Former Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett describes in her new memoir how the atmosphere in the White House was generally “macho.” The conditions led Jarrett to confront President Obama about the problem.
In her new book, Valerie Jarrett writes that she confronted Obama about a "general macho atmosphere" in his West Wing that "was causing women to feel uncomfortable.” Obama invited over a dozen senior women to a lengthy dinner at the White House to discuss. https://t.co/btns9HEt8o
— Jenna Johnson (@wpjenna) April 2, 2019
“If you notice, in meetings, the women rarely talk,” Jarrett reportedly told the president. “And when you aren’t there to ask their opinion, they are becoming increasingly mute.”
“[H]e gave us his undivided attention for two and a half hours.”
“[H]aving the president himself assure [the women] of their value … gave us the courage and confidence we needed to make our voices heard.”
This is pathetic. The president had to assure these grown-up ladies of their value? Is this the new feminist line of thinking: we need a man to assure us of our value and ask our opinion? There’s nothing more insulting for women than the idea that they need to have their value established by a man so that they have “courage and confidence.” Ladies, you worked in the White House with the President of the United States and you couldn’t speak up? How ever did you get there?
Perhaps this is just a problem among the Democrat ladies because I know plenty of Republican women who will chew you up and spit you out with no prompting from a man. Do you think Kellyanne needs a pat-on-the-head from Trump before she can share her opinion?
The New Yorker has an interview with Jarrett about her book. I found this exchange particularly revealing:
How did your idea of political power change between when you arrived at the White House, in 2009, and when you finished serving, eight years later?
Let’s begin with some fundamentals that I think are the same. The power doesn’t come from the top down—it comes from the bottom up. One of the reasons why I’m glad that I started in local government is that you are very proximate to the people you serve. It’s not about you—it’s about them, and they remind you of that all the time. One of the many reasons why I was attracted to joining President Obama’s Administration is that he had that same perspective he had when he was a community organizer.
What I was unprepared for when I arrived in Washington—and it took me a good while to figure out—is that the Republicans were willing, in the middle of the worst economic crisis of our lifetime, to put their short-term political interests ahead of what was good for the country. When President Obama was a senator in Springfield, even a junior senator, he had this ability to work across the aisle. That was a strategy that he employed and that we all followed when we first arrived in Washington, and we hit a wall. I was not prepared for that, and that took some getting used to. He tried a thousand different ways to get them to come around.
Jarrett seems utterly clueless about why the Republicans would would oppose the Obama agenda. The Republicans are elected by people who would vote them out of office had they supported an agenda with which they didn’t agree. While Jarrett touts her “community organizing” and her “bottom up” governing style, she doesn’t extend that beyond whatever community she took herself and Obama to be representing. She certainly wasn’t representing every voter. Perhaps she isn’t interested in views of people who disagree with her, but it was hardly a case of “short-term” political interests.