Prosecutorial Discretion Justification? Twisted and Tortured Logic!

Editor’s Note – Once again Andy McCarthy has nailed the issue – this time on Obama’s upcoming justification for unilateral action on immigration. To put it simply, prosecutorial discretion as a basis for Obama’s upcoming action is tortured and twisted logic.

On at least 25 occasions, Obama has been recorded telling an audience that he is not king and cannot do what he is now about to do. But alas, even the king can be wrong, all hail the King, for only he can change his mind at a whim and so too history and declare any edict as he pleases because he so much wiser than we the people.

A most arrogant, petulant, and infantile king he may be, but his royal highness is not pleased with how his subjects acted recently and he must strike back with an edict.

In a time when video is a daily thing for everyone and smart phones capture history so easily, don’t be fooled by your lying eyes and ears. That applies to anyone in his government including his paid advisors – after all dude, those videos were so last term, so old!

No, ‘Prosecutorial Discretion’ Does Not Justify Obama’s Lawless Amnesty

Obama’s planned action perverts the meaning of the legal doctrine.

By Andrew C. McCarthy

Can the president make fraud and theft legal? How about assault? Cocaine use? Perjury?

Andrew C. McCarthy
Andrew C. McCarthy

You’d have to conclude he can — and that we have supplanted the Constitution with a monarchy — if you buy President Obama’s warped notion of prosecutorial discretion.

Tonight, Mr. Obama will unveil his executive order granting amnesty to millions of illegal aliens. According to news accounts, the criminal-law doctrine of prosecutorial discretion is the foundation of the president’s legal theory. It is the source of what he purports to be his authority to decree that these aliens have lawful status, a power our Constitution gives only to Congress.

Obama is distorting the doctrine.

As I explain in Faithless Execution (and in columns and posts here, here, and here), prosecutorial discretion is a simple and, until recently, an uncontroversial matter of resource allocation. It merely holds that violations of law are abundant but law-enforcement resources are finite; therefore, we must target the resources at the most serious crimes, which of necessity means many infractions will go unaddressed.

I’ve highlighted the last part because it is the key to understanding how Obama’s amnesty perverts the doctrine.

As is always the case with a well-constructed fraud, Obama’s amnesty has some cosmetic appeal because it derives from some indisputable claims. In the American system, the power to prosecute belongs solely to the executive. Consequently, it is for the president alone to prioritize which law violations will be prosecuted and which will go unaddressed. Congress writes the laws but it has no power to compel the president to enforce them. And immigration offenses, like other law violations, are more plentiful than the police and prosecutorial resources available to carry out investigations, arrests, trials, imprisonment, and deportations.

So President Obama is entirely correct when he says prosecutorial discretion makes it perfectly lawful for him to target finite immigration-enforcement resources against illegal aliens who commit serious crimes while overlooking millions of illegal aliens who violate “only” the immigration laws (plus identity-fraud offenses typically committed as those aliens illegally stay and work here).whenyoureking

Obama, like all presidents before him, has that power. This may be infuriating to those who would like to see the crisis of illegal immigration tackled more energetically. That, however, is a policy dispute; a president is not lawless just because one disagrees with him on policy. If that was all there were to Obama’s order, it would be unremarkable.

But it is not unremarkable. Some simple examples illustrate the difference.

There are also many more fraud offenses committed in the U.S. than there are law-enforcement resources to prosecute them. So federal prosecutors, in an exercise of prosecutorial discretion, will often establish a fraud threshold amount — say, $10,000 – beneath which they will not open a case. But that does not mean you now have a right to steal $9,999.

If police in a big city are overwhelmed with violent crime and focus their attention strictly on murder, maiming, and rape, that does not mean it is now legal to go around punching people in the nose.

There are many thousands of trials, and in them it is not unusual for witnesses to lie. It would not be possible to launch a perjury prosecution against every person who gives false testimony under oath. But this necessary exercise of prosecutorial restraint is not a license to commit perjury — an invitation to lawlessness that would destroy the judicial system.

If the Justice Department decides it is going to target its anti-drug-trafficking resources against big time heroin and cocaine distributors, that does not mean that personal possession and sale of small amounts of those drugs is now legal — or, indeed, that the government should facilitate drug possession and sales.

