Earlier this month, I commented that it was quite possible that Obama could choose a worse chief of staff to replace Rahm Emanuel — Valerie Jarrett. Her personal judgment is poor, her political instincts run far-left, and she is so cozy with the president, she’s unlikely to part with him — or deliver contrary views — and thereby curb his most self-destructive tendencies. Dana Milbank confirms my take:
As the senior adviser in charge of “public engagement,” she has been the White House official responsible for maintaining relationships with the business community and with liberal interest groups — two of the most conspicuous areas of failure for the White House during Obama’s first two years.
She’s also the one who arranged the hiring of social secretary Desiree Rogers, only to cut her friend loose when Rogers was tarnished by the party-crashing Salahis at a state dinner in November.
In addition to Jarrett’s hiring of Van Jones, support for the Ground Zero mosque, and enthusiasm for Fox News–bashing, Milbank points out that she’s ridden to the rescue of two problematic figures:
Consider the recent hiring of Harvard’s Elizabeth Warren as the White House official in charge of setting up the new Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection. Emanuel and others had opposed the appointment on grounds that Warren is difficult to work with and politically radioactive. But Jarrett, arguing for the need for more senior women in the White House, got Obama to overrule Warren’s detractors. …
Jarrett made a similar intervention months earlier, when some senior White House officials were losing confidence in Attorney General Eric Holder. His job appeared to be in jeopardy over the decision to put Khalid Sheikh Mohammad on trial in New York, but Jarrett made sure that Holder, a friend, would remain in good standing.
Her judgment is deeply flawed, and her ascension would essentially rule out any significant policy readjustment by the Obama administration. Selecting her would confirm that Obama is not one to self-reflect, admit error, and adjust to new circumstances.