It’s Neither Sexist Nor Racist To Oppose Neera Tanden for OMB
President Joe Biden has nominated Neera Tanden, a former adviser to Hillary Clinton and president of the Center for American Progress, to serve as head of the U.S. Office on Management and Budget. But that nomination is on the rocks after Sen. Joe Manchin (D–W.Va.) said he would vote against Tanden due to her history of tweeting aggressively at lawmakers.
“I have carefully reviewed Neera Tanden’s public statements and tweets that were personally directed towards my colleagues on both sides of the aisle from Senator [Bernie] Sanders to Senator [Mitch] McConnell and others,” said Manchin. “I believe her overtly partisan statements will have a toxic and detrimental impact on the important working relationship between members of Congress and the next director of the Office of Management and Budget. For this reason, I cannot support her nomination.”
Many commentators pointed out that Manchin had no trouble voting to confirm Richard Grenell, who had also engaged in troll-ish behavior on Twitter, to be former President Donald Trump’s ambassador to Germany. Some have suggested that Tanden is being subjected to a racist and sexist double standard—that she is being held to account because she is a woman of color. According to Politico:
Janet Murguía, the president and chief executive of the Latino advocacy organization UnidosUS, said she had a call with her team Monday morning where the issue of Biden’s Cabinet picks hitting roadblocks sparked a protracted conversation and growing alarm.
“It’s been incredibly disturbing to see a pattern or a trend emerging where people of color and women seem to be at the bottom of the list in terms of hearings and getting their confirmations finalized,” Murguía said in an interview. “It’s highly offensive to see this foot-dragging going on when we have such an incredible need to put these different leaders in place in these different agencies.”
The problem with this line of argument is that there are many legitimate reasons to oppose Tanden for OMB. Incidentally, this is why Republicans need to be more careful about labeling all criticism of political figures as “cancel culture.” Holding politicians accountable for political statements and actions they have taken in the past is perfectly valid and fair.
Tanden, for her part, has a long history of questionable views. For one thing, she is utterly unconcerned about the deficit in times of crisis. In fact, she previously said if wild government spending were unpopular with voters, then the feds should get “oil rich countries” in the Middle East to pay off our debts in exchange for military help.
“We have a giant deficit,” wrote Tanden in a 2011 email. “They have a lot of oil. Most Americans would
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