Neera and Me: Two Theses about the American Ruling Class and One About Neera Tanden

A few days ago, I had a strange experience. I got trolled—some might say gaslighted—by the person who many think will be Hillary Clinton’s White House Chief of Staff.

Her name is Neera Tanden. Tanden is the head of the Center for American Progress, the Democratic Party think tank that works closely with the Clintons.

Though you may know of Tanden for other reasons. I’ll come back to that.

It began on Tuesday afternoon, when I tweeted this.

Cornel West represents Bernie Sanders on the DNC Platform Committee. Tanden represents Clinton. Electronic Intifada had excerpted some clips from the Committee’s public deliberations about, among other issues, Israel-Palestine. The hearings had originally been broadcast on C-SPAN. I was struck by the force of West’s moral witness, and what I saw as Tanden’s visible impatience, which you can evaluate for yourself at the 4:40 mark on the Electronic Intifada video.

The next day, Tanden responded to me on Twitter. Not to challenge my characterization of her response to West, but to, well, read for yourself.

Tanden makes three moves here.

First, she claims—twice—that she was simply not there during the Committee’s deliberations on Israel/Palestine. Not for “any” of those deliberations.

Second, she accuses me of lying.

Third, she asks that I correct my statement.

I instantly get nervous. Here I’ve been accused by Clinton’s possible Chief of Staff of lying. This is not a person you want to cross. Especially on Twitter. I’ll come back to that. Could I have gotten this so wrong?

I go back to the video. I watch it again. And there, at the 4:40 mark, just after DNC Platform Committee member Jim Zogby asks if there are any more questions, I can hear, off-camera, Cornel West talking about the Trump-like elements in the Israeli government—Netanyahu, Lieberman—and I can see Neera Tanden, on camera, rolling her eyes. 

I go back to Twitter and see that people are starting to point this out to her. 

But, maybe, I think to myself, the visuals I’m seeing of her next to Zogby were for another part of the hearings, having nothing to do with Israel/Palestine. 

But then someone on Twitter posts a still from that video, from just that moment.

Neera Tanden Screen Shot

There, in the upper left, it says, “Highlights: Democratic Platform Committee debate on Middle East.” So she was there, right?

But still no word from Tanden.

Then I think to myself: Wait a minute, I don’t know what Neera Tanden actually looks like. Sure, the person on camera is sitting in front of a name plate that says Neera Tanden, but maybe that’s not her? Maybe in DC circles it’s considered the height of cool to have a flunky sit in front of your name plate and pretend to be you? Maybe it’s gauche or Sanders-style old-fashioned—not retro chic, just dorky and dinosaur-ish, like labor unions and Social Security—to sit in front of your own name plate?

These thoughts are running through my head. Because I’m one of those people who, when accused of doing something wrong, instantly assumes my accuser is right. Why else would she say it if it weren’t true? This is someone who, come next January, could be one step away from the most powerful person on earth. She’s not crazy or stupid. She went to Yale. She must be right.

Just as I start feverishly googling images of Tanden—and truth be told, she doesn’t look in this photo the way she does in the other photos of her that I find online, so now I’m really panicking—she speaks. Or tweets.

Wexler is former Congressman Robert Wexler, who for most of the video clip that I watched is giving pro-Israel testimony before the Committee. Duss is Matt Duss, who used to work for the Center for American Progress, and is now at the Foundation for Middle East Peace. So what is Tanden saying? That because she missed Wexler’s testimony, which was about Israel/Palestine, but was there for Duss’s, which was—presumably—not about Israel/Palestine, she wasn’t there for any discussion of Israel/Palestine?

That seems like the only possible interpretation. I listen to the video again, though, and there, at 4:40 is the shot of Tanden and Zogby, with Cornel West talking about Netanyahu off camera, and then—voila!—at 4:51, Matt Duss appears on camera! Nodding his head as West continues talking, in what seems like a seamless auditory transition from when Tanden is on camera to when Duss is on camera. I’ve got the proof! Right?

