senior aide Peter Rouse to Saddam Hussein’s maniacal sons, Uday and Qusay.”
As Stiles notes, many books and articles in recent years have detailed the inner workings of the Obama White House and provided a clearer picture of Jarrett’s role:
Jarrett’s personal friendship with the president and first lady dates back more than two decades, before the couple was married, and before Barack Obama launched his political career in Chicago. The president has said he views her “like a sibling” and trusts her “completely.” As a result, she enjoys “unlimited, almost mystical access” to the president, write Politico’s Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei, and is known as “The Keeper of the Essence,” the “defender, protector, and avenger” of all things Obama.
Edward Klein, who previously served as foreign editor of Newsweek and editor in chief of the New York Times Magazine, wrote a critical book about the 44th president, titled “The Amateur: Barack Obama in the White House.” Based on a multitude of interviews with sources both Republican and Democrat, including many close to the Obamas, Klein paints a disturbing portrait of a president utterly dependent on a Rasputin-like adviser:
She is Ground Zero in the Obama operation – the first couple’s first friend and consigliere, the last person to leave the Oval Office after meetings, and the only White House official who dines with the first family in their private quarters at night.
Klein quotes a longtime Jarrett friend: “She functions as the eyes, ears, and nose of the president and first lady. She tells them who’s saying what about who, who’s loyal and who’s not. She advises them about who they should see when they visit a city or a foreign country. She determines who gets invited to the White House and who is left out in the cold.”
Focusing on internal White House battles that largely escaped media attention, Klein reveals: “During the savage internecine warfare between Jarrett and Obama’s first two chiefs of staff – Rahm Emanuel and Bill Daley – Obama sided most of the time with Jarrett, a classic limousine liberal who believes that Obama was elected president in order to engineer social change. Ultimately, Jarrett emasculated Emanuel and Daley and forced them from their jobs.”
How good is Jarrett’s advice? She approved the “$535 million taxpayer-funded loan guarantee to Solyndra, the California solar company that went belly up,” writes Klein, who notes that Jarrett had “close ties to the George Kaiser Family Foundation, which controlled 35.7 percent of Solyndra.” And it was Jarrett that pushed Obama to personally travel to Copenhagen in an attempt to bring the Olympics to Chicago, only to come home rebuffed, empty-handed and humiliated.
Much of Jarrett’s extraordinary influence, explains Klein, “stems from the fact that Jarrett is the president’s trusted watchdog”:
She protects the vainglorious and thin-skinned Obama from critics and complainers who might deflate his ego. No one gets past Jarrett and sees the president if they have a grievance, or a chip on their shoulder, or even an incompatible point of view.
I heard this complaint about Jarrett from practically everyone I interviewed – Republicans and Democrats, African-Americans and Jews. They all blamed Jarrett for keeping the president isolated even from those whose good opinion he needed the most.
Late last year when the big story was “Republicans shut down the government,” Klein revealed, after interviewing more than a half dozen White House and former presidential advisers, that Jarrett was the “architect” of the strategy of refusing to negotiate with Republicans over Obamacare.
“She convinced the president that a government shutdown and default offered a great opportunity to demonize the Republicans and help the Democrats win back a majority in the House of Representatives in 2014,” he explained. “Valerie also came with the idea of using the words ‘hostage,’ and ‘ransom’ and ‘terrorists’ against the Republicans.”
Jarrett’s advice to Obama, according to Klein’s White House sources: “Do not cooperate one iota on Obamacare. Don’t give an inch. Let the Republicans stew in their own juice.”
In the end, said Klein, “Republicans walked into a trap set up by Valerie Jarrett and President Obama.”
The bottom line on Jarrett, writes the former Newsweek and New York Times Magazine honcho: “Despite her lack of international experience and background in economics and fiscal policy, she is in many ways the de facto president. Against the advice of more seasoned advisers, Jarrett steers the president toward decisions that make our economy less robust and our nation less safe.”