Prosecutorial discretion means you are not required to prosecute every crime — which, since doing so would be impossible, is just a nod to reality. It does not mean that those crimes the executive chooses not to enforce are now no longer crimes. Prosecutorial discretion has never meant that the passive act of non-enforcement has the legal effect of repealing criminal laws enacted by Congress. And it has never even been suggested, because to do so would be absurd, that under the doctrine of prosecutorial discretion, the executive decision not to prosecute certain crimes means the people who commit those crimes should be rewarded for committing them. That, of course, would only encourage others to commit them on a more massive scale.

ObamaBranchesClub

Yet that is President Obama’s theory. He is claiming not only the power to determine what immigration laws get enforced and which illegal immigrants get prosecuted — power he unquestionably has. He also claims the power to declare (a) that criminal acts are somehow lawful — that illegal aliens now have a right to be here — just because Obama has chosen not to prosecute them; and (b) that those who engage in this unprosecuted activity will be rewarded with benefits (lawful presence, relief from deportation, work permits, etc.), as if their illegal acts were valuable community service.

That is an utter perversion of prosecutorial discretion and a blatant usurpation of congressional power. Only Congress has the power to repeal criminal laws and confer positive legal benefits on non-Americans.

As you listen to the president try to explain himself tonight, you are going to hear a lot about how his plan is just a sensible exercise of prosecutorial discretion — how he is just using the sparse resources Congress gives him to enforce the law in more efficient ways. It will sound unobjectionable — even appealing.

But understand, it will be lawless and an invitation to waves of law-breaking. Obama is not merely prioritizing crimes; he is equating his non-enforcement of congressional statutes with the repeal of those statutes. He is not merely ignoring some lawbreakers so he can pursue others; he is declaring that categories of non-Americans of Obama’s unilateral choosing have a right to break our laws and be rewarded for it.

That is not prosecutorial discretion. It is a lawless betrayal of the president’s constitutional duty to execute the laws faithfully.

— Andrew C. McCarthy is a policy fellow at the National Review Institute. His latest book is Faithless Execution: Building the Political Case for Obama’s Impeachment.

Muslim Prayer Service at Nat. Cathedral – Gohmert Video

Editor’s Note – In recent days, prior to yesterday’s “inter-faith” Muslim prayer service at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., many Episcopalians and fellow Christians where righteously infuriated that their church would be used for such an event.

Many knew that this would violate their church because under Sharia law, wherever Muslims hold prayer services, the property and structure become a part of Dar al Islam (Land of Islam) forevermore.

Great Mosque of Cordoba from the Air (photo: Ulamm)
Great Mosque of Cordoba from the Air (photo: Ulamm)

Dr. Sebastian Gorka wrote an article in Breitbart about this and other pertinent and little known facts, especially about this event’s timing and Shariah Law concerning prayer services and it was read on the floor of the House of Representatives by Louis Gohmert, R-TX and is in the must see video below.

In addition to what Gorka wrote, and Ric Wells summarized below, this is a tactic used throughout Muslim history.

Two other sites, or locations (of many, many other instances) will forever be infamous for what happened to a Christian holy site – Cordoba, Spain, and Jerusalem, Israel.

Muslims consider both to still be their own, even though Islam is no longer in charge of the Iberian Peninsula.

Haram-al-Sharif
Masjid Qubbat as-Sakhrah in Jerusalem – Dome of the Rock, Al Aqsa Mosque

However, the Great Mosque of Cordoba still stands on the grounds of a Christian Church that was a Temple prior. Therefore, it is a part of Dar al Islam forever.

In Jeruslaem, atop the Temple Mount, Muslims built Al-Aqsa and the Dome of the Rock, known in Arabic as Masjid Qubbat as-Sakhrah, in the Old City.

In 691 AD, the Umayyad caliph Abd al-Malik Marwan ordered its building, 55 years after conquering Jerusalem.

Today it stands as one of Islam’s holiest sites, again atop a former Jewish and/or Christian holy site.

They proclaim it is one of the most holy sites because in Islamic writings that the Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven from a mosque in that area during the Night Journey.

But as is true with so much in Islam, this never happened and Muhammed never actually went to Jerusalem, and the timing is all wrong.

You may wish to reference the Calyph’s proclamation mentioned in the article and the video below.

To fundamental Muslims, ‘out-reach’ means come and take our stuff!