Tanden tweets this.

What is she saying now? That the edited video is misleading, making it seem as if she was there when she wasn’t there. Or is she saying it was doctored? That West’s voice was somehow spliced in from a different part of the hearings? Suddenly, I think, maybe she’s right, maybe this is one of those gotcha type videos that people like James O’Keefe on the right specialize in.

She doubles down. 

What do I do? I watch the whole hearing.

Well, not the whole hearing, but a major chunk of it.

I go back to the original C-SPAN video, not the edited version on the Electronic Intifada site. I start at the 1:04 mark. What do I see? Sitting next to Zogby is someone different than the person who I (still) think (hope) is Neera Tanden. This non-Neera Tanden person starts introducing Wexler, but then interrupts herself to say that she is not in fact Neera Tanden, that Neera Tanden had to step outside. This non-Neera Tanden person is Carol Browner, she says, and she’s sitting in for Tanden. On the plus side, the name plate in front of her says that her name is Carol Browner. So people in DC do sit in front of their name plates after all. Phew. She finishes introducing Wexler, and he starts.

There’s a long back and forth; other panelists, including West, get in on the discussion; another person gives his testimony; and then, at the 1:37:43 mark, Tanden appears! Next to Zogby! But introducing someone who talks about climate policy.

I start to get nervous again. Maybe Tanden really wasn’t there for any discussion of the Middle East? Maybe the C-SPAN caption on that picture was wrong, maybe the video was doctored, maybe I’ve just embarrassed myself on social media, maybe I’ve just crossed someone whom you don’t want to cross. Especially on Twitter. I’ll come back to that.

But, wait, I remind myself, Tanden has said, a few tweets above, that she was there for Duss’s testimony, right? Duss is the head of the Foundation for Middle East Peace. He writes about Israel/Palestine all the time. So what else could he have been talking about if not Israel/Palestine?

Hmm, I think again, maybe he was talking about Syria, though, or Libya, or the Emirates. With a sense of dread, I keep watching.

At 1:49:59, I finally come to Duss. Zogby introduces him, Tanden’s still there, so that’s good, and he starts talking. About…Israel and Palestine! The importance of peace between the two peoples, ending the Occupation, how the conflict between Israel/Palestine generates resentment in the region of the whole, the importance of Israel’s security and Palestinians’ needs for self-determination. The entire statement he gives is about…Israel/Palestine! And Tanden is there for the entire time! She’s already admitted that, right?

And, then, at the very end of Duss’s statement, as Zogby asks if there are any questions, at 1:54:06, there is Tanden, still right next to him. The camera is on her and Zogby, for a moment of suspended silence, till finally we hear West start to pose his question to Duss—again, about Netanyahu and Trump-like elements in Israel—and Tanden does her thing.

There: I’ve got it, the proof I needed!

I turn back to Twitter. And here’s what I see:

Huh? She was gone for Wexler. Okay. But who said otherwise? And what does it even prove? Nothing at all. It’s just part of Tanden’s ever-shifting goal posts: She wasn’t there. She was there but only for Duss, with the implication being that he didn’t talk about Israel/Palestine, which he did. She missed Wexler’s testimony, which is neither here nor there.

So let’s recap.

Tanden said she wasn’t there for “any discussion of Israel/Palestine.” That’s not true. She was.

Tanden claimed that I was lying. That’s not true. I wasn’t.

Tanden asked me to correct my tweet. But what was there to correct?

And never once does she say: Sorry. I was wrong. I was there. I apologize for claiming you were lying. Not even one sentence of that.

And now we come to the biggest question of all: Why am I writing about something so stupid and small at 3 in the morning on a Friday night?

Three reasons. 

First, notice the amateurishness.

This is the head of a major DC think tank who could well be Hillary Clinton’s Chief of Staff. What is she doing on a Tuesday morning firing off salvoes at a Brooklyn College professor about a matter of not terribly great importance—and getting it completely wrong? And then, in response to evidence-laden refutations, either doubling down on the accusations or throwing up a lot of chaff? Tanden doesn’t go silent, which is what I thought people in these positions do in these situations (why she even got into it in the first place is an even greater mystery). She doesn’t issue a carefully worded correction. She doesn’t graciously apologize. She just flails around, hoping we won’t notice all the bullshit that’s flying around her.

