If you've never heard of Valerie Jarrett, that's because she was one of Barack Obama's many close pals whom nobody ever heard of. But look back over old photos from the campaign and you'll see her, always lurking in the background, like Waldo.
Jarrett basically ran the city of Chicago, quietly, for the past twenty years. She is one of those well-connected, enormously popular, stylish and personable people whom everybody would hate if they weren't so incredibly useful.
After the election, we heard some pretty convincing rumors that Barack Obama would like to see Ms. Jarrett appointed by then-governor Rod Blagojevich to replace Obama in the Senate. A day after the rumor broke, Obama made it clear that she would be headed to the White House as a senior advisor rather than the Senate.
Was Jarrett forced into the White House position when she would have preferred to be a senator? Well, who knows, but it would have looked pretty amazingly bad for Obama if a close personal friend had ended up in an office that most people have to earn by actually running for it.
(Of course, instead of Jarrett we got some pathologically misremembering Blagojevich appointee whose shady recollection renders him as legislatively ineffective as a common Obama crony would have been.)
So in lieu of actual power, Valerie Jarrett "got" to be a senior advisor, ho hum. And then this week we learned she has garnered another plum job: heading up the White House Council on Women and Girls.
Truly, this is better than ten or even twenty Senate seats combined. Jarrett will get to "[ask] each agency to analyze their current status and ensure that they are focused internally and externally on women." The Council will probably commission a few studies, release some reports, maybe make a few recommendations, and then dissolve.
Jarrett should just be glad that, no matter how bad her lot in life, she is at least not as powerless and reviled as Roland Burris.