The Politico author, a woman, makes the suggestion about Jarrett because she is the president’s closest adviser and that is who usually takes the hit after a repudiation of the president’s policies in a midterm election:
Let’s stipulate right away that it would be unfair to blame Jarrett, the longtime Obama family friend and confidante, for the walloping that the president and his party suffered at the polls on Tuesday. And Jarrett will no doubt be needed in the weeks ahead to comfort her old pals, Barack and Michelle.
But let’s also face facts—and expect the president to do so as well. We’re at that point in an already long-toothed presidency when things inside really need to change. In the days before anyone knew how brutally the Democrats would get beaten, politicians and staffers and pundits were urging a shakeup of the White House staff.
This is, after all, a time-honored practice for an administration in trouble. Somebody’s got to take the blame other than president, who’s not going to resign himself. Past presidents who fared badly in midterm elections have not been shy about making high-level changes—George W. Bush fired Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld after the 2006 midterms and also replaced his chief of staff. Presidents Dwight Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan at the same low point in their administrations replaced their chiefs of staff when they failed to perform up to expectations or fell from grace. George H.W. Bush did the same to chief of staff John Sununu.
According to the Brazile op-ed published on CNN.com, Politico was simply indulging in the typical sexist war on woman-type routine:
She is pilloried for everything from run-ins with other staffers to playing herself in a cameo role on CBS’ “The Good Wife.” That’s how much they object to the job Valerie Jarrett is doing — they don’t even want her doing it in the fictional realm. The Politico story, headlined “Fire Valerie Jarrett, even notes that “nobody knows precisely what Jarrett does in the White House.” But whatever it is, it’s wrong enough that she needs to be fired.
Withering criticism is something that is meted out regardless of gender in Washington. Attorney General Eric Holder has been called every name in the book, including the ones that have to be spelled using asterisks. But Jarrett is being subjected to a refrain of snipes and swipes that sound like they were cribbed from the Twitter feed of one of “The Real Housewives of New Jersey.” The litany of Jarrett’s run-ins with other White House power brokers reads like a plot synopsis for a new “Mean Girls” movie.
Even more telling are the descriptions of Jarrett that trivialize her position and the skills that got her to that position. The Politico article states, “If her role in this administration reflected reality, Jarrett would be called ‘First Big Sister’ to both Michelle and Barack.”
Brazile, who lives in the dream world where there is no such thing as voter fraud, ignores the entire premise of the Politico piece — that Jarret did nothing wrong but she’s got to go. According Politico, after a horrible midterm loss, presidents usually get rid of some of their top advisers, and Jarrett should be targeted because she is Obama’s closest adviser. And while Brazile complains about how Jarrett was described in the piece, Jarrett has been described as a “sister-like” figure to Obama since he took office. Would Brazile have preferred that Jarrett be described using words “that have to be spelled using asterisks?” Or perhaps in terms much more accurate: former Chicago Slumlord.
Politics is a nasty game and people are called nasty things. Did Brazile criticize Barbara Boxer when she said Condoleezza Rice couldn’t understand the war because she didn’t have children?
Brazile and others like her must realize that equality is much more than equal pay for equal work, or the job going to the person most qualified no matter the gender, and it certainly doesn’t mean that in a nasty business like politics no one is allowed to call you mean things the way they do with men. Equality in politics means that women face the same as men when political expediency dictates.
Someone who has been involved in politics as long a Brazile should know how it works. But in this case she is conveniently forgetting just so she can protect a member of the Obama administration.
Cross-posted at The Lid