White House Insider: "Something Was Not Right with This President"
This is the second installment of our most recent interview with our Washington D.C. Insider.
What is he? (Obama)
President Obama is…well now I guess that’s just it, isn’t it? We don’t know. He is so incompetent…so wrapped up in this image that was created around him, and now so over his head…Obama is dangerous. Dangerous to America. Dangerous to the world. Dangerous to our futures. He is not running this show. Maybe that’s for the better – who knows? Maybe he is so incapable that if he really was in charge it might be even worse?
I tell you what – if you don’t mind my suggestion here. Let me just talk for a bit. Let me just let some things out. I might ramble a bit, but if you’re ok with that – we can clean it up later…just let me talk. All due respect for your wanting to ask certain questions, but…at this point I want to say some things in my own way if you don’t mind. You ok with that?
(Long pause – then laughs) Ah…looks like I don’t quite know how to start. My own idea and I haven’t a clue where to begin.
Maybe tell me when you first started to realize something was wrong with Obama. When you realized electing him was a mistake. We covered some of that already before, but now you can just talk about it. I won’t interrupt – you just say what you want to say and go from there.
(Hands cover face, followed by a deep sigh) Yeah…I guess that would work. Remember when I told you about the First Lady’s racist comment? The redneck thing? Yeah – you do. Ok…I thought about quitting the campaign then. That episode really…it really – I was pissed over it. But then I ignored it. Buried it away. Now why did I do that? What she said, her attitude, was so disrespectful to that man, to his family – why did I just decide to ignore it and move on with the campaign? I’ve asked myself that many times. I was weak. I was…I wanted so bad to be a part of a winning campaign again. And I had already been told I would have a chance to get back inside the White House – if just a little bit. I hadn’t done that for some time and I missed it. I know some of your readers, maybe even you do too…think of me as just another Democrat. Look, I’m proud to say I’m a Democrat. We have some wonderful, brilliant people in the party. And I love this country… sorry if that sounds like a stupid cliché. And yeah, I love politics. I love the action, the give and take, and I guess the power. I love that too. Being near that kind of power. So I let it go. What the First Lady said – I let it go. I stayed on because I wanted back in. I sold out. I wanted to be a part of something really big, and in 2008, nothing was bigger than the Obama campaign. Nothing.
Well, that doesn’t really have anything to do with my realizing Obama was off – that he wasn’t what we thought he was. But it does give a reference point for my frame of mind. I stayed on, but that situation – the racism, the disrespect I saw by the First Lady, it stayed with me, so that when I did get a chance to go back to the White House during the transitioning, maybe my eyes were a bit more open to the truth than some others around me. I had already been disappointed you see. Some doubt had already started to grow about these people.
(Pauses) …So, jump ahead a bit. I had been in and out of the White House a few times by then, it was very busy. A ton of people coming and going as is always the case during the transition. That is when I started to realize that it didn’t feel like the “Obama White House”. There was no real…not sure how to really explain this – but there was no real sense of Obama. Here was this guy who I saw give these incredible speeches. He looked huge on that stage. He looked invincible. He looked like a president. While in the White House, I never saw him or hardly heard of him for weeks. He was a ghost. Anything needed to be cleared, you spoke with people you never heard of before. Who were these people? Even early on in 2009 Rahm’s position as Chief of Staff was being challenged by Jarrett, with Axelrod trying to keep the peace between the two. She didn’t trust Rahm immediately – he was of the Clintons, and that was never to be trusted – but keep him close right? Keep your enemies closer right? Very Machiavellian – that was Jarrett’s White House even as early as then. Keep your head down and don’t make a fuss. And watch your back. Everyone was uncertain. The president was absent. He literally was not there. Where was he? Nobody knew – or nobody was saying. The big decisions – those all went through Jarrett. All of them. The First Lady was more visible around the West Wing than the newly elected President of the United States. It was…odd.
And then, finally, I was to be part of a meeting that Obama was going to attend. We were told he would be stopping by. I never spoke directly about this to you before – or if I did, we must have edited it out. I don’t recall now. But finally I was going to be in the room with this man I had helped to elect. The president arrived about 20 minutes late. I say that only as a matter of truth to counter the media’s spin that Obama runs a very tight ship – that he is always on time. At least that is what they were spinning back then. Not so much anymore. But back then that was how Obama was being presented by the media to the America people – a guy who was in total control. Hell, based on what I had seen of him giving those speeches, I fully expected to see that kind of person – that kind of president.
That’s not what I got.
So he showed up late, like I said. He looked good – just like the campaign. He sat down and said, “Welcome everybody!” He turned to a person to his right who I did not know at the time, a younger man, and the president smiled and nodded to him. Then he looked over at Valerie Jarrett, who sat in a chair behind the president – she was sitting against the wall – watching. I didn’t even realize she was in the room until the president looked over at her. There was prolonged silence. The president folded his hands on the desk and smiled again. Then he unfolded his hands and leaned back in his chair. More silence. He looked over again at the man to his right who then gave the president an agenda for the meeting. Now I know enough about how these things work to know that the president must have been given that agenda long before he stepped into the room. Every minute of a president’s day is meticulously mapped out beforehand. So this thing, which might seem like a minor detail to some, set off my alarms. What was going on here? Why was the president being handed an agenda that he must have already been given earlier?