One of the great mistakes I consistently make in political combat is to presume the basic competence of my opponents. But we’re not talking here about the amateur hour I’m used to dealing with. We’re talking about the, well, potential next Chief of Staff of the White House.

As someone said to me, it’s like Veep come to life. 

Tanden’s actually been called out for her erratic behavior on Twitter. Here’s her response:

You know… I know, I think I probably tweet too much. [Laughs] Just to be 100 percent candid about it, I worked for Hillary for a really long time and I feel protective of her. I feel protective particularly when progressives attack her as some kind of right-wing caricature. I feel like that’s ridiculous. I started working for Hillary in the ’90s. People called her a socialist before being a socialist was cool.. I will plead guilty to wanting to defend her and defend her strenuously on Twitter. But I’m willing to concede I should tweet less.

You think?

But in this instance, Tanden wasn’t tweeting in defense of Clinton. She was tweeting in defense of herself. Which brings me to…

…my second point.

Actually, it’s not mine. It’s Astra Taylor’s. Astra is a documentary filmmaker.

When someone commented on Facebook that they couldn’t understand why a powerful player in DC would be so obsessively monitoring her mentions on Twitter, particularly in response to a not terribly important person like me, Astra made a shrewd observation:

This election has really shown the people who feel entitled to rule the country to be deeply narcissistic and not busy doing anything of actual importance — this is the liberal version of Trump reading all his press/mentions every morning and sending “corrected” copies back to the journalists.

Exactly. 

Never underestimate the narcissism—or amateurishness—of America’s ruling classes. While people like Tanden are in meetings with other important people, where God knows what or whose fate gets decided, they’re keeping their eye on their Twitter mentions, making sure no one’s looking at them cross-eyed, making sure they’re someone whom you don’t want to cross. Especially on Twitter. I’ll come back to…no, actually, I won’t come back to that. Now I can come, at last, to that, my third point.

So Neera Tanden jumped to fame in my little world exactly five weeks ago, when she and blogger Matt Bruenig crossed swords. (You can read all about the substance of that spat in the various links regarding the incident that I’ve scattered throughout this piece.) Within 24 hours, Matt was fired from his position as a blogger at Demos. Since then, we’ve not heard a word from Matt, save one piece he wrote for Jacobin. A prolific blogger and social media presence, whose voice was everywhere, all the time, particularly on Twitter, has gone silent.*

Tanden has repeatedly claimed on Twitter that she had nothing to do with Bruenig’s firing. Until this weekend, I was inclined to believe her. Though Matt Yglesias had reported that someone or ones had in fact tried to contact Bruenig’s employer in the federal government (his main gig) to get him fired from that position in addition to the Demos position, I figured Demos preemptively did it, perhaps for fear of antagonizing Tanden. And behind her, the Clintons.

But here’s the thing. Tanden made up a story about her not being at the DNC platform hearings for “any discussions” of the Israel/Palestine conflict. She made up that story when there was publicly available and easily accessible evidence to the contrary. When she was challenged about her made-up story, she doubled down. She suggested that the edited video gave a misleading impression about her presence there. She accused me of being a liar and demanded that I retract my lie. She never once admitted that it was she, not me, who was not telling the truth. She never once apologized to me for claiming to her 25,000 followers that I was lying.

So I leave you with this question (and it really is a question): If Tanden can act this way in the face of verifiable evidence that’s plain as day, and there for everyone to see, when the stakes are so low, is it completely implausible that she would act in a roughly similar fashion when the evidence is not so publicly available and not so easily accessible and when the stakes are much higher? When she has an even stronger and more self-interested reason for covering her tracks?

But there I go again, presuming the basic competence of my opponents.

