Neera Tanden hurt the Senate’s GOP feelings. It can cost a job

Election of Neera Tanden, President-elect Joe Biden, to lead the Office of Management and Budget – which oversees federal spending and federal regulations – is a tough, smart, experienced political politician who also worked alongside Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama and then The American Progress , a democratic think tank before joining Biden ‘s team.

So why do Senate Republicans say they’re trying to block his nomination? Because – and it’s hard to type with a straight face – he said mean things about them on Twitter.

– Militant and offensive remarks about many members of the Senate… [create] problematic road, ”Senator John Cornyn of Texas said last week.

Triggering warning for readers of sensitive sensitivity: Yes, Tanden said unfriendly things. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was once called “Moscow Mitch,” alluding to the Kentucky people’s skepticism about the Russian intervention in the 2016 election. (McConnell called the nickname “anointing.”) Senate Susan Collins of Maine accused him of “bad faith” when he defended Supreme Court candidate Brett M. Kavanaugh on charges of sexual conduct. And he publicly called on voters to appoint seven GOP senators ex officio last year – an inattentive tweet to anyone heading for confirmatory hearings, especially when six of the seven were re-elected.

But it’s about as offensive as it got. At the mere junction of Internet-based insults, Tanden hardly appreciates a second look.

His tweets don’t come close to President Trump’s rich online oeuvre, for example. On Twitter, Trump called Senate Mitt Romney a “gorgeous ass,” Ted Cruz a “liar,” Marco Rubio a “light choke,” Lindsey Graham a nasty, angry one. [and] envious.”

And these senators are all in their own party. He treats Democrats worse.

It is striking to see that Republicans have suddenly decided that it is time to revive the old-fashioned norms of civilization after standing by the mouth-watering boss for four years.

Republican senators were not the only ones who caused the opposition to express themselves. Ohio Senator Rob Portman, for example, expressed concern that he was “too biased” in addition to his tweets.

But this is a newly invented rule. Trump’s first OMB director was a fiercely partisan congressman, Mick Mulvaney of South Carolina.

While Tanden is currently attracting Republican anger, he has also fired from the left, mainly because he has long been Hillary Clinton’s advisor and a frequent critic of progressive champion Bernie Sanders.

Too radical for Republicans, but not enough for progressives? Sounds like a good miniature description of the Biden presidency.

Eventually, the former chief of staff at McConnell handed over the game. Twitter – where else? – Josh Holmes wrote that Tanden “became a victim of the confirmation gods.”

It has become a bipartisan tradition for the opposition party to remind the new president of his power – especially when, like McConnell’s GOP, there is a majority in the Senate that needs to confirm cabinet nominations.

Even Biden, who is proud of his ability to negotiate effectively with Republicans, admits that some of his nominations will be battled.

“They hire a few people just to fight.” [over] whatever it is, ”the president-elect told the New York Times.

Tanden, if he follows his usual playbook, is likely to launch a glamorous offensive to see if he can get enough GOP votes to get his new job. (If Republicans win two Georgian Senate election elections, they will need at least two GOP senators to support them.)

He embarks on an apologetic tour of the Senate, probably beginning with a visit to Collins to apologize for his badly chosen bad faith words.

If some of these Senate Republicans want to be Machiavellian, they will tell Tanden that he can get his vote – but only after reminding him that he now owes them as the new director of OMB.

And if Tanden is lucky, another Biden candidate will have a personal or financial problem that will distract the Senate from his tweets. The GOP only needs one or two victims to prove its position.

The only Trump candidate who failed, such as Andrew Puzder, CEO of Carl Jr., was nominated as labor secretary; Republicans left after it was revealed that he employed undocumented workers in his home.

In addition to roughening the candidates, confirmation hearings also have a more important role: they give senators the opportunity to ask potential cabinet officials about the new president’s policy and register their support or opposition.

In principle, this is what the affirmative hearings should be about: How will the new Biden administration deal with the epidemic that still plagues the nation, the economic hardship it causes, and the racial inequalities that have helped?

Neera Tanden’s hearings may still take some time on such issues. OMB, a little-noticed but highly effective agency, is much more than the accounting department of the federal government. Oversees federal regulation and deregulation. Its director can do a lot to make the federal government work more efficiently – or not, depending on the president’s opinion.

I don’t know if Tanden will win Senate confirmation. But based on the fares, we can understand early on whether the new president’s hopes for bipartisan friendship will persist beyond the inaugural week.