This morning, my old and dear friend-- a thorough progressive with whom I do a weekly radio segment-- Nicole Sandler, tweeted that she's "not a fan of Neera Tanden's and feel we'd be better off with someone else heading OMB." She should have stopped there... but then went to "but." She continued "BUT, THIS is indicative of a much bigger problem. Joe Manchin get off your high horse and look in the mirror. Do the right thing." The right thing? The right thing is blocking Neera Tanden, even if it's for, in his case, the wrong reasons. We shouldn't always be looking gift horses in the mouth. Save the anti-Manchin vitriol for the battle over Deb Haaland. I asked another old friend, one of southern California's most effective activists and a former congressional candidate, Marcy Winograd, to explain the Neera Tanden situation in a guest post. The Coordinator of CODEPINK Congress, she did it in an open letter to Manchin:
Joe Manchin to the Rescue
-by Marcy Winograd
I never thought I'd want to thank filibuster-lover Joe Manchin for much, but he, Mitt Romney and Susan Collins came through for progressives over the weekend, announcing they cannot bring themselves to vote for deficit hawk (that's not their reason) Neera Tanden to run the Office of Management and Budget, a formidable office that oversees the drafting and implementation of the entire federal budget, from expenses for paper clips to drone bombers. (Can we please stop with those?!)
If not Neera, then who?
Biden says he's sticking with Neera, but the press reports she's on the ropes. With the Senate split, we only need one Democrat to publicly oppose Neera to free us from her reign of neoliberal terror. Rumor has it there's another name already on the table: Gene Sperling, Director of the National Economic Council and Assistant to the President for Economic Policy under Clinton and Obama. Progressive economist Dean Baker gives Sperling a thumbs up, says Sperling has evolved since Obama days.
Neera, Not a Progressive
Tanden was bad news from the start, not because she insulted Republicans, calling Collins "the worst" on twitter, but because she's a privatizing polarizing nominee, who also called Bernie Sanders "crazy" and in the past, as queen of the think tank Center for American Progress (CAP), advocated cutting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid; opposed a $15 minimum wage; declared herself an enemy of single-payer health care;, suggested Libya should cough up oil revenue to reimburse the US for bombing the country to hell; accepted a CAP donation of $1.5 million from the UAE, then fell silent on its slaughter in Yemen; hosted Netanyahu for a US visit to sabotage Obama's campaign for the Iran nuclear deal (What's happening with that, anyway?), told her CAP staffers to shut up about Israel (No criticism of the pariah state allowed!) and outted a sexual harassment victim during a CAP staff meeting.
Nice. Hmmm ....
In case you're still not convinced or confused because you saw the head of Justice Democrats, Alejandra Rojas, a regular on CNN, indignantly come to Neera's defense, watch The Hill's Krystal Ball and Saagar Enjeti roast Neera for, among other things, questionable ethics and a sharp elbow--pushing or punching a Bernie supporter who asked HRC during the 2016 race about her vote to invade Iraq.
Please contact your US Senators to urge them to vote NO on Neera Tanden to head the Office of Management and Budget and also let the White House know you oppose her nomination.
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