______________________

*Tragically—I am reluctant to say this, lest I be misunderstood or thought to be sensationalizing this case; I only mention it for the sake of full disclosure, so that no one thinks I was trying to hide this information in order to make my point about Matt’s silence—Matt’s 29-year-old sister was stabbed to death in Arlington, Texas last weekend.

 

100 Comments

  1. Samuel June 25, 2016 at 4:02 am | #

    “Take six minutes to watch Cornel West take on the DNC re Israel/Palestine, while Neera Tanden rolls her eyes.”

    “rolls her eyes”? How is this even the subject of a post, of any kind, even in the vapidity of Twitterdom

    • Will G-R June 25, 2016 at 5:49 am | #

      “I feel protective particularly when progressives attack her as some kind of right-wing caricature. I feel like that’s ridiculous. I started working for Hillary in the ’90s. People called her a socialist before being a socialist was cool.”

      Wait, so in the Neeraverse, Hillary is like some hipster proto-Bernie who’s so far left that leftists secretly hate her for out-lefting them? Could it be that Neera and William Lind are actually seeing eye to eye, and Hillary’s inner circle actually do think of themselves as righteous radicals working to subvert the ruling class from within just like how the reactionary fringe thinks of them as Stalinist Gramscian Frankfurt-School Cultural-Marxist fifth columnists? (In other words… shh, not so loud, Neera!)

      • Will G-R June 25, 2016 at 5:50 am | #

        Didn’t mean to reply to that comment, that was a general observation.

    • Tiercelet June 25, 2016 at 11:03 am | #

      Rolling one’s eyes is usually taken as a sign of frustration, impatience, or contempt. It is relevant that a highly placed “progressive” and close associate of a likely Presidential nominee reacts in this fashion to discussion of a major political issue, particularly when it deals with ethnic conflict and human rights.

      I also seem to remember eye rolls being a major discussion point for television and print news during some presidential debates 16 years ago…

    • Paul Surovell June 25, 2016 at 2:43 pm | #

      Rolling eyes is not such a big deal, but lying, especially when confronted with the facts, is a big deal.

    • different clue June 27, 2016 at 4:00 am | #

      Because it shows the modus operandi of a prominent Clintonite in particular, and thus by extension may be taken as a case study in how Clintonites function in general. If you want to treat cancer, you have to understand how cancer cells behave. If you want to treat sleeping sickness, you have to understand the specifics of how tsetse flies and trypanosomes function.

    • You asked for it June 28, 2016 at 2:30 pm | #

      This whole thing boils down to the fact that Clinton supporters are fed up to their eyebrows with Bernie stans lying about Hillary. Period. They’re sick and tired and won’t take it any more.

      It just came out yesterday that his campaign staff was instructed to buy 2-headed coins to be used to break ties at the caucuses. They set out to cheat, and they’ve been cheated from the start, when they stole Clinton’s data and used it for fundraising. They sent out emails and letters to Clinton voters, telling them the wrong times and dates for caucuses, they’ve done all sorts of things to tamper with the electorate. Over and over, it’s a pattern.

      Bernie has FEC violations and that trip to Rome was paid for by his contributors, which is another illegal use of campaign funds. And the whole time, he’s lobbing false accusations about Hillary. So if someone makes a quick tweet in response to another BS issue from the Sanders camp, you can understand it. This is what happens when you’ve had to deal with one false accusation after the other. So why doesn’t Bernie and his delusional cult shut up and accept defeat? Nothing you do at the Convention or to the Platform is going to make any difference. She will be elected and do what Democrats want her to do, not what Socialists want. Bernie is such a hypocrite to begin with, he was never a Democrat and deserves no voice in our party.

  2. mx June 25, 2016 at 4:19 am | #

    Wow the scandal of the century right here.

    • paintedjaguar June 26, 2016 at 6:57 pm | #

      Guess you’ve always had other people to do your maintenance and are comfortable enough to trash anything broken and buy new. So here’s a life lesson — let the small things go and pretty soon you have real problems to deal with.

