September 2, 2012

NYT doesn't notice aide's refrigerator light joke about Obama is funny

From a New York Times profile of empty pantsuit / most important Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett:
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, with Mr. Obama poised to accept his party’s renomination this week, her standing is clear, to her many admirers and detractors alike. “She is the single most influential person in the Obama White House,” said one former senior White House official, who like many would speak candidly only on condition of anonymity. 
“She’s there to try to promote what she understands to be what the president wants,” the former aide said. “Ultimately the president makes his own decisions. The question that is hard to get inside of, the black box, is whether she is really influencing him or merely executing decisions he’s made. That’s like asking, ‘Is the light on in the refrigerator when the door is closed?’ ”

Indeed.

I have a question about the code for unsourced allegations, such as "aid one former senior White House official." When I was a kid during the Nixon Administration, I used to assume that quotes from "a senior White House foreign policy official" actually meant somebody pretty junior. I mean, in a sense, everybody in the White House is pretty senior, right? But, eventually, I found out that most of the time, it really meant Henry Kissinger.

So, does this attribution imply former Chief of Staff and now Mayor of Chicago Rahm Emmanuel?

A funny thing with Obama is how much the Chicagoans in his White House hate each other. With Jimmy Carter, the Washington old-timers complained about his Georgia Mafia that he had brought with him to the White House. But my recollection is that the Georgians mostly stuck together. With Obama's Chicagoans, though, they always seem to be out to stab each other in the back. It's not like they are a team, they are just some local bigshots that a small time local politician, Barack Obama, happened to know. A recurrent problem Obama has as in his first try at being an executive is that he doesn't know very many people and he doesn't really want to know more. I can empathize, but still ...

42 comments:

countenance said...

Three times Jarrett said no to getting OBL, but Obama had enough sense to override her. If Obama had a little more sense, he would tell her to go pound sand.

The Legendary Linda said...

I doubt she has any power in the Obama administration or anywhere else. If she did, Obama would have overruled the neocons and developed good relations with Iran.

Anonymous said...

My impression is that her main qualification for being "the single most influential person in the Obama White House" is that she's Michelle's friend. Initially Obama wanted her to take his old senate seat, but when that didn't work, she ended up with him in the White House.

It's indicative of a kind of weakness, but not necessarily of betaness. Clinton is very alpha, and his wife and her friends had a big influence on him.

Of course, an optimal leader would never allow his wife or her friends to meddle in politics or business. Management is difficult enough even without cattiness.

Anonymous said...

How is she an empty suit? I prefer Obama's Illinois pol policies to his wall street whore policies pushed by the Larry Summers axis. I always thought empty suit just meant stupid and unprincipled.

Anonymous said...

"black box"! ah-ha-ha! I pissed my pants!
:)

Anonymous said...

She looks more Asian than black to me. Seems like someone who is very smart from a family of doctors and professionals. The article was horrible, lots of nasty anonymous sniping from disloyal people who used to work with her.

SFG said...

It's sort of dumb. Yes, the light goes off when the fridge door is closed. You could put a camera in there and check, for chrissake.

Anonymous said...

The mainstream media of course speculated endlessly about whether Rove was "Bush's Brain" but has no interest in wondering if Jarrett is Obama's Brain.

Auntie Analogue said...

Whatever happened to the term "éminence grise"? It nails Jarrett's relationship to Obama.

Anonymous said...

speaking of access journalism you have to wonder about the "sources" who are talking about her influence. those sources are losing to valerie in a zero sum game to influence the president.

Luke Lea said...

Larry Summers is famously quoted in Confidence Men that "nobody is home."

Anonymous said...

It's a half-black box.

Dahlia said...

On politics,

I believe the Republican convention marks the point, where, from here and until election day, nearly every pundit "sees red" and can no longer be trusted. We've entered the "silly season". The other side turns nasty and your own can't be trusted to know and/or report the negative news.

From Statement Analysis blog:
"When someone has an agenda, or cause in life, it may hinder their ability to do analytical work. For the person driven by an agenda, everything in life comes back to it, tainting their ability to do analytical work...When a person lives under the cloud of an "agenda", it becomes clear and apparent to those around him. Socially, all conversation is eventually steered towards this or that particular agenda...We sometimes call this "seeing red."

