Insider Report Blames White House's First Year Failures on Emanuel and the Obama's Inner Circle
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Compare this flippant meanness and hubris to the tone of Obama campaign manager David Plouffe's depiction of the campaign in Audacity to Win: The Inside Story and Lessons of Barack Obama's Historic Victory and one couldn't imagine more different worlds. Plouffe describes a campaign with a "no assholes" rule -- one where good policy would be pursued -- not just what was a winning political hand.
Luce's brief paints a picture of even a well-meaning, policy-focused "Obama the man" being warped out of shape by "Obama the team." Recounting some of the antics during Obama's November China trip, Luce recounts:
The same [dismissal of his key policy advisers in lieu of his political entourage] can be observed in foreign policy. On Mr Obama's November trip to China, members of the cabinet such as the Nobel prizewinning Stephen Chu, energy secretary, were left cooling their heels while Mr Gibbs, Mr Axelrod and Ms Jarrett were constantly at the president's side.
The White House complained bitterly about what it saw as unfairly negative media coverage of a trip dubbed Mr Obama's "G2" visit to China. But, as journalists were keenly aware, none of Mr Obama's inner circle had any background in China. "We were about 40 vans down in the motorcade and got barely any time with the president," says a senior official with extensive knowledge of the region. "It was like the Obama campaign was visiting China."
One wonders why Valerie Jarrett was on the trip in any case. As head of public engagement for the White House, it would seem she should have a rather full plate meeting the demand of the many groups around the United States that want to feel like they are connecting with and being heard by the Obama White House.
I see Valerie Jarrett a lot -- often at Georgetown's power crowd restaurant, Cafe Milano.
In fact, one night when I was at the annual gala dinner of Jim Zogby's Arab American Institute -- an important evening for leading figures from the Arab-American community to connect with the Washington political establishment -- Jarrett was on the docket to be the major keynote speaker of the entire night.
Jarrett, however, had to modify her schedule because of what she said were "urgent duties that were calling her back to the White House right away" and so she gave a few minutes of laudatory comments toward the Arab American community before most people were in their seats between reception and sitting down for dinner. My hosts that evening said that they were mainly interested in hearing her and asked me if I wanted to depart with them for Cafe Milano. I said sure -- and wow -- there Ms. Jarrett was.
Maybe she did stop at the White House between the JW Marriott and the Georgetown hot spot. That was possible -- but it would have had to be a nano-second drop by.
Compare this to President Bill Clinton giving the major keynote remarks in March 1995 at the Nixon Center's opening conference in Washington at the Mayflower Hotel when Clinton came early for a VIP reception, stayed for the entire sit down dinner, gave a 90 minute long speech, and mingled with folks after.
People can tell when you are focused on them in a serious way -- and when you are giving them a cursory glance.
There are things that happen in politics -- and Valerie Jarrett does have important duties and a schedule that is probably always in constant flux -- so I don't want to take my critique too far.