Neera Tanden’s Defeat Would Not Make Me Happy

Neera Tanden

I don’t think Neera Tanden should run the Office of Budget and Management because she suggested that we should have Libya pay us back for attacking them, in order to convince Americans to continue to “engage” with the world in the future:

The email Neera Tanden sent regarding Libyan Oil. Source:

It’s completely bonkers that Tanden put the ability to drop bombs on people halfway around the world up against Head Start and WIC. So I should be very pleased that it looks like she won’t be running OMB after Joe Manchin said he wouldn’t vote for her. But I’m not, because Manchin (and Collins, Romney, etc.) are doing the “right” thing for the wrong reason. Here’s Manchin’s statement about Tanden:

Joe Manchin’s statement. Source:

To be clear, both Tanden’s suggestion that we charge Libya for bombing them and her mean tweets are in the public record now, but it’s the mean tweets which are a bridge too far for Manchin and company.

That’s why I’m not happy about this outcome. The actual right thing to do is to stop putting people who are ready to drop bombs on other human beings in positions of authority. But that’s not the part of Tanden’s resume that’s a problem. No one has even mentioned it, as far as I can see. If Tanden goes down, the next OMB nominee will be someone who’s just as willing to blow people into pieces, just without the Twitter baggage.

She hasn’t given up yet though, and various groups and individuals have been lobbying for her to get the position. Watching people argue over their preferred, professed potential war profiteer is not fun. If Tanden doesn’t get placed at OMB, every single other person who thinks she was good remains in government. So no, I don’t feel happy because this is simply a personal defeat for Tanden, not a step back from the insane militarism of the United States.

The Democrats at least seem committed to having a diverse group of people pursuing endless, global war. I guess that’s something for people of color who are interested in joining that war.

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