When a certain allegation is reported, we know of some investigators who simply cannot be assigned because they "see red" at the allegation and become overwhelmed emotionally, but cannot recognize the blindspot. (recognizing it would likely allow for the work to continue, under close supervision)."

My mother first noticed it with Wolf Blitzer whom she likes. "What's gotten into him?" she asked rhetorically today. "I had to change the channel he got so nasty during the convention! To PBS!"
I first noticed it with Dave Weigel. I enjoyed him during the primary (yeah, I know, Journolist and all that), but now he's back in "journolist" hack mode and I don't recognize him anymore; the human is gone.

http://seamusoriley.blogspot.com/2012/09/the-analyst-part-three-agenda.html

Anonymous said...

Jarrett Towers
BY: Andrew Stiles
August 21, 2012 5:00 am
freebeacon.com

Senior White House adviser and long-time Obama confidant Valerie Jarrett's role in a number of controversial Chicago housing developments has garnered her investments worth millions of dollars while highlighting the administration's extensive business ties to presidential donors.

Before joining the Obama administration in 2009, Jarrett was president and chief executive officer of the Habitat Company, a real estate development firm founded by major Democratic donor Daniel Levin. Before that, she served three years as commissioner of the Chicago Department of Planning and Development under Mayor Richard Daley.

Jarrett currently owns an 11-percent equity interest in Kingsbury Plaza, a 46-story luxury apartment complex developed by Habitat between 2005 and 2007 at a cost of more than $100 million.

She valued the investment at between $1 million and $5 million on her 2011 financial disclosure form, up from $250,001 in 2010. A Jarrett spokesman told the Washington Times that the investment was "a direct result of her 13 years working for Habitat."

Cook County records show the Kingsbury property is worth around $27.2 million, but thanks to a series of legal appeals beginning in 2003, the land and building are assessed at a much lower value for tax purposes. Since 2008, the property has been designated a "special commercial structure" and is taxed at a value of just $6.8 million, or 25 percent of the actual value.

Asked how such a property could enjoy such a low taxable value, an official with the Cook County Assessor's Office told the Free Beacon that the property's owners "must have good attorneys"...

Levin, the firm’s founder, has close ties to the Obama administration and the Democratic Party. Levin and his wife, Fay Hartog Levin, are long-time acquaintances of the president’s, and have personally donated nearly $1 million to Democratic candidates and committees since 1989, including about $25,000 each to Obama.

In 2009, President Obama appointed Hartog Levin ambassador to the Netherlands, a move that drew criticism from government accountability advocates...

journalist said...

It's like Schrodinger's cat, man

Anonymous said...

Obama is mulatto...

Anonymous said...

She's the pure political celebrity for our time, famous & authoritative for some reason no one can really explain. Only a journalist would waste time scrutinizing her rumored-to-exist long game, so he can milk maybe 4 or 5 easy pieces out of it later on, "Alas poor Jarrett, I knew her well"

Anonymous said...

is black box the joke? i don't get it :(

Anonymous said...

Perhaps Law and Order will find the great white defendant who is frustrating the president's Diversity plans.

Gary said...

This American Thinker piece from mid-August provides additional context that the Grey Lady somehow missed: http://www.americanthinker.com/2012/08/obamas_strange_dependence_on_valerie_jarrett.html

Here's an excerpt:

"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 [Edward Klein, author of The Amateur] 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."

(Needless to say, the Times profile didn't mention anything remotely related to the last two paragraphs.)

So apparently Miss Jarrett's true role in the Obama White House is "Special Counsel to the President for Keeping It Real."

Anonymous said...

So, she's a close friend 'working' for him without an official title. Why is this so controversial? This is how the world actually work

Camlost said...

Valerie Jarrett's commitment to public service is very obvious - she's taken quite a pay cut from her former days as a Slum Lord making millions through shady real estate deals.

Steve Sailer said...

"In 2009, President Obama appointed Hartog Levin ambassador to the Netherlands, a move that drew criticism from government accountability advocates..."

