Valerie Jarrett

The White House Is Exhausted

The National Journal

The past week has not been kind to Obama. But could it be a turning point for his presidency?

Day 1,956 of his presidency was not too kind to President Obama. Having to announce within a four-hour span that he had lost both an embattled Cabinet secretary and his chief spokesman, Obama looked Friday like a man gamely trying to get a stalled administration back on track. He entered the week still stuck with low approval ratings and facing fierce criticism of his policies both at home and abroad. On Wednesday, he tried to chart a new course internationally with a West Point speech setting out a new foreign policy. On Thursday, he dealt with widespread criticism of the speech. On Friday, he tried to dig himself out of a troubling Veterans Administration scandal by jettisoning VA Secretary Eric Shinseki, a man he thought was being unfairly blamed for the problems. Then he accepted the resignation of press secretary Jay Carney, the longtime public face of his White House. It is a cliché to note the aging of our presidents, to count the gray hairs sprouting with each passing day in the Oval Office. But Obama does look weary. And he is at a point in his administration when his agenda seems tired and many of his appointees are exhausted. In that regard, he is no different than every second-term president since World War II. For all of them, the sixth year was troubled and filled with administration scandals, political challenges and executive turnover. A second-term president has to figure out how to govern effectively without his original band of hardy loyalists. Most of them have fled government at this point. When Obama looks around his White House these days, he sees Valerie Jarrett and Dan Pfeiffer and only a handful of other aides who were with him on that frigid day in 2007 in Springfield when he announced his long-shot candidacy. Only three of Obama’s original 16 Cabinet officers remain—Eric Holder at Justice, Tom Vilsack at Agriculture, and Arne Duncan at Education. He is on his fourth budget director, his fifth chief of staff, and, soon, his third press secretary.
The turnover at press secretary is the least surprising. Few appreciate what a tough job that is. Marlin Fitzwater, who served Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, said that the biggest shock to him when he became press secretary was how hard he had to dig to get the facts and to make sure what he said publicly was accurate. As Carney was later to learn, most of that work is done off-camera, fighting to be included in the inner circle. The two-term presidents since Dwight Eisenhower have all worn out their press secretaries. Bill Clinton and George W. Bush each had four, and Ronald Reagan had three. Lyndon Johnson, who served less than two full terms, had four. Each had to struggle with the reality that the public starts to tune out a president in his second term. This is a highly personal office. A president is the only politician whom voters, in effect, invite into their homes and watch on television every night. But in a sixth year, people tend to believe they have pretty much heard it all from the president and about all they hear seems to be bad news. In making his announcements on Shinseki and Carney, the president did all the things expected of him in the circumstances, projecting determination and even smiling bravely. But what he didn’t do was signal convincingly that he knows how to provide a way forward for the 966 days he has left in the White House. How he responds now will determine whether this week is regarded as a low point or a critical turning point for his presidency.

Watch: White House Correspondents Dinner Awesome Spoof Of ‘House of Cards’

Post image for Watch: White House Correspondents Dinner Awesome Spoof Of ‘House of Cards’

The New Civil Rights Movement

The White House Correspondents Dinner featured an awesome spoof of the Netflix series, “House of Cards,” which features Kevin Spacey as the House Majority Whip, but also, cameos of John McCain, Valerie Jarrett, BuzzFeed’s editor Ben Smith, Steny Hoyer, Kevin McCarthy, New York City’s Mayor Mike Bloomberg, and Politico’s Chief White House Correspondent Mike Allen.

Joe Walsh – Michelle Obama Funeral Flap

Joe Walsh Michelle Obama Funeral

Some people just don’t know when to go home after the party is over.  Joe Walsh is one of them…

The Huffington Post

Making good on his threat promise that he’s not going away, ex-Congressman Joe Walsh reared his head Friday morning to blast the first lady for traveling to her hometown of Chicago to attend slain 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton’s funeral.

In a series of tweets first reported by DNAinfo Chicago, Walsh ripped Michelle Obama’s attendance at the funeral of the teen-aged inaugural performer as “political.”

 

 

News of Pendleton’s Jan. 29 shooting death struck a chord nationwide, prompting outrage over the honor student’s senseless slaying, gun control and the epidemic of shooting violence in Chicago.

