The new Biden Cabinet is taking shape and to nobody’s surprise, it’s as neo-liberal as one might expect. It’s what Wall Street paid for. The main twist here is the president elect’s promise to have a more ethnically diverse executive staff.
The corporate media for its part is loving it. Every pick is historical! First woman to head the Treasury Department, first woman of color to lead OMB, first Latino Secretary of Homeland Security, etc. There is nothing wrong with diversity of course, it should be encouraged, but diversity is only half the story.
The Biden team seems to be using identity politics to hide the fact that the people who got him into the White House, progressives, are not yet represented in the Biden Cabinet. At all. You can argue again that some are more liberal than others, but the fact is there is not one Sanders, Warren or AOC level progressive up for nomination.
Instead there are people like Tony Blinken, whom we wrote about earlier, and Neera Tanden. It is true that Neera would be the first woman of color to head the Office of Management and Budget, but there are scores of women with a skin tone other than white that would have been a better choice.
Tanden is currently the chief executive of the neo-liberal think tank Center for American Progress. The Center can be seen as left leaning on gay rights and certain minority rights (identity politics!). However, at it’s core, it is a thinktank, and thinktanks, whether you lean left or right, are run by corporate interests, the CAP is definitely no exception.
Neera Tanden, a staunch Hillary backer, is such a bad choice, that only Rahm Emanuel or a full-blown Republican might be worse. She it quite literally the epitome of corporate Democrats. Tenden is actually on record suggesting that Libya should hand over its oil supply to the United States to pay for the bombing campaign the U.S. waged on them. Sound familiar?
The OMB nominee is now spending time deleting her tweets that were critical of the Republicans that will have to approve her nomination. Absolutely spineless.
A Biden transition official defended her by saying “This is the first time I can recall that an OMB director who’s charged with setting a federal budget will be someone who actually grew up in Section 8 housing, grew up on food stamps.”
One more point on Tanden is her long-standing stance on entitlements. She is a big advocate of cutting social security and Medicare, two programs that greatly benefit the financial position of elder people of color. But who cares? She herself is a woman of color, and that’s all that seems to matter, just as the transition official suggested.
Blinken and Tanden are obviously the worst of the bunch so far, but the entirety of the Biden Cabinet is filled with familiar centrist faces that served under Obama. How can this be seen as a historical new direction? Well…
It can be argued that every Biden Cabinet pick is a tad more progressive than those who served under Obama at those same positions, even Neera Tanden. That isn’t a testament to any kind of newfound progressivism on Biden’s part of course, it’s just further proof of how deeply tied the Obama Administration was to the corporate establishment. A step forward at least? Not really, but time will tell.
What we have unfolding, if the Biden Cabinet is confirmed, is the same neo-liberal, pro-corporate, pro-war, swamp that Trump was able to exploit on his way to victory in 2016. If Trump’s road to revenge leads him to 2024 and democrats fail to do anything meaningful, he could win again, using identity politics himself. Again.