Rep Louie Gohmert – Muslim Prayers in Church Mean Much More Than First Appears

By Rick Wells – From GOPthedailydose.com

On Friday, Texas Republican Louie Gohmert read an article by Dr. Sebastian Gorka into the Congressional Record from the floor of the House. The article, which was published on Breitbart.com, was titled “Muslim Brotherhood Overruns National Cathedral in DC” and focuses on the recent “inter-faith” Muslim prayer service held there.

The article points out how it was exactly one hundred years ago that the last emperor of Islam, or Caliph, declared his last jihad against the infidels and it coincidentally marks the first time that the church will be the site of a Muslim prayer service.Washington-National-Cathedral-in-Washington--DCjpg

Symbolism is a very important component of how things are done in the Muslim world.

Gorka points out that as part of World War One, the Caliph declared the “holy war” on the infidels and that it was that declaration which led to the genocide against Christian Armenians and Assyrians.

Rep Gohmert has photos of their crucifixions as a backdrop to his comments.

While noting that the history and the timing may not be known to the Episcopal leaders who agreed to allow the prayer service to take place, Dr. Gorka says it most certainly was known to the Muslim organizers, which included The Council on American–Islamic Relations (CAIR),

The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), The Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) and the All-Dulles Area Muslims Society (ADAMS).

The supremacist nature of Muslim groups such as Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood is now part of the Congressional Record, as is the fact that they are a modern day extension of the fundamentalist belief in a destiny and a mandate to rule the world under the iron fist of Muslim Sharia law.

Their perverted mission to wipe all other faiths from the Earth is graphically exposed by the horror of the photos behind the Congressman. This is a real and very serious problem. What is happening in Syria and Iraq is a rebirth of this scourge upon our planet.

Americans need to understand that fact and Rep Gohmert did us all a service by presenting Dr. Gorka’s information in the manner in which he did.

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About the Author:

Rick Wells is a conservative writer who recognizes that our nation, our Constitution and our traditions are under a full scale assault from multiple threats. Please “Like” him on Facebook, “Follow” him on Twitter or visit www.rickwells.us

Obama Just Doesn't Get It – Immigration Standoff and Elections

Editor’s Note – “Elections have consequences,” remember that Obama quote? Apparently only when he and his team win!

Obama just doesn’t get how things must work by law and Constitution – either consciously or by complete disregard. It has always been his way or the highway where negotiation is never done in an honest manner and compromise means “I will sign it, if it meets my needs.” People keep echoing that Congress must do the work of the people, but it is Obama who is in the way.

Last Tuesday America voted – completely repudiating his policies – yet Obama traipses on as if he was the one who received the mandate. In this lame-duck period in Congress, he expects sweeping, comprehensive legislation on immigration, yet America voted otherwise and does not want the current Senate to control this ‘end times’ effort.

So what does Obama threaten – yes, Executive action. America, this is a very well-crafted article and worthy of a complete read. It spells out what Boehner and the House was always up against – a stone wall.

Boehner Warns Obama Against Unilateral Action on Immigration

The House Speaker and the President Held a Year of Confidential Talks on Immigration That Ended in Failure This Summer

By CAROL E. LEE and PETER NICHOLAS – WSJ Online

Two days after his party’s midterm romp, House Speaker John Boehner became the second leading Republican to warn that unilateral action by President Barack Obama on immigration would “poison the well” for any cooperation with the new GOP Congress.

ObamaBoehnerImmigration

Among the causes of the standoff: a year of previously unreported talks between Messrs. Boehner and Obama over a legislative compromise to fix the balky immigration system.

The two men started talking after the 2012 election, according to detailed accounts provided by several aides on both sides. The discussions ended this summer with the two sitting stony-faced around a white wrought-iron table outside the Oval Office.

“When you play with matches, you take the risk of burning yourself,” Mr. Boehner said Thursday of possible unilateral immigration action by the president. “And he’s going to burn himself if he continues to go down this path.”

Sen. Mitch McConnell , the Kentucky Republican who is expected to lead the GOP’s new Senate majority, made similar admonitions a day earlier, setting the Republican legislative and Democratic executive agendas on a collision course. The immigration issue stands to imperil what had looked like a rare opportunity offered to find common ground on trade and business taxes, among other matters.

Mr. Obama vowed in his Wednesday postelection news conference to move ahead on immigration by himself, making changes that people close to the process say could give safe harbor to perhaps a few million people in the U.S. illegally.