So Obama looks down at the paper and then looks back up at all of us. He smiles again and then gives off this nervous little laugh. Now the country is pretty familiar with that laugh these days, but it was the first time I had heard it, and it didn’t do anything to alleviate just how odd this meeting was playing out. The president recognized someone else at the table and asked for them to begin with item two on the agenda. Do you want to know what item one on the agenda was? It read: Greetings and introductions by President of the United States. Apparently that item one…well, apparently the president thought he had just handled that part and so it was on to item two. Of course the gentleman he asked to start on item two had no idea what he was to say, and the man to the president’s right stepped in and proceeded to handle that item himself. The president appeared completely unaware of his mistake, or maybe he just didn’t care. The mood in the room had gone from excitement at getting to see the president to one of being very uncomfortable. If President Obama was unable to handle a simple meeting among secondary staff, how in the hell was he going to be able to run the damn country?
Eventually the meeting did get underway with participation from a number of us in that room, but during that time, which was no more than say, fifteen minutes, the president said almost nothing. He would smile, he would nod, and he would turn to Jarrett to confirm if something that was said was correct, or agreeable. The only time the president showed any sign of life was when someone made a reference to basketball. Then he became far more animated – but that only lasted for a brief moment and he returned to his silent nodding and smiling. Even though the meeting lasted those 15 minutes at the most, it felt much longer simply because it was so –expletive- uncomfortable. After another episode of silence, Jarrett cleared her throat and declared to us that the president was needed elsewhere. As soon as she said that, Obama shot up from his seat and gave that same weird smile of his that he had on when he first came in, a brief “thanks for the talk”, and then headed out the door with Jarrett close behind. I was looking around the table and saw some people acting as if the president’s behavior was completely normal, but a few others were, like me, clearly unsettled by what we had just seen. Something was not right with this president.
That is when I started to ask questions. As quietly as possible, with those few I already knew, and later a few others I grew to know later, I asked questions about what was going on with President Obama, and the answers I got back were…troubling. That is when I realized we had possibly made a terrible-terrible mistake in electing this man. That’s also when I learned that the infighting among the staff was so terribly bad, the president’s smoking – his health, was an ongoing concern, and that his interest in the actual job of being president was non-existent and had largely been given over to Valerie Jarrett, though at the time there was a still a struggle for power between her and Rahm.
(Pause) …This might not fit entirely with our timeline here, maybe I’m jumping off track a bit, but I want to say something about Rahm Emanuel if that is ok with you. Set the record straight – or at least clarify how your readers view Rahm. That ok with you?
Sure – like we agreed, you just speak your mind now. Say what you want.
Ok – thanks. Good-good. Well, Rahm…Rahm Emanuel is a classic DC operative at the highest level. A proven commodity. The guy is tough, smart, and very-very good at working the system. And I say that with absolute respect. Now you gotta understand something here – he was Chief of Staff at the Obama White House. Now that is a very powerful position, right? Serious-serious power. The kind of power Rahm enjoys having. That’s not saying anything derogatory against him – he enjoys power, and there are few positions in this country more powerful than the one he held at the Obama White House. Problem is, that position had all but been cut off at the knees by Jarrett. Rahm’s job was reduced almost entirely to acting as a liaison between the White House and Congress. He quickly became Jarrett’s messenger between Pelosi, Reid, and Jarrett. Axelrod was in the mix too, but he was secondary. He was already preparing an exit for himself by that time – most people don’t know that, but that’s what he was doing. He had come to the realization that Obama was a great candidate but a lousy leader.
Anyways, I guess what I’m getting at here is that what led Rahm to pursue politics back in Chicago had nothing to do with helping Obama out. Nothing. It had everything to do with Rahm wanting out of the Obama administration, and the administration doing everything it could to see him gone. Jarrett was pushing him out, as was the First Lady, and ultimately, Rahm let them do it. He no longer wanted to fight for a White House he saw as a growing internal disaster. “These people are –expletive- clueless.”
So now Rahm has the keys to Chicago, keys that can unlock a lot of things very…uncomfortable to Obama, Jarrett, Michelle – the whole lot of them. Rahm is no friend to the Obama White House. I want to make that very-very clear to you. The president all but mocked Emanuel as he left. The Chicago unions fought against Rahm. A lawyer close to the Obama machine fought against Rahm. I am certain Organizing for America monies were spent against Rahm in those fights. The Obama people were and still are, crawling all over Chicago. They did not want Rahm Emanuel as Mayor of Chicago. No way in hell did they want that – but that’s what happened now isn’t it?
Rahm Emanuel didn’t go back to Chicago to help protect Barack Obama. Rahm Emanuel went back to Chicago to have the power to help destroy the whole myth of Barack Obama – or even more importantly, to destroy Valerie Jarrett and her entire collection of kooks that is the Obama White House. The bodies buried in Chicago…it’s time for somebody to start digging them up don’t you think? Who better to do that than Rahm Emanuel…
PART THREE COMING SOON.
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