The U.S. embassy in the Netherlands appear to be a prime spot for American presidents to dump their supporters who are dubious real estate promoters, the way Bush appointed subprime king Roland Arnall of Ameriquest ambassador to the Netherlands.

I wonder what the Dutch think of this habit?

Whiskey said...

Actually, she has immense power in the Obama Administration. Obama has followed her dictum and basically OK'd Iran's nuclear weapons drive, meaning the US will be driven out of the Gulf and we will live with sky-high energy prices for a couple of decades.

Jarrett ran off Rahm Emmanuel, and Richard Daley. She was the one pushing "You didn't build that" with Warren and Obama. She actually thought that was great. She was a disaster in the Daley Administration, being fired, amidst a corruption scandal. She knows nothing about Washington, the Bureaucracy, Dem insiders, big donors, or much of anything.

Her main function is to shore up Barack Obama's fragile Black ego. Like most Black men he has toxic levels of self-esteem at least in part developed because of uncritical praise by White guys (and women). Think prima-donnas like TO, Chad Ochocinco, and the like (defensive ends and linemen get abused by coaches early and often and so don't get toxic egos much, speedy WRs get cut too much slack for their own good).

Jarrett constantly has to stroke Obama's ego saying he's the smartest guy in the universe and 'gets bored' with mundane stuff better suited to mortals.

Whiskey said...

Why is Jarrett bad?

Machiavelli advises that a Prince, particularly a new one, is judged by the quality of his advisors. If his advisors step out of bounds, the Prince is weak. If they are yes-men and flatterers, the Prince is also thought weak.

That, moreover, it is critical for the Prince (or modern day executive) to have as his counsel and his underlings men of ability, who serve for him, taking a small but not over-great measure for themselves. Too little and he gets only second-raters or worse, too much and they rival the Prince.

Obama has chosen the WORSE possible people he could. Only appointing say Louis Farrakhan, a frequent WH visitor, would have been worse than Jarrett.

Obama is in trouble and headed for defeat, and like a failed but bloody and awful coup, because he has no sense himself for ordinary White people (save he hates them with his mulatto being) and has chosen as his key advisors third-rate entities who get him into trouble: Energy Secretary Chu, Interior Secretary Salazar, Attorney General Holder, while taking closest council from a woman who knows nothing about America, its people, or how to win over enough support to govern.

Even Clinton was wise enough and had enough experience on his own to realize Dick Morris was right and Hillary wrong, on how to respond to the debacle of 1994, and tack right, hand out middle class economic growth, based on cheap oil, and Sistah Souljah moments symbolizing a switch in sides, along with Welfare Reform.

Maya said...

Btw, when you close the refrigerator door- the light goes out. I discovered this last week while cleaning.

Anonymous said...

The interesting stories will come out when the staffers shift from stabbing each other in the back to stabbing Obama in the back, either on or off the record. The traditional time for that to happen is after losing an election.

I suspect the story will be that he's an empty suit, in an administration with more than its share of empty suits.


Nanonymous said...

If Jarett is really as clueless and incompetent as claimed, that's a good thing. I want Obama to lose and if she interferes with what smart Axelrod is doing then all the better.

Anonymous said...

"Btw, when you close the refrigerator door- the light goes out. I discovered this last week while cleaning."

Well, thank goodness we can finally close the books on that little mystery!

Anonymous said...

As far as Jarrett not knowing how Congress works, isn't it clear neither does BO, and isn't it clear he doesn't really care?

The heath care stuff was handed over to Pelosi and Reid. First, Pelosi. It's a legislative mess. Obama simply said, "We have majority; get something passed."

That's what Pelosi did. She enjoyed her power and she cobbled together a mess so big it can take down this country the way 10 wars can.

It appears BO has never actually witnessed an executive of any kind to know what is required from a management point of view. There are people who haven't been executives who still have leadership skills because they are good with people, good at bringing sides together, but he seems not to have any proclivities in that area.

Anonymous said...

http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/bill-clinton-obama-few-years-ago-guy-would-have-been-carrying-our-bags_651489.html


Carrying bags, huh? Oh, here's another little gem the prog media will ignore.

Makes me want to know just why Clinton agreed to speak at the convention when we know he hates BO.