At the White House, the question isn’t whether Mr. Obama will act but how sweeping his order will be. He is under intense pressure from immigration activists, who worry he will back down because of the election results or to avoid antagonizing the GOP.

Obama and Boehner in 2012 - negotiation outcome, read the body language.
Obama and Boehner in 2012 – negotiation outcome? Read the body language.

The White House isn’t ruling out an immigration deal with Congress before the next president takes office in 2017, and one remains possible. But in the eyes of many of those involved in the talks, the Obama-Boehner discussions were the last, best chance to reach an agreement.

Mr. Obama promised on Wednesday to rescind any executive action if Congress later passes legislation. Few think it is likely to. In outlining their plans for the year, neither Mr. Boehner nor Mr. McConnell put immigration on the agenda. In fact, if Mr. Obama goes through with an executive action, there will likely be a congressional effort to undo it.

The president and the House speaker started talking with some optimism after Congress’s bid to overhaul immigration ran aground in summer 2013, according to aides. They agreed to some confidence-building measures and bonded over a shared passion for golf.

Few people deny the scale of the immigration challenge, with about 11 million people in the U.S. illegally. Both sides had reason to keep the process alive. Hispanic supporters of Mr. Obama were growing impatient and resented record deportations. Some Republicans were seeking a fresh approach, especially after their 2012 election defeat, in which they fared poorly with Hispanics.

In an early sign of success, Mr. Boehner asked the president not to criticize Republicans on the issue, fearing this would antagonize lawmakers skeptical of an overhaul. Mr. Obama agreed, and a series of 2013 trips to battleground states with heavy Hispanic populations that had been considered never happened.

After several phone conversations, Mr. Obama agreed in November to seek a piecemeal overhaul rather than one bill as long as together it accomplished the goals of a broader bill. Democrats wanted the latter, but breaking it up would make the idea more palatable to the GOP.

They even batted around ideas for tackling the thorniest aspect: a so-called path to citizenship, which outlines the requirements illegal immigrants must meet to secure their place in the country.

More often, however, the two men talked past one another, aides said. Mr. Boehner told colleagues that he found it hard to squeeze a word in, and that Mr. Obama didn’t grasp how Washington works. Mr. Obama and White House officials grew skeptical that Mr. Boehner could sell any deal to House Republicans.

In January, Mr. Boehner asked the president to stop signing executive orders on other issues, such as the minimum wage, while they worked on a deal. The speaker thought such a gesture might appease Republican lawmakers accusing Mr. Obama of abusing presidential power.

“We can’t move forward on this when there’s mistrust about whether or not you’re going to enforce the laws that we pass,” Mr. Boehner told the president.

Some of the president’s aides thought it was a phony excuse. They thought the speaker couldn’t come through with the needed votes.

Mr. Obama offered Mr. Boehner what he saw as a compromise: The White House would defer executive action on immigration until after the summer to give the speaker maneuvering room, a deal Mr. Obama confirmed in his Wednesday news conference.

Obama is reportedly much better at negotiating than golf, ask Michael Jordan.
Obama is reportedly much better at negotiating than golf, ask Michael Jordan.

In the discussion, however, he followed up with his go-to talking point in dealings with Mr. Boehner: “There will never be another Republican president again if you don’t get a handle on immigration reform.”

Mr. Boehner resented getting advice from a Democratic president on how to make Republicans a viable political force. What he wanted was more specific: A strategy to build a coalition in the House that could pass a bill.

It became increasingly common, aides said, for Mr. Boehner to hang up the phone with Mr. Obama and sigh: “He just doesn’t get it.” Senior White House officials, for their part, saw Mr. Boehner as a leader perpetually vulnerable to being deposed. House conservatives wanted tougher border security, not millions of new citizens.

Former Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle, who has close ties to the White House, described both men as working within tight limits. He described Mr. Boehner as having a fragile hold on his leadership position. As for the president, “he is not real comfortable in terms of building relationships with people he has substantial disagreements with.”

On a personal level, their conversations remained friendly. In September 2013, when Mr. Boehner was at the White House to discuss Syria, cameras caught the speaker gesturing with his wrist while deep in discussion with the president. Aides later explained Mr. Boehner had strained a tendon and couldn’t hit a golf ball as hard as he wanted.

A White House social invitation offered to Boehner—a Professional Golfers’ Association event in the East Room this June—was a turning point.

