There Are More Red Flags Than Just Neera Tanden’s Tweets
Both Senate committees handling Neera Tanden’s confirmation postponed key votes and meetings Wednesday
I have one lasting memory of Neera Tanden’s campaign season tweets and it’s not a good one, unfortunately. A Twitter mutual of mine, a young person with some political experience, lightly mocked Tanden in a reply on the social media platform. In return, Tanden, who runs perhaps the largest progressive policy firm in the U.S., tagged the young person’s employer, at the time a progressive Senate campaign, in a reply.
The message was clear: Tanden didn’t think this young person should be working on a Senate campaign because they made a joke at her expense.
Is this something that happens a lot in politics Twitter? Yes and no. I think most people would agree that Tanden is simply too online, but who isn’t these days?
Some have compared Tanden’s online presence to that of noted Twitter troll, former ambassador, and unconfirmed Trump cabinet member, Richard Grenell. (I’ve had Twitter clashes with him as well.) It’s been rightfully noted that Grenell’s tweets didn’t seem to hold him back from becoming a large presence within the Trump administration, but many Biden voters presumably want to set the bar a little higher than the Twitter troll presidency.
But there are other red flags on her resume. Tanden killed a valuable progressive publication, ThinkProgress, in what several former employees have insinuated was an anti-union effort. The Center for American Progress, which is run by Tanden and oversaw ThinkProgress, claimed to have shuttered the online publication for financial reasons. But with progressive news in an increasingly unfavorable position versus its right-wing counterpart, dumping the news outlet in this political moment remains a puzzler.
Tanden was clearly in the tank early on for Biden and other centrist Democrats from the primary campaign’s earliest days. My assumption at the time is that she was using Twitter to lobby for an administration job. Her intense opposition to Bernie Sanders seemed less like an ideological disagreement than ambition.
Again, this happens a lot, and men in politics have gotten away with this same behavior for years. Tanden’s ambition ultimately shouldn’t be held against her, but it may all add up to a failed confirmation bid in such a closely divided Senate.