It was clear from the very beginning that Governor Jay Nixon failed not only the city of Ferguson, but the state of Missouri as well. He quickly went from the invisible failure of absentee leadership to the very visible failure of requiring a rescue – from his own press conference. A rescue Malik Shabazz of the New Black Panther Party was only too happy to provide.
Since that day, things have gone from bad to almost unbelievably worse.
The night the Ferguson Grand Jury decision was released, Ferguson and parts of nearby Dellwood nearly burned to the ground. Despite declaring a “state of emergency” in the weeks leading up to that decision, and despite activating the National Guard to be prepared for any contingency, when the time came, the order did not.
Since then, Governor Nixon has failed to appear before the Missouri legislature to justify his actions and/or lack thereof. And yesterday, the story that all of us suspected finally broke: the National Guard did not stop the destruction in Ferguson because Governor Nixon ordered them to stand down.
We said it from day 1: the National Guard was prepared. If they failed to act in defense of Ferguson, it was because they were never given the go ahead order or because they were given a direct order to stand down.
So we now know that Nixon gave the order. But why? Was it retaliation against the Ferguson police chief who refused to take one “for the team” and step down? Maybe.
But there is still one question I want answered: the night that Ferguson burned, the night that Governor Nixon failed to return calls to the mayors of Ferguson and Dellwood, the night that even his own Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder resorted to reaching out to Nixon via social media, the Governor did take one phone call that we know of. And that phone call was from one Valerie Jarrett.
There are those who are asking if that means that the order to hold back the National Guard actually came from the White House. And that is certainly an avenue of questions worth pursuing. But if we take the phone call on its face (with a truckload of grains of salt), what business does Valerie Jarrett have advising Jay Nixon? She is unelected, unappointed, never vetted, never confirmed, and her expertise is questionable at best.
What she said to him, while certainly relevant, is secondary to the fact that no one is asking why he spoke to her at all, much less while his state was burning down. A retired fire chief from Missoula, Montana, would have had more practical advice for the governor in that case. Also relevant: who placed that call? Did Valerie Jarrett offer advise unbidden? Or did the Governor seek her out? And why is no one asking these questions?