(Say three times fast)
Just like clockwork, the Democrats are out in coordinated force, blaming sexism and xenophobia as the core occult reasons for the opposition to party operative Neera Tanden's confirmation to the Biden cabinet.
Granted, Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia is full of noxious hot air when he points to the "incivility" of Tanden's thousands of vitriolic deleted tweets, aimed both at Republicans and progressive Democrats in the Bernie Sanders wing, as his reason for not voting for her to lead the Office of Management and Budget. In tandem with that nonsense, he apparently believes that it is the very height of civility to deny his own constituents, living in one of the poorest areas of the country, a rise in the minimum wage to 15 lousy bucks.
So while Republicans (and Manchin) are crying their crocodile tears and claiming they are victims of Tanden's Mean Girl Syndrome (because they only want unity!), the Democrats are perfectly willing to forgo legitimate criticism of her corruption in order to defend her. When you have identity politics to fall back on, the sky is the absolute limit when it comes to glossing over such inconvenient facts as Tanden's call to attack Libya to get at its oil, her past efforts to destroy Social Security and Medicare, her red-baiting of any and all critics of neoliberalism and Hillary Clinton, her leadership of a Democratic slush fund disguised as a think tank (Center For American Progress, or CAP) , her acceptance of corporate bribes from billionaires and corporations to run said slush-tank, her physical assault of a former employee, and her destruction of a blog run out of CAP offices once employees began to unionize.
This is the woman that Joe Biden cynically proposes to control the purse strings of our country and to manage our lives in the process. It is a scary scenario, to put it mildly.
So it is all the more disheartening when even progressive stars like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez leap on the Identity Politics bandwagon in order to defend the bullying Tanden against that traitorous bullying misogynistic villain Joe Manchin. AOC actually helps to ridiculously lump Tanden in with two other more liberal endangered Biden nominees, Hispanic Xavier Becerra and Native American Deb Haaland, as a way to further paper over Tanden's despicable career.
We are supposed to believe that just because Indian-American Neera Tanden once survived on food stamps and lived in public housing, she will suddenly divert from career script and champion poor people. In an absolute subversion of the mantra of Martin Luther King Jr., we are asked to judge Tanden based solely upon the color of her skin and the configuration of her XX chromosomes, rather than upon the content of her truly rotten character.
The glossy veneer barely disguising all kinds of corruption and the record inequality which is carefully engineered and maintained by the political class and its partners in consolidated media is a very flimsy substitute for legislation in the public interest, run by true public servants rather than by the career-climbing servants of the oligarchy.
Witness, just as the latest example of this performance art, Monday night's candlelight vigil spectacular starring Joe Biden and Kamala Harris to mark the 500,000 American deaths from Covid-19. Media reviewers have glowingly called their tasteful tableau such a powerful and refreshing step up from Donald Trump's own criminal callousness.
Because there's nothing like a shiny solemn candlelight vigil to substitute for a single payer health care system, regular Covid relief checks, and student debt forgiveness, right?
Because things that help ordinary people are treated by the permanent ruling class as veritable plagues against free market capitalism. The body politic, to our leaders, is itself nothing but a Mean Girl calling them nasty names and hurting their feelings, when all they want is Unity and Civility. Harrumph!
Mangling Joe Manchin, meanwhile, dutifully plays his own designated role as the bad cop/useful idiot who prevents the noble and empathetic Joe Biden from completing his incremental agenda. Not formally defecting to the Republican side of the duopoly is simply a clever bargaining chip on Manchin's part, of course. He can dangle the threat of defection over their heads for the duration of his tenure, in the process giving his co-conspirators all the cover they need to implement their occult austerian agenda as they hide beneath their candle-lit masks of beneficence.
Just as the Tea Party Republicans once thwarted Barack Obama's hideous "Grand Bargain" with former House Speaker John Boehner to cut Medicare and Social Security, so too are right-wingers thwarting Neera Tanden's big career move to chief crook and budget-slasher. Sometimes you just have to pick your crooks and decide which bad guys you want to root for, to give you the slightest serendipitous bit of respite from the munching maw of neoliberalism.
Mangling Manchin may end up accomplishing some good in spite of his horrid old self. Then again, he could make a deal with Biden, who might agree to trash his minimum wage promise in exchange for Manchin changing his mind on Tanden.
As the New York Times frames the saga in its own extended mangled metaphor of an article, the White House is still "giving her confirmation a shot" while Tanden herself is "committed to rolling up her sleeves." Ouch.
It is so essential to remain vigilant as we're relentlessly regaled by these never-ending vigils, produced so carefully for our relief and stupefaction.