GOP's Obsession With Obama's Black Staffers

Ebony's Zerlina Maxwell argues that the recent attacks on Valerie Jarrett are just the latest example of the Republican Party playing dirty with high-level African-American liberals.

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Jarrett (Paul Morigi/WireImage/Getty); Sherrod
(Ida Mae Astute/Disney ABC Television Group/Getty); Jones (Ethan Miller/Getty)

Ebony's Zerlina Maxwell argues that the recent attacks on Valerie Jarrett are just the latest example of the Republican Party playing dirty with high-level African-American liberals.

When the same thing happens twice, it's possibly a coincidence. When the same thing happens three times, it's time to talk trends. The Republican party and, by extension, their right wing allies, have a history of targeted attacks on Black Obama administration officials. First it was Van Jones, then Shirley Sherrod, both now former members of the administration. As they've recently set their sights on Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett, it's hard not to wonder if what these three administration officials have in common is the reason they've been targeted.

Last week, the GOP put out an opposition research document on Jarrett and sent it out to the press. The GOP quotes an administration official calling Jarrett, "the single most influential person in the Obama White House." What she has done during her tenure at the White House to demand such a file is not clear beyond simply doing her job. Jarrett's role is essentially to be the person communicating the President's wishes to a number of moving parts. For example, she was one of the biggest champions of the women's health care provisions that were included in Obamacare, which prevent women from being charged twice as much for contraception and reproductive health services.

The GOP has now pegged Jarrett as "Obama's consigliere," as if the Obama administration is like the mafia, quoting others saying that she is President Obama's "spine." While it may be true that she is an effective operator in the West Wing, it's not clear why that is problematic on any level. Jarrett was asked by the president to join the administration because she is a savvy navigator, something that is a desired trait in an advisor to an administration mixed of Washington insiders and outsiders, the president among them.

Read Zerlina Maxwell's entire piece at Ebony.com.

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