All this still leaves a giant question: Where does Valerie Jarrett get her quasi-”mystical” power over this president and first lady?
The most oft-cited factor is that she virtually formed his identity. As writer Karin McQuillan writes in the American Thinker essay, “Obama’s strange dependence on Valerie Jarrett”:
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. …
When Valerie Jarrett hired Michelle to work for [Jarrett's boss, Chicago Mayor Richard] 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.
Remember also that Obama – a mixed-race child abandoned by his drunk, bigamist, communist father, and who later also lost his Muslim Indonesian stepfather to divorce – ended up filling the resulting parent-vacuum with morally and ideologically perverse mentors like Frank Marshall Davis, a member of the Communist Party USA and known pornographer, and later various Marxists (college professors he admits he “gravitated toward”), racists (Rev. Jeremiah Wright), terrorists (Bill Ayers) and criminals (Tony Rezko).
So imprinted was Obama by these toxic influences that even though, with Jarrett’s help, he embraced what he considered an “authentic” black identity, in reality he developed no real identity. That is, he never developed any sense of integrated selfhood that comes from an inner bonding with, and natural response to, common sense, truth, wholesome values, conscience, God – an inner-connectedness that alone can result in being truly whole and happy.
Quite the opposite: Obama grew into someone who strongly identified with an ideology rooted in envy, blame and payback – an ideology on whose behalf he sees himself (thanks to his inflated sense of self-worth) as a national and world leader. It is a delusion Jarrett carefully and lovingly embraces, nurtures and protects at every turn.
‘Just too talented to do what ordinary people do’
Perhaps the most potent reason she is Obama’s Rasputin is crystallized in the following statement Jarrett made to author David Remnick, published in his 2010 book, “The Bridge: The Life and Rise of Barack Obama”:
“I think Barack knew that he had God-given talents that were extraordinary. He knows exactly how smart he is. … He knows how perceptive he is. He knows what a good reader of people he is. And he knows that he has the ability – the extraordinary, uncanny ability – to take a thousand different perspectives, digest them and make sense out of them, and I think that he has never really been challenged intellectually. … So what I sensed in him was not just a restless spirit but somebody with such extraordinary talents that had to be really taxed in order for him to be happy. … He’s been bored to death his whole life. He’s just too talented to do what ordinary people do.”
There you have it. That is how Valerie Jarrett exercises such a quasi-hypnotic hold over both of the Obamas. While the country crumbles, and while the light of reality threatens at every turn to annihilate the delusion, the epic pretense, that Obama is a great man, a great intellect and a great leader, Valerie Jarrett is there to reverse the tide, if only in Obama’s mind.
She is, in more than a metaphorical sense, the shadow president. She is Obama’s conscience. Jarrett is his radical-left Jiminy Cricket, keeping him on track to fulfill the dreams of his father.
After all, even wealthy Chicago entrepreneur and close friend of Obama, Martin Nesbitt, told the New York Times Jarrett channels the Obamas’ inner voice, telling them, for instance: “That’s not you. You wouldn’t say that. Somebody else is saying that. Barack Obama wouldn’t say that.”
Or as Jarrett told Vogue magazine, “I kind of know what makes them [the Obamas] who they are.”
Or as she told the New York Times, “We have kind of a mind meld. And chances are, what he wants to do is what I’d want to do.”
Historians will no doubt look back and ask how it’s possible that America’s 44th president, Barack Hussein Obama, could possibly have been so disastrously out of touch with reality, so consistently wrongheaded in his decisions, never course-correcting in any meaningful way despite staggering evidence at every juncture. With the clarity and objectivity that comes with the passage of time, they will surely conclude a great deal of credit goes to Valerie Jarrett, Obama’s Rasputin, for enabling the president to stay the course – a course she herself was instrumental in setting his feet upon decades earlier.
The preceding article is reprinted from the March 2014 issue of Whistleblower magazine, titled “THE MOST POWERFUL WOMAN IN AMERICA.”