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‘A Portrait of a Woman Wielding a Many-Faceted Portfolio of Power’

The New York Times profiles Valerie Jarrett, the woman who wears the pants in the Obama administration.

by
Dave Swindle

Bio

September 2, 2012 - 8:40 am

via Valerie Jarrett Is the Other Power in the West Wing – NYTimes.com.

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?’ ”

Yet if that answer remains elusive, interviews with more than two dozen former and current administration officials offer a portrait of a woman wielding a many-faceted portfolio of power.

Read the whole thing. Valerie Jarrett is the one responsible for most of Obama’s radical social policy. Picking a dumb fight with the Catholic church over birth control? That’s “VJ” as she’s known in internal White House notes. The Federal fight against Arizona’s common sense immigration law? VJ fueled that. Nominating a “wise Latina” and a disciple of Critical Race Theory founder Derrick Bell to the Supreme Court? Again, thank VJ.

And if Obama wins reelection in November then again, she will primarily be the one responsible given her role in charting the administration on such a hard left course. She’s bet that a Cultural Marxist appeal revving up the Democrat base engines of multicultural victimhood and middle class, do-gooder liberal white guilt will be enough to win reelection. She fought the moderate (party hack) elements in the administration who would’ve taken the more sensible direction of a Clintonian, 3rd-way pivot to the center after the midterm shellacking. And she won that fight. (Rahm’s back in Chicago.) She understands what both establishment Democrats and the GOP want to ignore: culture matters and they own it.

I think she’s probably right that this strategy will work. The mainstream media and the Obama administration have done a very good job confusing people on basic economics to the point that the barely political, in-the-middle swing voters don’t want to blame the president for an economy that really doesn’t seem that bad to them.

She has reason for confidence. The Times article concludes:

Today, many of the issues Ms. Jarrett championed are being replayed in the campaign. In recent ads, for instance, Mr. Romney has accused the president of using “his health care plan to declare war on religion.” The president, for his part, has accused Mr. Romney of wanting to take women “back to the 1950s.”

And Ms. Jarrett has added another role to her portfolio, traveling to swing states to campaign, sometimes at Mr. Obama’s side.

“Homestretch,” she keeps telling him.

“Homestretch?” he’ll reply.

“Yes, almost there,” she says. “We’ve just got the convention, then three debates.”

***

Related at PJ Lifestyle on the women shaping the Obama administration:

How Deeply Does a Wife Influence Her Husband’s Worldview?

David Swindle is the associate editor of PJ Media. He writes and edits articles and blog posts on politics, news, culture, religion, and entertainment. He edits the PJ Lifestyle section and the PJ columnists. Contact him at DaveSwindlePJM @ Gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @DaveSwindle. He has worked full-time as a writer, editor, blogger, and New Media troublemaker since 2009, at PJ Media since 2011. He graduated with a degree in English (creative writing emphasis) and political science from Ball State University in 2006. Previously he's also worked as a freelance writer for The Indianapolis Star and the film critic for WTHR.com. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and their Siberian Husky puppy Maura.
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