Hugh Hewitt says Senate should confirm Tanden
Conservative talk radio host Hugh Hewitt on Monday called for the Senate to confirm Neera Tanden as Office of Budget and Management (OMB) director after several key centrist senators have said they will vote against her nomination.
In an op-ed for The Washington Post, Hewitt said that though he had suffered “Tanden-inflicted scars” in controversial tweets Tanden had sent while serving as the head of the liberal Center for American Progress, he thought that senators voting against her over tweets would be punishing political opinions.
“She’s a serious left-liberal, though not as far to the left as Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, so she’s left some marks on Team Sanders as well. She should also be confirmed as OMB director,” Hewitt wrote.
“All political people, especially senators, should live with the same rules of political debate as the rest of us. They should not use their confirmation power to protect themselves from online criticism, however hurtful,” Hewitt wrote. “Everyone draws the line at threats. But Tanden has just clobbered people the good old-fashioned way: with words.”
Hewitt’s comments come as Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) on Friday became the first Democratic senator to say he would oppose Tanden’s nomination, citing Tanden’s controversial tweets. On Monday, key Republican centrists Susan Collins (Maine) and Mitt Romney (Utah) said they would vote against confirmation.
Hewitt went on to argue that even if Tanden’s previous tweets are considered a referendum on her temperament, that would be a more appropriate consideration for a position such as a lifetime judgeship.
“New presidents who have four years to succeed deserve their team in place, absent disqualifying personal flaws or other serious cause for concern. There are exceptions to every rule, but ‘mean tweets’ doesn’t even come close,” Hewitt wrote.
The announcements from Manchin, Collins and Romney almost certainly doom Tanden’s chances at confirmation. Collins, whom the White House had viewed as a possible GOP pickup vote, also cited Tanden’s social media activity in her announcement.
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