Update: Time to start packing, Rasputin. You are on the outs with TNR: The Obama Whisperer
Update: The last paragraph says it all:
It’s no surprise that Barack Obama and Valerie Jarrett would govern as reasonable people. It’s who they are. The tragedy is that we live in surpassingly unreasonable times.
Jarrett holds a key vote on Cabinet picks (she opposed Larry Summers at Treasury and was among the first Obama aides to come around on Hillary Clinton at State) and has an outsize say on ambassadorships and judgeships. She helps determine who gets invited to the First Lady’s Box for the State of the Union, who attends state dinners and bill-signing ceremonies, and who sits where at any of the above. She has placed friends and former employees in important positions across the administration—“you can be my person over there,” is a common refrain.
And Jarrett has been known to enjoy the perks of high office herself. When administration aides plan “bilats,” the term of art for meetings of two countries’ top officials, they realize that whatever size meeting they negotiate—nine by nine, eight by eight, etc.—our side will typically include one less foreign policy hand, because Jarrett has a standing seat at any table that includes the president.
Then who will be the President? To quote a recent movie meme: “Good Luck.”
For starters, even today, nobody knows precisely what Jarrett does in the White House. What exactly do her titles—senior advisor to the president, assistant to the president in charge of the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, the Office of Public Engagement, the White House Council on Women and Girls—mean? [Svengali] More to the point, Jarrett has often used the aura of authority [Deng Xiaoping] that these titles give her to stand in the way of talented White House staffers and a smoother-running administration, according to several books that have been written about the Obama presidency, among them Chuck Todd’s forthcoming The Stranger.