The speaker requested a meeting with the president before the event. That got the White House’s attention. Previously, it was Mr. Obama who initiated contact.

Seated around a table outside the Oval Office, Mr. Boehner told Mr. Obama that the window for passing legislation was as narrow as it gets. His caucus was rattled by a child-refugee crisis on the Mexico border and the primary defeat of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor , in which immigration played a part.

During the 15-minute conversation, Mr. Boehner also informed Mr. Obama the House planned to file a lawsuit over his use of executive authority.

“Now you’re suing me?” Mr. Obama said to the speaker.

The following day Mr. Boehner announced his lawsuit. A week later, Mr. Obama publicly declared any change to the immigration system dead for the year. He blamed Mr. Boehner.

—Laura Meckler contributed to this article.

'Call it the stupidity of America' – Gruber Video on ObamaCare

Editor’s Note – Most transparent administration ever…? ‘Fraud in the inducement‘ – Obama Care! The chief architect of this disaster now reveals that they relied on America to be “stupid’ and admitted it. We have reported and written about this crime on America so often, it is hard to choose which words to introduce this new revelation without writing a book.

MUST SEE VIDEO BELOW

Many in America knew that Obama Care was bad for us all, and we knew that there were too many pages to digest it, and we knew it was being shoved down our throats by a heavily Democrat Party controlled Senate, House, and White House, and we knew it was fraud and unconstitutional. So did the chief architect.

Chief architect of Obama Care, Jonathan Gruber knew America was 'stupid' and knew they could hide things from you through lack of transparency. Watch the video below.
Chief architect of Obama Care, Jonathan Gruber knew America was ‘stupid’ and knew they could hide things from you through lack of transparency. Watch the video below.

They purposefully twisted and manipulated things so that the CBO could not score the mandates as taxes, yet the SCOTUS tells us the penalties were taxes. This MIT economist, Jonathan Gruber, knew America was “stupid,” wasn’t paying close attention and you were punked, and it is your fault America for allowing this abomination called Obama Care to be foisted upon us all.

“Call it the stupidity of America…” – Gruber

Does the truth even matter anymore? Credibility in the White House and the DNC has just been reduced to an all time low. America, you voted for Obama twice.

The old saying, ‘once bitten, twice shy’ really did not matter. Anyone who voted for this situation should be absolutely embarrassed about how duped they were.

We’d like to say this is likely the biggest ‘told you so’ moment ever, but we cannot revel in being correct because the damage that has been done may never be fully recovered and we would be called racists.

We certainly hope that SCOTUS makes the correct ruling in the newest case before them on ‘subsidies’ to gut this farce perpetrated on America. We are pleased with the results of the midterms because it appears America woke up and is not as ‘stupid’ as Gruber and the left think we all are.

Explain this again Ms Pelosi – “We have to pass it to see what’s in it…” But it was not a tax – remember that winner?

Obamacare Architect: “Lack of Transparency” Helped Law Pass

From Judicial Watch

The esteemed college professor who served as one of Obamacare’s key architects has admitted that a “lack of transparency” helped the administration pass the disastrous healthcare law, which is facing a number of legal challenges.

It’s a scandalous confession for an administration that has repeatedly vowed to be the most transparent in history. The information comes straight from Jonathan Gruber, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) economist who served as a technical consultant to the Obama administration during the Affordable Care Act’s (Obamacare) design.

Gruber was recorded during a panel and the video recently surfaced and has been making the rounds on the internet.

“This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure CBO did not score the mandate as taxes,” Gruber says. “If CBO scored the mandate as taxes, the bill dies. Okay, so it’s written to do that.  In terms of risk rated subsidies, if you had a law which said that healthy people are going to pay in – you made explicit healthy people pay in and sick people get money, it would not have passed… Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really really critical for the thing to pass…”

Gruber also makes clear that the individual mandate, upheld by the Supreme Court only because it’s considered a tax, was not actually a tax in the original law because it never would have passed. The Obamacare designer is essentially saying that the administration intentionally deceived the public to push its hostile takeover of the nation’s healthcare system.

Pelosi What's in the bill“Look, I wish Mark was right that we could make it all transparent, but I’d rather have this law than not,” Gruber says in the recorded presentation.

