After confirming Trump's Cabinet of partisan incompetents, GOP balks at policy-steeped Biden pick
Republicans already have the knives out for President-elect Joe Biden’s pick to lead the powerful White House budget office, Neera Tanden, who currently leads the left-leaning Center for American Progress. It must be the idea of Biden selecting a policy-steeped head of a think tank to lead a powerful government agency that has Senate Republicans’ panties in such a twist. In other words, competence is really the issue here, not partisanship. Because when it came to approving every single one of Donald Trump’s partisan know-nothing hacks, Senate Republicans ate it up and went back for seconds and thirds.
Remember House Freedom caucuser and supposed deficit hawk Mick Mulvaney, whose main qualification was huddling in the halls of Congress with the right-wing fringes of the GOP? Every Senate Republican but one—the late John McCain—got behind Mulvaney’s confirmation, hailing it as the harbinger of a new era of fiscal responsibility. That was just 10 months before every one of those GOP senators also cast a party-line vote to blow a trillion-dollar hole in the deficit for a tax giveaway to the rich and corporate-y. In fact, the Congressional Budget Office later estimated the GOP tax cut would add $1.9 trillion to deficits over the next decade—and that was a pre-coronavirus estimate.
But now, those very same Republicans say Tanden is just too partisan.
Their main objection is that Tanden is an active Twitter user who goes to bat for Democrats and liberal principles. Could be worse—she could have backed an effort to acquit a president who tried to steal a U.S. election by extorting a foreign ally to fabricate an investigation into his political foe. Still, Sen. John Cornyn of Texas—who did vote to clear Donald Trump of his assault on the U.S. Constitution—is calling “radioactive.”
In fact, after Republicans jammed nearly every Trump nominee through on partisan lines—not to mention confirming some 230 lifetime federal judges—Cornyn is shocked that Biden isn’t asking Republicans to dictate his picks in advance.
“I really am a little surprised, particularly on the OMB nominee that there hadn’t been at least some consultation,” Cornyn told Politico. “I mean some of these problems can be avoided. And people, you know, saved from the embarrassment.”
I mean, if Cornyn and the rest of congressional Republicans aren’t embarrassed by the last four years of selling their souls to the most corrupt U.S. president in history, then it’s really impossible to imagine who else should be embarrassed by anything … like, ever. It’s not like Tanden put her hand on a Bible before opening a Twitter account and swore an oath to refrain from saying anything critical while Republicans trashed our democracy, trampled the U.S. Constitution, backed Trump’s overt embrace of white supremacists, and turned a blind eye on Trump’s pandemic slaughter of some 265,000 Americans. In fact, anyone who stood by silently while Republicans greased the skids to fascism committed a profoundly unpatriotic act. Taken on the whole, Tanden’s objections to that course, vehement or otherwise, were a stand for the republic.
But hey, taking that stand was “overtly partisan,” says Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, who also voted for Mulvaney’s confirmation and Trump’s acquittal without hearing from a single witness. Oh, and Portman’s also a self-proclaimed deficit hawk who voted for the $1.5 trillion dollar tax cut that’s projected to cost Americans far more than they got in return. But Tanden, we are told, should be embarrassed.