The Washington Post's Dana Milbank takes a critical look at Valerie Jarrett today. Milbank reports, "current and former White House officials I spoke with raised questions about Jarrett's effectiveness and judgment."
But the two instances where these officials point to Jarrett's lapses in judgment are unconvincing. They aren't lapses. The first is the appointment of Elizabeth Warren to head a consumer's protection bureau. Warren is described as "politically radioactive." Because she wants to protect consumers? In addition, Obama had to demonstrate to the base of the Democratic party that he wasn't going to spurn it completely going into the November elections.
The second instance is keeping Eric Holder on as Attorney General. Holder misjudged the controversy that would erupt over trying Khalid Sheikkh Mohammad in New York. But was it really a firing offense? Obama would have looked even weaker than he already does by dumping Holder overboard. He was right -- and Jarrett was correct -- to recommend that he hold on to Holder.
What really seems to irk some in the Obama White House is that Jarrett is close friends with the president. Milbank says, "administration officials talk of resentment they feel toward Jarrett for acting as if she is the only one who has the president's best interest at heart." This kvetching sounds like the usual DC sniping at a prominent official who is close to the president. But if her tenure so far is any indication Jarrett will easily weather the jeers.
Jarrett has displayed sound judgment and good political instincts. Obama would do well to appoint her his new chief of staff.