On Capitol Hill, members of both parties are more and more mystified at Obama’s apparent disengagement from parts of his job. Months before he dropped the ball on ISIS, he failed to keep himself properly apprised of the problems with Obamacare’s website. Jarrett appears to exercise such extraordinary influence that in some quarters on Capitol Hill she is known as “Rasputin,” a reference to the mystical monk who held sway over Russia’s Czar Nicholas as he increasingly lost touch with reality during World War I.
No one suggests that Jarrett is solely responsible for the administration’s slow response to the crises, contradictory communication, and labored political calculation that have become its hallmarks. But many do think that she has failed to encourage the president to bring in new people with fresh ideas.
So how has she survived? Not only has she been close to the first couple for nearly a quarter-century, but she clearly makes the president feel even better about himself than he would anyway.