Some People Don't See Neera Tanden As A "Lesser" Evil At All. But Is She Really THAT Bad?

Jake Sherman and Anna Palmer started the day at Politico this morning by noting that though it's too early to declare Neera Tanden's nomination to head the OMB dead, "but man, is she taking a lot of incoming. Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), said Tanden is 'radioactive,' and said it was a 'misstep' by the Biden team to nominate her. Sen. John Thune (R-SD)-- the No. 2 Senate Republican-- said she’s been very 'partisan' in her assessment of Republican senators, who will now have to vote for her. 'I’m not, you know, disqualifying anybody, but I do think that it gets a lot harder obviously if they send folks from their, you know, progressive left that are kind of out of the mainstream. And, but, you know, if and when the time comes, we’ll obviously hopefully be able to consult with them and then, if they send people here that are qualified, give them a fair process.'" Lindsey Graham hinted he may not even allow a committee vote.

One of Tanden's problems is that the progressive left-- if anything-- hates her far more than Republicans do. I don't even know if Glenn Greenwald can be considered left at all any longer but he wrote yesterday that it shouldn't be surprising that Tanden's nomination triggered a wide range of mockery, indignation and disgust from both the left and the right. "Though a thoroughly mediocre and ordinary D.C. swamp creature from the perspective of both ideology and competence, Tanden’s uniquely unhinged, venomous, corrupt and pathologically dishonest conduct as a Clinton Family and DNC apparatchik and President of the corporatist-and-despot-funded Center for American Progress (CAP) has earned her a list of enemies far longer and more impressive than her accomplishments.

Former Sanders campaign aide David Sirota hypothesized that “it is not a coincidence that they are putting Neera Tanden-- the single biggest, most aggressive Bernie Sanders critic in the United States of America-- specifically at OMB while Sanders is Senate Budget Committee ranking/chair.” Sirota’s statement suggests Biden’s nomination of Tanden was intended as yet more humiliation doled out to the Democratic-loyal Sanders left by cucking the Vermont Senator even further by forcing him to shepherd the confirmation of one of his most vicious and amoral attackers (who Sanders himself in 2019 vehemently denounced). But Sirota’s point also raises the prospect that Tanden’s nomination could even encounter trouble from that side of the aisle as well (given Sanders’ compliant and disciplined conduct over the last six months, it’s more likely we will see him roll out a literal red carpet for Tanden to walk on, gently toss red roses on it before she passes, and then serve her a glass of Chardonnay rather than meaningfully obstruct her confirmation).
The list of sociopathic and even monstrous acts from Tanden is too long to list comprehensively. She punched one of her own employees, a reporter for CAP’s now-abolished blog ThinkProgress, after he had the temerity to ask Hillary Clinton in 2008 about her support for the Iraq War (Tanden claimed she “merely” had “pushed,” not punched, her undeferential reporter). In 2011, as the Obama administration was participating in the NATO bombing of Libya, Tanden suggested in internal CAP discussions that the U.S. steal Libya’s oil as a way of reducing the U.S. deficit (a story I was able to report only because Tanden had abused and alienated so many of her employees that they worked together to leak her incriminating emails to me).

Greenwald, who considers her bevior after Hillary's loss to Trump as "unhinged and toxic" and pointed out that "Tanden owes her entire career to the patronage of Hillary Clinton. After that election she tried doing exactly what Trump is doing now to undermine democracy and persuade Democrats to delegitimize Trump's presidency. He concluded that "If Joe Biden succeeds in empowering someone like Neera Tanden without extreme opposition from supposedly adversarial journalists, not only Democrats but also these media outlets will lose whatever lingering credibility they have to denounce conspiracy theories and to defend the legitimacy of U.S. elections. And they will deserve that fate. You can’t run around expecting people will take you seriously when you warn of the dangers of toxic, moronic conspiracy theories when you yourself embrace, elevate and promote the most prolific and reckless purveyors of them."

Matt Taibbi is no bigger a Tanden fan than Greenwald and noted on his blog this morning that her appointment "is an impressively petty end zone dance by Democrats celebrating the crushing of their left flank... Tanden," he wrote, "is famous for two things: having a puddle of DNC talking points in place of a cerebrum, and despising Bernie Sanders. She was #Resistance’s most visible anti-Sanders foil, spending awe-inspiring amounts of time on Twitter bludgeoning Sanders and his supporters as a deviant mob of Russian tools and covert "horseshoe theory" Trump-lovers. She has, to put it gently, an ardent social media following. Every prominent media figure with even a vague connection to Sanders learned in recent years to expect mud-drenched pushback from waves of “Neera trolls” after any public comment crossing DNC narratives. No name in blue politics is more associated with seething opposition to Sanders than Tanden. Biden is making this person Director of the Office of Management and Budget. Sanders is the ranking member (and, perhaps, future chair) of the Senate Budget Committee. Every time Bernie even thinks about doing Committee business, he’ll be looking up at Neera Tanden. For a party whose normal idea of humor is ten thousand consecutive jokes about Trump being gay with Putin, that’s quite a creative 'fuck you.'"

How bad is it? Appointments like Janet Yellen, John Kerry and, yes, even Tanden are being lauded as picks likely to be “welcomed by progressives.” The rest of Biden’s team feels like absolute continuity with the last three decades of Wall Street-friendly Democratic politics, with the appointment of Black Rock veteran Brian Deese to serve as chief economic adviser being just one example.
The difference between conventional Democrats and the Sanders movement is that Democrats never allowed themselves to view Sanders and his followers as anything but threats that needed squashing. They were never tempted, even for a moment, to take the idea of a Sanders presidency seriously.
Sanders was loyal in the end to the party that made a mission of destroying him, and now gets Neera Tanden up the keister as the first installment in what is sure to be a long program of repayment for the sin of running without permission. Welcome to the eternal law of American politics, where no crime is punished more harshly than being a good loser.

Even Holly Otterstein at Politico noted that the Tanden appointment is "the equivalent of rubbing salt in the wound" for progressives who held their noses and voted for Biden. [Note: that was a bridge too far for me and I voted for the Peace and Freedom candidate, whoever that was.] "To former Sanders staffers and allies, Tanden is one of the Democratic elites who helped sink his 2016 campaign behind the scenes, not to mention a union-buster, a threat to Social Security, a hippie-puncher who constantly picks fights with the left, and much more... While his ex-staffers have spent the last two days blasting away at Tanden online and in private forums, Sanders and his current aides have remained silent on her nomination-- a reflection of the fact that the Vermont senator and his diehard supporters often employ different political strategies. Mike Casca, a spokesman for Sanders, declined to comment for this story. Sanders has not echoed other liberal senators, such as Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) in praising Tanden this week on social media, nor has he joined his fans criticizing her."

At least AOC and Ilhan Omar has been vocally criticizing Biden's boneheaded selection of Tanden and his threat to nominate someone even worse, Brice Reed, another anti-Social Security corporate whore.

Biden's Baggage by Nancy Ohanian