  3. Robert D. Skeels * rdsathene June 25, 2016 at 4:39 am | #

    It would seem that she’s constitutionally incapable of telling the truth. I suppose that’s an upside for folks imposing neoliberal policies on the rest of us.

    • calling all toasters June 25, 2016 at 3:32 pm | #

      But she is telling the truth and Corey isn’t. Do I have to make a generalization about leftists now? I’d rather not sink that low.

      • Robert D. Skeels * rdsathene June 26, 2016 at 12:44 am | #

        How is your right-of-center friend telling the truth? She has been impeached by her own testimony. I’m baffled by your statement given the overwhelming preponderance of evidence. If I was the bench officer at this trial, I would have granted motion for summary judgement since no reasonable person would find any facts in dispute here.

  4. Robert D. Skeels * rdsathene June 25, 2016 at 5:02 am | #

    It’s speaks volumes to how far the right Tanden (and CAP) are, that she doesn’t understand why Clinton is cast as a “right-wing caricature” by the left. No one on the left I know has ever accused Clinton of being a socialist, even during the 1990s. I do recall folks like reactionary Pat Buchanan doing that, but in all honesty the Clintons’ politics are only marginally to the left of his.

  5. John Cocula June 25, 2016 at 5:16 am | #

    Texas, not Virginia, right? Poor woman, and poor family…

    • Corey Robin June 25, 2016 at 7:54 am | #

      Oof, yes, you’re right. Fixed.

  6. Ramesh June 25, 2016 at 5:18 am | #

    Corey, when this whole episode was unwinding, you stayed cool and did not participate till the end. I thought then that you were practicing Sun Tzu.

    Boy was I wrong. Now you tell us you were sweating it out in panic mode.

    Neera has been trolling even innocuous threads at 2am to cover for her idol, er Shillary, er HRC.

    https://twitter.com/Deir_in_DC/status/745498263227273219

    Thank you for sharing your experiences here.

    Very illuminating.

    • Ramesh June 25, 2016 at 6:44 am | #

      I am getting too old for twitter. FWIW I was watching live on twitter :

      1. Matt Bruenig and Neera interaction
      2. Elizabeth Bruenig and Joshua Frost interaction
      3. Neera and Coryn interaction

      My heart can’t take all this punishment. 🙂

      Peace.

      • Ramesh June 25, 2016 at 6:53 am | #

        Sorry. These Android devices are messing me up with spelling correction.

        It is Neera and Corey interaction.

      • Tiff June 25, 2016 at 11:30 am | #

        What was the Elizabeth and Josh thing about? Can you link me to it?

  7. John June 25, 2016 at 5:27 am | #

    Yes. Thank you. It’s good to know how these people try to rule us.

  8. patthale June 25, 2016 at 8:52 am | #

    Revealing story, which coins a new hashtag. #WhichNeera.

    • calling all toasters June 25, 2016 at 3:30 pm | #

      The “Neera” who was there during Wexler’s testimony was Carol Browner. The “”Neera” who was there for Duss was Neera Tanden. Just as the Neera Tanden on Twitter said. EXACTLY as she said.

      It’s obvious when you look at the C-SPAN version. Wonder how Corey missed that?

      • Nina Illingworth (@NinaDontPlayMtG) June 25, 2016 at 10:00 pm | #

        Which is complete irrelevant to the author’s point and statement; she was totally rolling her eyes while West was speaking. Why do you bother posting when literally everyone here has clearly written you off as a shill?

      • Nina Illingworth (@NinaDontPlayMtG) June 25, 2016 at 10:09 pm | #

        You actually ticked me off so much I went up and got the part that proves literally every message you’ve posted on this story is utter crap:

        “at 1:49:59, I finally come to Duss. Zogby introduces him, Tanden’s still there, so that’s good, and he starts talking. About…Israel and Palestine! The importance of peace between the two peoples, ending the Occupation, how the conflict between Israel/Palestine generates resentment in the region of the whole, the importance of Israel’s security and Palestinians’ needs for self-determination. The entire statement he gives is about…Israel/Palestine! And Tanden is there for the entire time! She’s already admitted that, right?

