Kim Strassel laments that the White House is a hostile working environment for anyone of intelligence or the capability for independent thought.
“Doormat” has been the job description for pretty much every Obama employee. The president bragged in 2008 that he would assemble in his cabinet a “Team of Rivals.” What he failed to explain to any of the poor saps is that they’d be window dressing for a Team of Select Brilliant Political Types Who Already Had All the Answers: namely, himself and the Valerie Jarretts and David Axelrods of the White House.
The experienced Bill Daley came in 2011 as the chief of staff tasked with repairing Mr. Obama’s relations with the business community. He left a year later, having been stripped of many duties and trashed by the White House to the press. The sage Leon Panetta stepped up as defense secretary in 2011; he too left after 20 months of getting his head patted. The folks who look smartest now are those who fled early, while the fleeing was still relatively good—Rahm Emanuel, Austan Goolsbee, Larry Summers, Peter Orszag, Vivek Kundra.
Who would want to work for a boss who micromanages everything but takes no responsibility when things don’t work out? This president’s playbook for controversy: Deny knowledge, blame subordinates.
Obama has previously declared that he is a better speechwriter than his speechwriters, and know more about policy than his policy advisers. Such a megalomaniac has no interest in hearing, much less entertaining, opinions that do not align with his own. So much for diversity.
But then again, it often seems President Obama doesn’t really run the White House; he’s off playing golf, partying with celebrities and billionaires. Every once in a while, they put a suit on him and stand him up in front of a TelePrompter. It is very much the consensus that the real authority in the White House comes from former Slum Queen Valerie Jarrett, an “advisor to the President” (think “Wormtongue”) who has been granted her own secret service detail and is the first and last word on White House policy and hiring decisions.
It is little wonder that Obama and Jarrett have created an environment where anyone of any intelligence leaves, but those who can enthusiastically mouth the official party talking points … like Jen Psaki, Josh Earnest, and Maria Harf … thrive.