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How Twitter killed Neera Tanden's chances

 How Twitter killed Neera Tanden's chances  and why it will happen again


The White House bowed to the inevitable Tuesday night, withdrawing Neera Tanden's appointment as director of the Office of Management and Budget.

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That a cabinet candidate did not even make it to a Senate vote is nothing new. Every president since Bill Clinton has lost at least one of his first Cabinet picks. Given that, it would have been more exceptional for President Joe Biden not to lose any Cabinet candidates.

What's new - and what Biden and his entourage clearly underestimated - is how aggressive and offensive Tanden's style on Twitter would impact (and condemn) his nomination.

The calculation made by the president and his chief of staff Ron Klain, perhaps Tanden's greatest advocate, was that her powerful personal story (brought up by a single mother who came to the United States from India) and the historic nature of her appointment (she would have been the first woman of South Asian descent to serve as OMB director) would overcome any lingering nausea among senators about her past tweets.

Well, that comes on top of Tanden's efforts to cleanse his Twitter account of the most personal attacks on senators who would now sit as judge, jury, and executioner upon his appointment. And her apologies - “I deeply regret and apologize for my language and some of my past languages,” she said during her confirmation hearing - for her tweets.

It did not work. You see, Tanden's nomination did not fail because of a political disagreement with key senators or some sort of scandal in his personal life. It failed because she tweeted a lot of attacks on senators. Period.

"I have carefully reviewed the public statements and tweets from Neera Tanden that were personally addressed to my colleagues on both sides of the aisle from Senator Sanders to Senator McConnell and others," said West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, a Democrat, in announcing his opposition to Tanden's appointment. "I believe his openly partisan statements will have a toxic and damaging impact on the important working relationship between members of Congress and the next director of the Office of Management and Budget."


Republican Senator from Maine, Susan Collins, echoed that sentiment by opposing Tanden. "His past actions have demonstrated exactly the kind of animosity President Biden is committed to transcending," Collins said. "Additionally, Ms. Tanden's decision to delete over 1,000 tweets in the days leading up to the announcement of her appointment raises concerns about her commitment to transparency."


Ditto Republican Senator from Utah Mitt Romney. "Senator Romney has criticized the extreme rhetoric of previous candidates, and it is consistent with that position," said a spokeswoman for the senator. "He thinks it's hard to return to courtesy and respect with a candidate who has posted a thousand mean tweets."

The irony of senators citing "nasty tweets" as disqualifying a post in a presidential cabinet after four years in which the current president has used Twitter to intimidate and insult his political opponents (and world leaders!) Should not be lost. for anyone here.

But regardless of the ridiculous double standard used, the failure of Tanden's nomination raises an intriguing question for the future: Should people looking for high-ranking jobs in presidential administrations just avoid tweeting?

The easy answer, of course, is yes. While there aren't any tweets to tap into for controversial past opinions about people (and issues), there's a lot less fodder for people who would like you not to be confirmed (or even considered).

At the same time, Twitter is - certainly among the world of politicians and journalists - ubiquitous. And, for someone like Tanden, her willingness to say controversial things on Twitter - and most importantly to attack Republican senators in often personal terms - has helped make her a prominent opposition figure in political circles. Trump years. (Note: Tanden also served as president of the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank.)

Tanden's active and aggressive Twitter presence was integral to his notoriety. Eliminate Twitter completely and is Tanden appointed OMB director in the first place? Maybe - but that's less likely, of course.

It's the catch-22 of Twitter and the ambitious politician. Avoid it in the hopes of never giving your critics anything to shoot? Or accept it and run the risk of seeing it destroy your chances a la Tanden?

T account

Due to the political class's dependence on Twitter, it is difficult to imagine that many future candidates will be entirely out of service. This means Tanden's failed nomination may be the first to land on Twitter, but it won't be the last.

What Neera Tanden’s Demise Says About ‘Cancel Culture’

SOURCE: https://edition.cnn.com/

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