Generally a few nominations convey an incoming president’s fundamental mindset and worldview. That’s the way it appears with Joe Biden’s decisions to run the Workplace of Administration and Price range and the State Division.
For OMB director, Biden chosen company centrist Neera Tanden, whose Middle for American Progress thrives on the largesse of rich donors representing highly effective company pursuits. Tanden has been a notably scornful foe of the Democratic Social gathering’s progressive wing; former Sanders speechwriter David Sirota calls her “the one greatest, most aggressive Bernie Sanders critic in america.” Who higher to supervise the price range of the U.S. authorities?
For Secretary of State, Biden selected his longtime high foreign-policy adviser, whose frequent help for U.S. warfare included pushing for the disastrous 2011 navy intervention in Libya. Antony Blinken is a revolving-door professional who has mixed his record of struggle boosterism with entrepreneurial zeal to personally profit from influence-peddling for weapons gross sales to the Pentagon. Who higher to supervise diplomacy for the U.S. authorities?
Normal information protection tells us that Tanden and Blinken are “moderates.” However what’s so reasonable about being on the take from wealthy beneficiaries of company America whereas opposing proposals that will curb their earnings as a way to cut back revenue inequality and advance social justice? What’s so reasonable about serving the military-industrial advanced whereas advocating for enormous “protection” spending and what quantities to limitless struggle?
Except they fail to get Senate affirmation, Tanden and Blinken will form future historical past in main methods.
As OMB director, Tanden would head what the Washington Put up describes as “the nerve heart of the federal authorities, executing the annual spending plan, setting fiscal and personnel coverage for businesses, and overseeing the regulatory course of throughout the manager department.”
Blinken is able to be the administration’s most influential determine on international coverage, bolstered by his longstanding shut ties with Biden. As workers director for the Senate International Relations Committee when Biden chaired the panel’s mid-2002 crucial sham hearings on eventualities for invading Iraq, Blinken helped grease the skids for the catastrophic invasion.
Total, purported “moderates” Tanden and Blinken have benefited from favorable mass-media protection since their nominations had been introduced a number of weeks in the past. Many of the well-documented vital accounts have appeared in progressive shops reminiscent of Common Dreams, Democracy Now, The Daily Poster, In These Times and The American Prospect. However some unappealing points of their data have been reported by the mainstream press.
“In her 9 years helming Washington’s main liberal suppose tank, Neera Tanden mingled with deep-pocketed donors who made their fortunes on Wall Road, in Silicon Valley and in different highly effective sectors of company America,” the Washington Put up reported in early December. “At formal pitches and swanky fundraisers, Tanden personally cultivated the bevy of benefactors fueling the $45 million to $50 million annual price range of the Middle for American Progress.”
The Put up added: “As OMB director, Tanden would have a hand in insurance policies that contact each a part of the financial system after years spent courting company and international donors. These regulatory choices can have profound implications for a spread of U.S. corporations, dictating how a lot they pay in taxes, the limitations they face and whether or not they profit from new stimulus packages.”
Blinken’s eagerness to cash in on the warfare state — when not a proper a part of the federal government’s war-making equipment — is well-documented and chilling. In a more healthy political tradition, Blinken’s shameless insistence on profiteering from navy weapons gross sales, as spelled out in a Nov. 28 New York Occasions news story, would have sunk his nomination for Secretary of State.
As for Tanden, lately her Middle for American Progress received between $1.5 million and $3 million from the United Arab Emirates, which is allied with Saudi Arabia in waging an extended and murderous struggle on Yemen. CAP refused to again a Senate resolution calling for the U.S. authorities to finish its navy help for that struggle. On a spread of foreign-policy points, Tanden has proven dedication to militarism again and again and again.
By many accounts, progressive organizing was a key factor in preventing the extensively anticipated nomination of hawkish Michèle Flournoy to be Secretary of Protection. (RootsAction.org, the place I’m nationwide director, was a part of that organizing effort.) Final week, the withdrawal of torture defender Mike Morell from consideration for CIA director was a victory for activism led by CodePink, Progressive Democrats of America, Witness Towards Torture and different teams.
Throughout the first weeks of 2021, such organizing could possibly be efficient in serving to to derail different nominations. Excessive on the deserving listing are Agriculture Secretary nominee Tom “Mr. Monsanto” Vilsack, a loyal ally of corporate Big Ag, and Director of Nationwide Intelligence nominee Avril Haines — whose record as former deputy director of the CIA included working to forestall accountability for company personnel who engaged in torture, in addition to crafting authorized rationales for drone strikes that usually killed civilians.
Such deplorable nominees don’t inform the entire story of Biden’s incoming workforce, which incorporates some first rate financial and environmental appointees. “There’s no query that progressive concentrate on personnel has led to much better outcomes than when Obama put a corporate- and bank-friendly Cupboard along with little resistance,” The American Prospect’s govt editor, David Dayen, accurately pointed out final week. On the identical time, none of Biden’s high-level nominees had been supporters of the Bernie Sanders 2020 marketing campaign or are absolutely in sync with the progressive wing of the social gathering.
The brighter spots amongst Joe Biden’s nominations replicate the political wattage that progressives have generated lately on a wide selection of intertwined issues, from local weather to healthcare to financial justice to structural racism. But, with few exceptions, Biden’s present coverage positions are destructively company, deferential to obscene concentrations of wealth, woefully insufficient for assembly human wants, and zealously militaristic. It’s hardly incidental that the listing of key White House staff is overwhelmingly dominated by corporate-aligned operatives and PR specialists.
Wishful considering apart, on very important subject after very important subject, it’s foreseeable that Biden — and the folks in line for probably the most highly effective roles in his administration — won’t do the fitting factor until actions can manage successfully sufficient to make them do it.