        And, then, at the very end of Duss’s statement, as Zogby asks if there are any questions, at 1:54:06, there is Tanden, still right next to him. The camera is on her and Zogby, for a moment of suspended silence, till finally we hear West start to pose his question to Duss—again, about Netanyahu and Trump-like elements in Israel—and Tanden does her thing.

        There: I’ve got it, the proof I needed!”

        Jesus man, it’s literally printed right on screen.

  9. lass June 25, 2016 at 9:57 am | #

    It’s good practice her when she has to do the “it depends on what the meaning of “is” is, Slick Willy’s famous line.

  10. John Maher June 25, 2016 at 10:03 am | #

    The Corey posts are so worthwhile because of the trenchant articulations of what everyone observes, like a Boswell of American politics. This one is very arche “One of the great mistakes I consistently make in political combat is to presume the basic competence of my opponents.”

    For the record: Neera was ‘there’ but hiding under her desk in fear of the imaginary Serbian snipers who who were still after Hillary, and her staff, years later. While under such fire, Neera was not technically ‘there’, however when her head pops up she is ‘there’ unless it is decoy Neera for purposes of announcing that the real Neera is not . . . . Either that or the Schroedinger’s chief of staff phenomena found its way to C SPAN.

    In meta terms the classic neoliberal divert strategy of focusing on everything except Dr. West’s eloquent argument was achieved.

    I would have wrote “heighth of cool” instead of height.

  11. Jonnybutter June 25, 2016 at 10:32 am | #

    I find this a little chilling, because she doesn’t care if you can easily find out she’s lying, and doesn’t care about the rest of it

    • k e June 25, 2016 at 12:01 pm | #

      “I find this a little chilling, because she doesn’t care if you can easily find out she’s lying, and doesn’t care about the rest of it”

      This tactic is strangely common among the foundation of Dem party leadership (and their aides).

      Is this written about somewhere in the DLC playbook? When they discussed the use of regulation as a bargaining chip, there were mentions of which sort statements (re bargaining with regulation) can’t make it into public discourse. But I wonder if lying (and getting away with it) has its own chapter somewhere.

      Gephardt, show us the way. I won’t tell anyone, I promise.

    • Ziad Khan June 25, 2016 at 12:28 pm | #

      Well that’s very consistent with her idols #WitchKillary #IllClinton #Clintons’ pathological lying talk record. Why else would she get this inside the circle…

    • calling all toasters June 25, 2016 at 3:16 pm | #

      Only she’s not lying. You can clearly see at 3:18 that the person next to Zogby is wearing a white top (i.e. not a black top as Tanden was). She wasn’t there until just before Duss.

      But everyone should proceed with talking about how “chilling” this is. And if you run out of material here, there’s always talk radio to tell scary stories about center-left women Democrats.

      • Scott Draper June 25, 2016 at 10:40 pm | #

        Corey watched the original C-SPAN footage and pointed this out:

        And, then, at the very end of Duss’s statement, as Zogby asks if there are any questions, at 1:54:06, there is Tanden, still right next to him. The camera is on her and Zogby, for a moment of suspended silence, till finally we hear West start to pose his question to Duss—again, about Netanyahu and Trump-like elements in Israel—and Tanden does her thing.

    • jonnybutter June 25, 2016 at 8:29 pm | #

      Yes, it’s chilling bc she doesn’t care one way or another. The same way it’s chilling (to me) that they don’t care about the effect/opportunity cost on the country of their humiliatingly stupid rhetoric – e.g. not just ‘will that end racism/sexism?’ but ‘will that end racism/sexism tomorrow?’ – gotta put ‘tomorrow’ in there just to make it technically undeniable. Lawyers. It’s just gross and stupid and ppl deserve better – women, as a political class, certainly deserve way better.

      Why did she tweet CR in the first place? What difference does it make to anyone?