The Gruber tape marks the latest of many scandals involving Obamacare. Judicial Watch has been a frontrunner in exposing the healthcare law’s multiple boondoggles and has sued the administration on behalf of a South Florida orthodontist over the unlawful, one-year delay of the employer mandate.

The mandate, which subjects certain large employers to tax penalties if they don’t offer “affordable, minimum essential” health insurance coverage to their employees, was postponed without the approval of Congress.

It marked one of more than a dozen times that the administration unilaterally rewrote the healthcare law by executive fiat.

JW also sued the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to obtain records about controversial Obamacare navigators and their qualifications and background checks.

Earlier this year JW obtained records from HHS illustrating the scope of the Obamacare rollout disaster, including the fact that on its first full day of operation the government site—Healthcare.gov—received only one enrollment. On the second day of Healthcare.gov operation, 48% of registrations failed, according to the records obtained by JW as a result of a lawsuit.

Listen and watch here:

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Valerie Jarrett – Time for the "Shadow COS" to go? Never!

Editor’s Note – Is it time to fire someone? Valerie Jarrett? It’ll never happen, but for the good of America, she never should have been in such a position of influence in the first place. No, especially since she had so little experience and ability other than being Michelle’s best buddy and confidant, and therefore Barack’s protector extraordinaire.

When Bill Clinton was running for the White House in 1992, we were told that we were getting a two-for-one deal, himself and his wife Hillary. In 2008, no one told us that voting for Barack Obama was a three-for-one deal. Himself, his wife Michelle, and the “shadow COS” Valerie Jarrett. (COS – Chief of Staff)

In a surprisingly candid and thorough article posted at Politico, Carol Felsenthal takes a very brave and comprehensive look at Valerie Jarrett, she of the “lofty titles,” the “kibitzer-in-chief” to Obama, “Night Stalker,” “Eric’s appeals court,” and the reputation for “failing upwards.”

Felsenthal does such a good job describing what many of us have been known for a long time, that all we should really say is please read the whole article. It is truly comprehensive and eye-opening way to understand Obama himself, and further points to the one thing he does well, fail.

We just hope Carol Felsenthal has someone trustworthy who will dare to start her car for her every morning.

Carol Felsenthal is author of Power, Privilege & the Post: The Katharine Graham Story. She is also a contributing writer to Chicago and is the magazine’s political blogger.

Fire Valerie Jarrett – If Obama really wants to shake things up, his closest adviser should be the first to go.

By CAROL FELSENTHAL – Politico

Almost since the start of Barack Obama’s presidency, people who have actual, real duties in the West Wing of the White House—the working, executive part of the government, that is—have been urging him to do something about Valerie Jarrett. Push her into the East Wing, where she can hang out with Michelle Obama and the White House social secretary, or give her an ambassadorship—or something—but for Pete’s sake get her out of the way of the hard work of governing that needs to be done.

Now it’s really time to do it.Untitled

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.

What happened on Tuesday almost couldn’t be worse for Obama personally—not just the Senate’s going Republican but all those governorships lost, including Illinois Governor Pat Quinn’s defeat in Obama’s adopted home state, even after the president and first lady came to Illinois to campaign for him. The morning after the elections, Democrats and their top staffers were hopping mad, blaming Obama and, by extension, his staff for the defeat.

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.

Jarrett is more than a mere senior staffer to this president, and of course she is not going to be fired outright. Not ever. If her role in this administration reflected reality, Jarrett would be called “First Big Sister” to both Michelle and Barack. And who would fire the kind of big sister who “really dedicated her entire life to the Obamas,” as New York Times reporter Jodi Kantor told me when I interviewed her about her intimate look at the first family, The Obamas? “She has thrown her entire life into their cause, and she’s made it very clear that she would happily run in front of a speeding truck for them.”

Very moving. But the fact is, on balance it appears that Jarrett has been more an obstructer than a facilitator over the past six years when it comes to governing, and it’s probably long past time for the president to move her gently into another role.

For starters, even today, nobody knows precisely what Jarrett does in the White House. What exactly do her titles—senior advisor to the president, assistant to the president in charge of the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, the Office of Public Engagement, the White House Council on Women and Girls—mean? More to the point, Jarrett has often used the aura of authority that these titles give her to stand in the way of talented White House staffers and a smoother-running administration, according to several books that have been written about the Obama presidency, among them Chuck Todd’s forthcoming The Stranger.

