Valerie Jarrett to Obama in 2012: How Are You Not 'Getting 85 Percent of the Vote'?

November 9th, 2014 11:53 PM

The competition for dumbest quote I have been able to find by a leftist tonight just heated up.

Earlier this evening, I noted that Washington Post columnist David Ignatius on Thursday called President Obama "perhaps the least political president in modern U.S. history." One might think that nothing could possibly top that. Actually, I have found two which belong in the running in one long writeup at (HT to emailer "Just the Tip HQ") about Obama's chief adviser, Valerie Jarrett.

The first statement noted in New Republic Senior Editor Noam Scheiber's article came from Jarrett herself just over two years ago (in bold):

(Jarrett's detractors) complain that she has too much control over who sees the president. That she skews his decision-making with her after-hours visits. That she is an incorrigible yes-woman. That she has, in effect, become the chief architect of his very prominent and occasionally suffocating bubble.

There is an element of truth to this critique. While aboard Air Force One at the end of the 2012 campaign, Jarrett turned to Obama and told him, “Mr. President, I don’t understand how you’re not getting eighty-five percent of the vote.” The other Obama aides in the cabin looked around in disbelief before concluding that she’d been earnest.

Well, Val, one reason he wasn't getting 85 percent of the vote is that no president has achieved any such degree of unanimity or near-unanimity since George Washington was named on the ballot of every Electoral College elector in both 1789 and 1792. In the three most recent "landslide" presidential elections, Ronald Reagan won 58.8 percent of the vote in 1984, Richard Nixon won 60.7 percent in 1972, and Lyndon Johnson won 60.6 percent in 1964. James Monroe also won almost 98% percent of the popular vote for actual named candidates in 1820.

The second quote comes from Scheiber at the piece's end:

It’s no surprise that Barack Obama and Valerie Jarrett would govern as reasonable people. It’s who they are. The tragedy is that we live in surpassingly unreasonable times.

Scheiber is referring to the guy who thinks that running trillion-dollar annual deficits for four years, followed by annual $500 billion-plus shortfalls as far as the eye can see, is "reasonable."

Scheiber is also referring to the "reasonable" guy who believes that Tuesday's elections really didn't mean much, and who said, as paraphrased at the Hill, that "two-thirds of voters didn’t participate in the midterms — suggesting Republicans lack a mandate." Well then, no president, including Reagan and LBJ, let alone Obama, has ever had a mandate either.

I guess that the fact that a majority of people don't vote in off-year elections means that a President can do whatver he wants, and the heck with everyone else. Yeah, that is so "reasonable," Noam.

The left obsessed over Karl Rove's degree of influence in the Bush 43 White House, to the point of fantasizing about his indictment during the Valerie Plame non-event. But Valerie Jarrett's clearly outsized role in the Obama White House, while annoying to the left at times, presents no fundamental problems.

So that's three nuggets of nuttiness in one night. Determining a winner between the three identified is awfully tough, but I'd go with Jarrett's "85 percent" sycophancy.

Cross-posted at