After the King College Prep student was shot by a still at-large perp while standing under a park canopy to escape the rain, a petition was started urging President Obama to attend the teen’s funeral.

Thursday, a White House official said Michelle Obama would attend the funeral, along with senior adviser Valerie Jarrett and U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan. Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn will also attend the funeral.

“As a mother and Chicagoan, the first lady was heartbroken to learn of the tragic lossof Hadiya Pendleton due to senseless gun violence,” Kristina Schake, Michelle Obama communications director, told the Tribune Thursday.

According to WGN, a Friday visitation for Pendleton will be held at Calahan Funeral Home, 7030 S. Halsted St., from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. The wake and funeral follow on Saturday beginning at 9 a.m. at the Greater Harvest Baptist Church at 5141 S. State St.

Walsh’s criticism of the first lady attending the Pendleton service is not the first time the Tea Party favorite has lashed out on the topic of Chicago violence following a headline-grabbing tragedy. Last spring, after the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin inspired Walsh’s then-congressional colleague Bobby Rush to don a hoodie on the House floor, Walsh said he hoped Rush would “be as outraged with all of the black on black crime going on in the city of Chicago weekend after weekend” as he was with Martin’s death.

Obama administration, Congress brace for new political reality

One week from today, the GOP dominated 112th Congress begins it’s two year run.  What will be different, what will remain status quo?

CNN

A new political reality hits Washington next week, with the first split Congress since 2004 raising questions about whether the bipartisan cooperation of the recently concluded lame-duck session can continue.

Conventional wisdom says the shift from one party controlling both chambers, as Democrats have done since 2006, to the GOP taking over the House and holding a stronger minority stake in the Senate should mean increased partisan impasse over the next two years.

But that same conventional wisdom got turned on its head after November 2, when the electoral “shellacking” delivered to President Barack Obama and the Democrats was followed by one of the most productive post-election congressional conclusions in history.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs attributed the new bipartisanship of the post-election period to the Republican gains in the November vote.

“There was a responsibility of government that I think the Republicans got in the November elections and they began to understand that responsibility a little bit more in this lame-duck session than they had in the previous, quite frankly, 18 months or so,” Gibbs said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Republicans can no longer afford to “simply sit and say no,” Gibbs said, referring to the obstructive posture that GOP leaders generally struck in Obama’s first two years in office. Instead, he called for Republicans to be part of a constructive conversation, at least in 2011 before the presidential campaign of 2012 really heats up.

Some liberals accused Obama of giving in too easily to Republican demands on some issues, particularly in cutting a deal that extended Bush-era tax cuts to everyone after Obama had campaigned on allowing tax rates of the wealthy to return to higher levels.

White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett told the NBC program “Meet the Press” that the new reality in Washington requires such compromise in order to do what’s best for the American people, rather than one political party or another

“There was a responsibility of government that I think the Republicans got in the November elections and they began to understand that responsibility a little bit more in this lame-duck session than they had in the previous, quite frankly, 18 months or so,” Gibbs said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”   More…

Rep. Steve King calls Obama administration the ‘gangster government.’

Rep. Steven King is by far one of the more way “out there” people in congress, ala Michele Bachmann, Virginia Fox and a few other looney toons…

Think Progress

Rep. Steve King (R-IA), one of the right wing’s most shameless hate-mongers, has propagated all sorts of baseless attacks on Obama. For example, he has said Obama will make America a “totalitarian dictatorship,” that Obama was raised by polygamists, and that “radical Islamists” would be “dancing in the streets” if Obama was elected. In an interview with the Washington News Observer, King offered his latest diatribe, calling Obama’s team of advisers the “gangster government”:

Valerie Jarrett is a product of Chicago politics. This is power politics through Rahm Emanuel and Barack Obama, son and daughter of Saul Alinsky, linked up with Mayor Daley, the one that actually hired Michelle Obama and put her into that link, which may have well been the link that put Barack Obama into that machine. The Chicago Machine, we know what it is. Someone called it gangster government. In Chicago, you have gangster government and Valerie Jarrett’s been in the middle of that. She’s been brokering power for a long time.

Watch: