After the shellacking that President Obama received at the hands of voters in the midterm elections, his chief adviser, Valerie Jarrett, is finding herself on the hot seat.
Over the weekend, two articles in outlets that are usually friendly to the White House singled her out as a major problem. One piece slams her as the “Obama whisperer,” and another flat-out advises Obama to fire her.
Jarrett has been with the Obamas since their political launch in Chicago and has become the president’s spokesperson, closest adviser, and, some say, the real decision-maker in the White House.
This ultimate insider has been criticized by conservatives for years, but now it seems even liberals have had enough of her.
For years, many have been afraid to cross her–and for good reason–but with this political drubbing, it looks as if at least a few in the media have finally decided to speak up in opposition to Jarrett’s iron-fisted rule behind the scenes.
In one long ranging piece–The New Republic’s “The Obama Whisperer“–Jarrett is described as a schemer who has made it her job to undermine anyone she thinks threatens her position as Obama’s main (and some say nearly only) adviser. She is even reported as having essentially chased former Obama chief of staff Rahm Emanuel out of Washington.
The New Republic piece is not a flattering picture of the president’s muse. She comes off as cold, calculating, self-promoting, and churlish. She is said to offer insincere, sycophantic compliments to Obama and is presented as the type of person who lashes out, viciously cutting people off at the knees and banishing those seeking to help the president and his administration if she is displeased with their efforts.
In fact, after one contentious meeting with illegal immigrant activists, the piece reported that Jarrett banished some of the activists from further contact with the White House, removed them from email info lists, and sent some scathing emails telling them why they had been jettisoned.
The most shocking thing New Republic reports is that Obama no longer has daily meetings with a full staff of advisers, as every other president has. He has limited his briefings to Valerie Jarrett and his current chief of staff Denis McDonough — making this president the most isolated in modern history.
The second Jarrett piece is even more direct. It recommends that Obama simply fire Jarrett.
At Politico, Chicago writer Carol Felsenthal suggests that Obama needs to really shake up his office after being handed one of the worst political defeats in presidential history. The best way to do that, she writes, is to fire Valerie Jarrett, or at least banish her to a position outside the inner circle.
Felsenthal’s determination is that Jarrett has become one of the president’s biggest problems.
“But the fact is,” she wrote in the Friday article, “on balance it appears that Jarrett has been more an obstructer than a facilitator over the past six years when it comes to governing, and it’s probably long past time for the president to move her gently into another role.”
The Chicago writer’s final advice to the president is this: “for Pete’s sake get her out of the way of the hard work of governing that needs to be done.”
As Obama continues to flail about as a lame duck president, many liberals are starting to agree with that advice.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.