Anonymous said...

Makes me want to know just why Clinton agreed to speak at the convention when we know he hates BO.

Clinton, the Southerner, is a racist?

Whoever would have thought that!

Anonymous said...

Re VJs property deals: the Hollywood stereotype of the senator/congressman type as a crooked, psychopath, pedophile monster is ingrained.

Blacks naturally look at all this and say: 'So why cant a color person be like Brian Dennehy?'

Gilbert P.

Steve Johnson said...

whiskey:

"She knows nothing about Washington, the Bureaucracy, Dem insiders, big donors, or much of anything."

If she couples that with an exhaustive knowledge of comic books we've found your soulmate.

Anonymous said...

http://www.ocregister.com/opinion/racist-370103-white-dog.html

Anonymous said...

Actually, she has immense power in the Obama Administration. Obama has followed her dictum and basically OK'd Iran's nuclear weapons drive, meaning the US will be driven out of the Gulf and we will live with sky-high energy prices for a couple of decades.

I don't even know why you hang around this site. You are clearly a neocon thinking he has something in common with the folks here. Earlier you touted Rommey's speech about getting tougher on Putin. Now you are worried about Iran driving us out of the Mideast.

To people on this blog those are problems that don't even merit a top 10 mention. In case you didn't realize it, the USA is becoming a third world nation day by day and is on the verge of bankruptcy. Putin and Iran are immaterial.

Jeff W. said...

Valerie Jarrett knows where all the bodies are buried. That is why she gets whatever she wants.

Another example of a person who knows where the bodies are buried is Jon Corzine. Corzine has stolen more than $1 billion of clients' cash with impunity. He will never be prosecuted. He knows too much.

pat said...

I'm very distant from all of this but it seems to me that Obama is the sort of person who would be rather easy for his staff to manipulate.

Every supervisor learns that while you try to run your staff, your staff tries to run you. George Bush despite hie many faults and weaknesses always seemed to be a guy who would be hard to push around.

Obama on the other hand has so many "hooks" that he should be easy to get to march to an adviser's tune. For example, most smart leaders put on a show of self deprecation. This protects them from those who seek control them through flattery. Obama seems very vulnerable to flattery. He seems to believe his own press releases. Poor fool.

Getting people to underestimate you gives you a tremendous advantage in personal negotiations. Eisenhower knew this. Reagan too. Obama however foolishly allows those around him to call him a genius. He doesn't seem to be canny enough to realize that this is a control technique.

Black men are particularly vulnerable to self esteem manipulations. Shakespeare knew this very well when he created the character of Iago.

Albertosaurus

The Legendary Linda said...

"Every insider in Chicago told Klein [Edward Klein, author of The Amateur] 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."

Uh you do realize Edward Klein books are largely fabricated, right? Even conservatives know he's a liar.

The Legendary Linda said...

http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/bill-clinton-obama-few-years-ago-guy-would-have-been-carrying-our-bags_651489.html


Carrying bags, huh? Oh, here's another little gem the prog media will ignore.

Makes me want to know just why Clinton agreed to speak at the convention when we know he hates BO.


Because both clintons must maintain their image as loyal Democrats if hillary is to run in 2016 and if bill is to maintain his charity work (using other people's money)

Gringo said...

Jarrett currently owns an 11-percent equity interest in Kingsbury Plaza, a 46-story luxury apartment complex developed by Habitat between 2005 and 2007 at a cost of more than $100 million.....
Cook County records show the Kingsbury property is worth around $27.2 million, but thanks to a series of legal appeals beginning in 2003, the land and building are assessed at a much lower value for tax purposes. Since 2008, the property has been designated a "special commercial structure" and is taxed at a value of just $6.8 million, or 25 percent of the actual value.


Yes, there was a real estate crash, but an appraised value of $27 million on a property that cost $100 million to build sounds like too much of a drop to me. I wonder if there was fraud involved in some of the $100 million spent on the project.

[Yes, I read the $6.8 million figure, but wanted to deal with the main change in value.]

Anonymous said...

"Corzine....He will never be prosecuted. He knows too much."

But aren´t judges autonomous?