Take Obama’s first-term chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, who clashed early and often with Jarrett and felt “undermined” by her, as political reporter Jonathan Alter, the author of two in-depth books on the Obama administration, told me in 2013. Emanuel recognized early on that Jarrett was trouble and worried that she could become what former Newsweekcorrespondent Daniel Klaidman, in his book Kill or Capture: The War on Terror and the Soul of the Obama Presidency, called a “shadow COS.” Emanuel tried to sideline Jarrett by pressing for her to be appointed to Obama’s old U.S. Senate seat, according to Alter: “He wasn’t sure that he wanted a competing power base that was closer to the president and first lady than he was.” But Michelle Obama wanted Jarrett in the White House, so Emanuel’s plan fizzled. He left in the fall of 2010 to run for mayor of Chicago.

Former White House spokesman Robert Gibbs was said to be another casualty of heated friction with Jarrett. In his new book, NBC’s Todd describes conflicts between Jarrett and Emanuel and Gibbs, and he adds senior adviser David Axelrod and Obama campaign manager and senior adviser David Plouffe to the list of those who had “run-ins” with Jarrett. All of them failed to persuade the president to nudge Jarrett out of the White House, Todd writes, because Jarrett held a “trump card” that the others did not—her close relationship with the first lady. Todd writes that “one advisor remembers the president sympathizing with a particular critique of Jarrett, but he made it clear that it was important that she be in the room, because it was important to Michelle that Valerie be in the room.”

West Wing staffers in general believed that Jarrett didn’t handle power well. Mark Halperin and John Heilemann report in their book Double Down that West Wing staffers “were scared to death” of her. Fear can be productive if the person wielding the power is accomplishing great things, but Jarrett was not.

FF20120108-Jodi-Kantor-Obamas-Part-2Her undefined role combined with what by all accounts has been almost unlimited proximity to the Obamas has proved a bad mix. She seems to isolate the president from people who might help him or teach him something—and if there’s one thing that has become clear about Obama, it’s that he doesn’t get to hear enough outside voices. (According to Alter, she once declared that the Obamas wouldn’t be making “new friends” in Washington.)

Jarrett micromanages guest lists for White House events big and small, hangs out in the private quarters and often joins the Obamas for dinner, says little in meetings, but walks out whispering in the president’s ear and leaving nervous staffers in her wake, according to Alter.

She vacations with the first family in Hawaii and Martha’s Vineyard. She is often the last one they speak to at night, and according to Alter, White House staffers took to calling her the “Night Stalker.”

Last month, none other than Mitt Romney was quoted in a New York Times Magazine article reflecting on the well-established insularity of the Obama White House: “I won’t mention who it was, but I met with one of the nation’s top Republican leaders, and he said, ‘You know, the strange thing is that the president seems to answer to only two people—Valerie Jarrett and Michelle Obama.’”

Jarrett wields real power on personnel matters, but her choices often seem based on whom she particularly likes rather than who might be best suited for the job. She reportedly pushed the president to give a personal favorite, Eric Holder, the attorney general’s job, then propped Holder up in the face of harsh (and, to the president, very damaging) criticism over controversies ranging from Holder’s “nation of cowards” speech, which accused Americans of racism, to the “Fast and Furious” quasi-scandal involving questionable sting operations run by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. (In doing so she acquired another nickname—“Eric’s appeals court.”) When Holder delivered his resignation speech earlier this year, he thanked the president, the vice president, his family and Valerie Jarrett.

She is also supposed to be the president’s liaison to business, which was “an effort that many in the West Wing believe she failed at,” writes Todd. “And yet they didn’t get why she didn’t pay a price.” Jarrett walked into the White House with some impressive looking credentials: CEO of the Habitat Company, chairman of the board of the Chicago Stock Exchange, director of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

But Chicago business people who knew Jarrett have told me over the years that she was not respected for her business skills. In January 2011, when Bill Daley, the banker and former commerce secretary who had top credentials in both politics and business, was brought in to replace Emanuel as chief of staff and to improve Obama’s relations with business, Jarrett was not happy and “frequently shared her unflattering assessments with Obama,” Politico’s Glenn Thrush wrote in an ebook about the 2012 campaign. Daley lasted barely a year.

barack_obama_and_valerie_jarrett_in_the_west_wing_corridor

Many Wall Streeters, meanwhile, considered her “a political hack, ineffectual and entitled,” Halperin and Heilemann write. And economists who talk to her about policy are sometimes astonished at the things that come out of her mouth, reflecting very little understanding of economic solutions. Although she has no experience in foreign policy either, she regularly travels abroad with the president. “She would frequently take one of the half-dozen seats alongside the president in bilateral meetings,” Alter wrote, “which meant one less seat for a policy expert.”

