Woman on Twitter Appointed to Biden Administration

Illustration for article titled Woman on Twitter Appointed to Biden Administration
Photo: Paul Morigi (Getty Images)

Biden will reportedly tap Neera Tanden to be the director of Office of Management and Budget, the former top Hillary Clinton aide, current head of the Center for American Progress, and perennial Twitter troll.

Tanden would be the first woman of color to oversee the office, according to the Washington Post, rounding out a slate of all-women administration picks announced Sunday evening, which included an all-women communications team. But Tanden’s appointment may not mean more representation for women of color in the White House so much as it would representation for people who are extremely aggressive online.

Over the last few years, Tanden has instigated a number of Twitter feuds that make me want to lie down just thinking of them, mostly because they involve endlessly relitigating the 2016 Democratic primary. The New York Times summed them up well in a 2019 story about Tanden’s beef with the Sanders campaign:

Few rival Ms. Tanden for her bellicosity on Twitter. She has told James Zogby, a pro-Sanders pollster, that “an army will rise up against this bs”; threatened Starbucks’ chief executive, Howard Schultz, with a boycott if he runs for president; and traded insults for two years with Jill Stein, the 2016 Green Party presidential candidate viewed by Ms. Tanden as a spoiler.

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The piece also includes this perfect paragraph (emphasis mine):

One recent night, Ms. Tanden feuded on Twitter with liberals over whether Mrs. Clinton condemned far-right hatemongers strongly enough more than two years ago. The online bickering raged for an hour, drawing trolls from both factions, when the woman originally targeted by Ms. Tanden’s tweets delivered a wake-up call: “neera, you’re responding to a graduate student on Twitter at 1:40 am.”

Tanden happens to be a terrible person offline, too: In 2008, she allegedly punched Faiz Shakir, then the top editor of ThinkProgress—which was funded by the Center for American Progress—when he asked Hillary Clinton a question about the Iraq War. (Tanden, who was working on Clinton’s ‘08 presidential campaign at the time, was under the impression it would be a softball interview.)

Years later, the Tanden-led CAP shuttered the news site, which had recently unionized, and attempted to continue running it with non-union workers until threats of legal action made the organization reconsider. Under Tanden, CAP has also been known for cozying up to Israel prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and AIPAC-adjacent figures, and censoring ThinkProgress’s Israel coverage.

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Of course she has made enemies on the right as well. Following news of Tanden’s expected appointment on Sunday, a spokesperson for Texas Sen. John Cornyn said there’s “zero chance” of her being confirmed, due to her history of “disparaging comments about the Republican senators whose votes she’ll need.”

I guess the fact that she has thoroughly pissed off members of both parties makes her the perfect bipartisan pick.

Night blogger at Jezebel with writing at The Baffler, The Nation, Vice, Gothamist, The Awl, and more.

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DISCUSSION

willselfdestruct
WillSelfDestruct

Seems to me like a bunch of extremely online trolls are mad that she unwisely leaned into their chaotic turf. There is a lot to pick apart in Biden’s centrist Obama-Clinton redux admin. But, the lede here doesn’t do anything to elevate the discussion beyond online centrist liberal vs. leftist meme wars. Ironic, given this is one of the main things you find objectionable about her.