Joe Biden has selected Neera Tanden to head the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). She is the president of the Center for American Progress (CAP), a leftist think tank.
Her selection was immediately touted by the mainstream media because she will be the first “woman of color” to lead the OMB. Tanden’s parents came from India.
Thus, although she is deemed “of color” for purposes of having her nomination lauded by the left-liberals, Tanden is actually a member of group that is disfavored by left-liberals when it comes, for example, to admission to college. To Tanden’s credit, she was admitted to Yale Law School despite her ethnicity.
Tanden is the first nominee to come under serious public fire from Republican Senators. If the GOP retains control of the Senate, Rob Portman will head the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, one of two committees that will hold hearings on Tanden’s nomination. Lindsey Graham will head the other.
Portman, who is hardly a flame thrower, says he hopes Biden will decide not to go through with this nomination. He explained:
The concern I have is both judgment, based on the tweets that I’ve been shown, just in the last 24 hours. . .and it’s the partisan nature. Of all the jobs, that’s one where I think you would need to be careful not to have someone who’s overtly partisan.
As for Graham, he chuckled when asked about the Tanden selection. Then he commented: “She had a lot to say. It will be a long hearing. Uphill.”
The Washington Post’s article on Republican opposition does not present the tweets in question, an interesting omission. The tweets can no longer be found in Tanden’s account. She has taken them down.
One tweet, from July 2019, said:
Can people on here please focus their ire on McConnell and the GOP senators who are Up This Cycle who enable him: Cory Gardner, Collins, Ernst, Cornyn, Perdue, Tillis And many more.
If Perdue wins next month’s runoff election, all of these Senators except Gardner will vote on Tanden’s nomination. And Collins’ vote will probably be crucial.
In another tweet, Tanden called Majority Leader McConnell “Moscow Mitch.”
Tanden’s hyper-partisan tweets might be what prevents her confirmation, but they are far from the only grounds for reservation. Folks at the Center for American Progress have harshly criticized her management style. A former senior employee says she used the company as “an engine for her ambition” at her colleagues’ expense.
That’s probably par for the course among Washington insiders. However, some of the specifics of her tenure are less common, one hopes.
Her mishandling of a sexual harassment complaint came under fire, causing colleagues to describe Tanden as “impossible to trust.”
In addition, Tanden was accused by an eyewitness of punching a top editor at ThinkProgress after he asked Hillary Clinton about the war in Iraq during a meeting at CAP. Tanden denied punching the editor. “It was push,” she said.
Ali Gharib, another former ThinkProgress journalist, tweeted yesterday that Tanden lacks “leadership and moral courage.”
Wikilinks revealed more about her “leadership and moral courage” (or lack thereof) after it hacked the emails of John Podesta, the founder of CAP and longtime confidant of Tanden. The emails showed that, in the words of The New Republic, Tanden has “consistently prioritized politics over policy, and frozen out dissenters who might otherwise have ideas of value to contribute to the Democratic agenda.”
In one email, she wrote:
I would do whatever Hillary needs always. I owe her a lot. And I’m a loyal soldier.
In her capacity as a loyal soldier for Hillary, Tanden incurred the wrath of Bernie Sanders. I wrote about this here and here.
Jim Geraghty collects some of Tanden’s “greatest hits” here.
My view is that, within limits, a president has the right to be served by the top level officials of his choice. Tanden will test these limits. Rightly or wrongly, her emails attacking GOP Senators will probably test them the most.