It’s not that she hasn’t accomplished anything. Jarrett, who holds a law degree from the University of Michigan, has public service in her genes and has used the White House bully pulpit to promote the work of the White House Council on Women and Girls, focusing attention on such issues as equal pay for equal work, family leave and affordable child care. Jarrett’s council also co-sponsors the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault, charged with “provid[ing] institutions with additional tools to respond to and address [campus] rape and sexual assault.”

But along the way, no White House staffer has garnered more distracting and embarrassing press than Jarrett. Most of the stories, in one way or another, portray her as entitled and clueless. There’s the New York Times profile in which she flags a four-star general to order a drink. Then there’s the “Magic of Valerie” memo that New York Times reporter Mark Leibovich wrote about in his book This Town—said to be intended to counter the negative press on her, but which instead heaped further humiliation on her head with a ham-handed deputy White House press secretary concocting a talking-points list of 33 of Valerie’s unsung virtues.

My favorite was the following: “Valerie is someone here who other people inside the building know they can trust. (need examples).” And, of course, there’s her round-the-clock Secret Service protection. The Chicago Sun Times gossip columnist Mike Sneed wrote last month that Jarrett “has been criticized for personal use of her Secret Service security detail” and is thought a “double diva for using her bodyguards as personal valets.” In too many instances, she seems to be more interested in the trappings of her office (and Obama’s) than in the decisions of the office. This fall, she had an “extended cameo” on CBS’s “The Good Wife,” playing herself and making a cold call to the main character, Alicia Florrick, urging her to run for state’s attorney in Chicago.

Jarrett’s questionable career inside the White House somehow symbolizes the opportunity cost of the Obama presidency—a wasted chance to make change. From foreign trips to White House policy meetings, she is occupying a critical space that ought to belong to an operator focused on governing and government, someone experienced in the levers of the bureaucracy and playing on the world stage. Now in his sixth year, humbled by the midterms, the president badly needs the best people around him, people who can provide real advice and build a lasting legacy. Instead, he’s got the palace guard watching his back—and judging from Obama’s poll numbers, they haven’t done it well.

Rather than boosting the president, lifting him above the clouds and helping him be—well—presidential, Jarrett appears to drag him down into the weeds. As Thrush wrote in his ebook, staff hated her because she filled his head with negative extraneous stories. Finally, the campaign realized they needed to dispatch Jarrett to her own campaign events to calm him down.

So if Obama is considering a shakeup, why not finally add Jarrett—the lady of the lofty titles, enormous influence on her boss and few actual accomplishments that have helped the shaker-in-chief—to the mix? Well, we know it’s not going to be a traditional firing, and it’s probably too late to give her an ambassadorship. But if Jarrett’s not going anywhere, how to safely occupy her—and keep her out of the way—until she turns off the lights in the White House on January 20, 2017?

I did email Jarrett’s spokeswoman, Rachel Racusen, for some thoughts on this question, as well as any comments she might have on all the criticism of her boss. She didn’t have much to say about that on the record. But I do have an idea of my own.

There’s a role that perhaps Valerie Jarrett was born to fill: The Obama librarian. Having written a book about Bill Clinton’s post-White House years, I followed Clinton’s work on his library—his legacy—during his final two Monica Lewinsky-scarred years in the White House. The more he felt marginalized—as Obama was during the midterms and increasingly will be in the run-up to the 2016 presidential race—the more Clinton clung to his library plans. His library became the focus of his life, and a kind of comfort as he braved the humiliation of impeachment and the exposure of his sad sex life with an intern.

So, the library. People in Chicago believe Valerie means to run it, whether it’s in Chicago—probably at the University of Chicago—in New York at Columbia University, one of Obama’s alma maters, or in Hawaii. (I’ve been told, never for attribution, that Valerie favors Columbia because, she has told the Obamas, it will be so much fun for them all to live in New York.) The president could put her in charge, but alas, given her track record of failing upward, that might not help his endangered legacy either.