Live in West Virginia or Arizona? Then it’s extra-important that your Democratic Senators hear from you, the late February 2021 Joe Manchin edition.
We at OTYCD weren’t expecting to rerun this story so soon. It originally appeared on February 2, and it’s about how important it is for folks who are represented by Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona to speak up for less-conservative ideas, nominees, judges, what have you:
We’re putting it up again over news that West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin has evidently decided to vote against the nomination of Neera Tandren to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
Tandren has an established habit of winding up conservatives, Republicans, and Trumpistas on Twitter. She has been scrubbing her Twitter account, and says “I deleted tweets because I regretted them.”
She has also said before a Senate committee, “I know there have been some concerns about some of my past language on social media, and I regret that language and take responsibility for it… I deeply regret and apologize for my language.”
In a brief search for potentially nasty Tandren tweets, we at OTYCD couldn’t come up with much beyond what seems like weak tea, especially when her “nasty” tweets are compared to tweets by Donald Trump (since banned from the platform) and other Republicans who habitually court scrapes on Twitter.
A December 2020 piece on Slate includes this paragraph:
Tanden loved the nickname “Moscow Mitch” when it was applied to the Senate majority leader in 2019, a “Voldemort” whom she also accused of “fiddling, while the markets burn.” She’s described Maine Sen. Susan Collins, a key swing vote on confirmations, as “the worst” and, in a statement following Brett Kavanaugh’s 2018 Supreme Court confirmation, labeled Collins “the chief advocate for Judge Kavanaugh, offering a pathetically bad faith argument as cover for President Trump’s vicious attacks on survivors of sexual assault.” Much else of what she’s tweeted about Republican senators has been lost in a recent deletion of about 1,000 tweets.
A November 2020 story from The Daily Beast features this passage:
Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress, has deleted over one thousand tweets from her personal Twitter account since the beginning of November. A number of them, since recovered by The Daily Beast, contain comments directed at powerful lawmakers on both sides of the aisle that could turn a relationship to ice before her Senate confirmation hearing to lead the Office of Management and Budget takes place next year.
And that’s exactly what seems to be happening to Tanden.
Tanden deleted some, but not all, tweets from her account lambasting prominent lawmakers like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Sens. Joni Ernst (R-IA), and Susan Collins (R-ME), and praising their Democratic challengers. It’s unclear when exactly Tanden deleted them, but many of the tweets were available at least until the fall, according to the Internet Archive.
“Can people on here please focus their ire on McConnell and the GOP senators who are Up This Cycle who enable him: Cory Gardner, Collins, Ernst, Cornyn, Perdue, Tillis And many more,” Tanden wrote in a since-deleted tweet from June 2019 about the seven Republican senators.
When Collins’ re-election appeared troubled, Tanden vowed to treat her challenger, Sara Gideon, “like a long lost relative” and “work hard to help her beat Susan Collins.”
She deleted the tweet sometime after Nov. 5.
If something worse and unquestionably attributed to Tandren emerges from a rummage of her Twitter history, we might change our tune on this aspect of things. For now, we don’t see it.
Evidently, the Republican squawking over Tandren’s tweets was enough to fluster Manchin and nudge him to declare himself a “no” before her confirmation hearings have been scheduled in the Senate.
See a screenshot of Manchin’s statement. In this context, “Today” means February 19, 2021:
I think you all see the problem with this, yes? By signaling his willingness to tank Tandren’s nomination over “mean tweets” that were deemed “mean” largely by Republicans, Manchin is teaching the GOP that he will reward an effort to scuttle other Biden nominees as well, no matter how qualified they might be.
If we’ve learned anything from the last few years of a McConnell-controlled Senate, we’ve learned that while party members might have acted in good faith at least some of the time in the past, the GOP is most definitely not doing so any longer.
Their efforts, their outlook, their very cores are collectively marinated in bad faith, and that is by conscious choice. They do not care about serving the public. They do not care about doing what’s best for the country. They care about holding power by whatever means they can, and when they’re out of power, they care about undermining those in power, and wrenching that power away from them for the sake of it, because they believe they’re the only ones fit to hold it, even though they consistently misuse it.
In other words, Manchin is being played. And his stance is a wee bit rich coming from a guy who voted to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court and confirm Jeff Sessions as the United States Attorney General.
Manchin also voted to confirm Bill Bar as US AG, but to his credit, he later expressed regret in public over his “yes” vote.
This is the good news, and it might be part of why he remains a conservative Democrat instead of switching to the GOP: He is able to change his mind, and able to admit his mistakes, and he’s brave enough to admit his mistakes with cameras rolling and news microphones in his face.
A side note: Kyrsten Sinema has said nothing about her opinion of the Tandren nomination, but Manchin’s “no” could be enough to kill it under the current circumstances of a 50-50 split in the Senate.
Also, Sahil Kapur (@SahilKapur) of NBC News tweeted on February 19 that Biden would not withdraw the Tandren nomination, and included a link to his NBC story on the matter:
Biden says he will NOT withdraw the Neera Tanden OMB nomination after Manchin’s opposition. “I think we’re going to find the votes to get her confirmed.”
Link to Kapur’s story on Manchin and the nomination:
Anyway, where we’re going with this–if you live in West Virginia, please call Senator Joe Manchin and ask him to reconsider. If you have friends in West Virginia, nudge them to make the call.
If you aren’t a resident of West Virginia and don’t know anyone who is, please signal-boost this story on social media instead. If you are not his constituent, do not contact him! Leave the phone lines free for those who are.
If you have a West Virginia friend or family member who needs help finding Manchin’s contact info, get it here:
Find your Senators’ contact information, and help others find their Senators’ information, here:
And here is a sample script for West Virginians to use when calling Manchin:
“Hello Senator Manchin, I am <Firstname Lastname> from <town, state, zip code>. I’m calling because you announced your intention to vote against Tandren’s nomination to lead the Office of Management and Budget before her confirmation hearings have even been scheduled.
I am asking you to withdraw your public opposition to her nomination and revert to a neutral position.
I’m making this ask because while I commend your desire to foster bipartisanship in the Senate–it is an honorable aim–I feel that opposing Tandren is not the way to do it.
I understand you made your decision after reviewing some of Tandren’s available tweets. I have sought out what I can and while what I found was combative and forceful, and sometimes distasteful, I have yet to see anything in her tweet history that truly crosses the line. For example, I didn’t see any threats to harm or kill anyone, or threats against family members of her targets. I don’t recall any uses of serious slurs.
I have an additional concern with regard to the behavior of your GOP colleagues. Unfortunately, a large contingent of them seem to be determined to call out the faults of Democrats in a loud voice and with no hesitation, while at the same time pointedly ignoring the offenses of their fellow party members, no matter how egregious they might be.
For example, GOP folks called out California Governor Gavin Newsom–rightly!–for dining at an elite restaurant under state pandemic restrictions that would have barred such conditions, but many of the same people have been silent or have defended Texas Senator Ted Cruz for vacationing in Mexico while his constituents suffered and even froze to death during a once-in-a-century winter storm that crippled the state’s electrical grid.
My concern is if you heed Republican complaints about tweets of Neera Tandren’s that they considered mean, what is to stop them from screaming in public over the slightest alleged provocation by a Democrat, knowing that their screams might persuade you to side with them? In other words, what safeguards have you adopted to ensure that you will not be manipulated by bad actors?
Thanks for taking my call.”
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