Valerie Jarrett is not only one of President Barack Obama’s closest advisors; she also is one of the most radical, with close connections to the Chicago left that nurtured Obama in his early political career.
The Iranian-born Jarrett (her parents were American expatriates) found a foothold in Chicago politics through her marriage to Dr. William Robert Jarrett, whose father Vernon held sway as a columnist on the Chicago Sun-Times–for a time, the city’s only major black columnist.
In 1991, Vernon Jarrett enthusiastically promoted a Chicago visit by professor Derrick Bell, who was still on voluntary unpaid leave from Harvard Law School, in protest at the faculty’s refusal to hire visiting professor Regina Austin.
Barack Obama, who had joined Bell in that protest, had just graduated from Harvard and had begun work in Chicago at the law firm of Davis, Miner, Barnhill and Galland, a prominent local civil rights firm.
Bell’s visit had been arranged by the Community Renewal Society, a left-wing group that wanted Bell to help it launch a “racial justice agenda” across the Chicago area. He addressed the Society’s annual dinner, delivering a radical speech on the “permanence” of racism. Describing the civil rights movement as “childlike, trusting, believing, and hopelessly naive,” he suggested a more confrontational approach to race relations.
In addition to the dinner, Bell was invited to conduct a workshop with leading Chicago community organizers. Those invited included Obama’s pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, as well as Father Michael Pfleger, both of whom became notorious during the 2008 presidential campaign.
Obama was not invited, but his boss, Judson Miner, was among the community activists listed as participants in the Society’s workshop.
Vernon Jarrett enthusiastically plugged the dinner in his column in the Sun-Times on October 22, 1991, in radical, alarmist terms:
The featured speaker is Professor Derrick A. Bell, Jr. a distinguished sage whose courage ranks as high as his academic accomplishments.
This is the same African-American author of several monumental studies and volumes of research on human rights who took leave of his Harvard Law School professorship last year in protest of Harvard’s shortage of women and racial minorities on its law faculty. Professor Bell has since joined the law faculty at New York University.
Meanwhile, hard-line right-wingers are splashing themselves in the ecstasy of Clarence Thomas’ Senate confirmation for the Supreme Court, and, yes, despite denials, their hopes also were fanned by Ku Klux Klan-love David Duke’s big vote in the Louisiana gubernatorial race Saturday.
Their bliss will continue if on Friday morning they can gloat: “Despite the $60 individual dinner price, which is modest for such events, attendance was down from last year’s Community Renewal Society dinner.”
Vernon Jarrett’s audience was the radical Chicago political world in Chicago in which Valerie Jarrett was soon entrenched, and in which she facilitated Barack Obama’s rise.
Obama was not Valerie Jarrett’s only project. She saw to the appointment of Van Jones as White House “green jobs” czar, noting that “we’ve been watching him…for as long as he’s been active out in Oakland.” (That activity included an anti-American rally on Sep. 12, 2001.) Her authority in the White House is almost unchallenged, and on visits to Chicago, local Democratic judges, officials and activists flock to see her and curry influence.
Jarrett attended the Supreme Court last week as it heard arguments on the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. Her presence as the president’s “eyes and ears” was noted by Breitbart.com’s Ken Klukowski. Jarrett had also led the administration’s media charge in advance of the Supreme Court arguments, arguing that Obamacare is necessary because it protects women’s health in particular, shaping the case to fit Democrats’ narrative of a Republican “war on women.”
As more moderate, pragmatic voices have abandoned the White House to attend to the actual business of governing–Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel being only one of many defectors–Jarrett has remained and her influence has grown.
Jarrett endorses the idea that Obama is still a “community organizer” in the White House, and the administration’s Alinksyite tactics of race and class division bear her fingerprints as much as his own.