  12. Lynn Sutherland June 25, 2016 at 11:53 am | #

    What this incident represents is how Clinton and Co. operate and it terrifies me. They crush the opposition with sneers, lies and more–as the Bruenig episode illustrates. They want to destroy their “enemies.” There is no other vision other than power and the will to win. But, as despair continues to intensify, without Bernie there is no other option–is there? What are you going to do–I really want to know.

    • calling all toasters June 25, 2016 at 3:37 pm | #

      Tanden didn’t sneer and she didn’t lie. Bruenig and Corey (ahem) were mistaken. Bruenig is the biggest sneerer on the internet.

      If you’re that married to slurring anyone associated with Hillary, you should probably vote Trump. Bernie didn’t sneer at her or lie about her, and Trump has and will. So there you go.

      • William Holt June 25, 2016 at 4:53 pm | #

        I think Corey’s explanation is more than obvious, and his laying out of details is meticulous. What part of his post do you dispute?

        • calling all toasters June 25, 2016 at 5:40 pm | #

          William–

          Thanks for your civil reply.

          The original tweet said: “Take six minutes to watch Cornel West take on the DNC re Israel/Palestine, while Neera Tanden rolls her eyes.”
          William–

          Thanks for your civil reply.

          The original tweet said: “Take six minutes to watch Cornel West take on the DNC re Israel/Palestine, while Neera Tanden rolls her eyes.”

          (continued in next reply)

          • calling all toasters June 25, 2016 at 5:41 pm | #

            (continued)
            1) While Cornel West was “taking on the DNC,” Tanden was not present. It is a bit of dishonest editing by Electronic Intifada. Electronic Intifada is not criticized for this, and Corey doesn’t admit the mistake.
            2) She doesn’t roll her eyes at all. I understand that she makes Corey angry, and in that state he will see what he wants to see, but that is not an eyeroll.
            3) Tanden makes a mistake by saying that she wasn’t there for Israel-Palestine discussion, then corrects it (without prompting from Corey) to saying that she was there for Duss but not Wexler. But the “eyeroll” clip has a soundtrack of West arguing with Wexler. Which was the original point. He accuses her of moving the goalposts, but the “goalpost” was her disrespect for Cornel West. HE was the one moving the goalposts.

            Corey’s conclusion: “Tanden claimed that I was lying. That’s not true. I wasn’t. Tanden asked me to correct my tweet. But what was there to correct?”

            Well, what he said in his original tweet is glaringly wrong. It may have been a mistake when he posted it, but by continuing to defend it it has now become a lie.

      • Robert D. Skeels * rdsathene June 26, 2016 at 1:11 am | #

        Hey “calling all toasters”, are you an anonymous account of reactionary John Podesta? Tell the truth, we won’t tell anyone. It will be our secret, like a mail server or something.

  13. Joe June 25, 2016 at 12:00 pm | #

    I agree with Jonnybutter above: The most disturbing aspect of this is that Tanden doesn’t seem to care about being caught in her lies (insignificant as those particular lies may be).

    • calling all toasters June 25, 2016 at 3:18 pm | #

      It’s incredibly disturbing. She didn’t roll her eyes and she wasn’t there for most or nearly all of Wexler, but to straight-out DENY IT when accused? How dare she?!

  14. mikethemadbiologist June 25, 2016 at 12:20 pm | #

    What I’m not looking forward to in a Clinton administration (among other things) is this kind of self-inflicted wound. Progressives (and there aren’t enough of us lefties so we do need them) will have to waste their time defending stupid crap like this, instead of pushing ahead with their agenda(s).

    Definitely not something I miss from the 1990s.

  15. Carolyn Porter June 25, 2016 at 12:26 pm | #

    Have to admit I found this a moving account by Corey R. First, because
    I share his sensibility in always fearing I might be mistaken, and often
    assuming the powerful are competent. Secondly, because his point about
    the narcissism of these people rings true. Cf. recent piece by idolatrous
    Rebecca Traister on Hilary in NYMagazine, where we learn that when
    Hillary and Bill have some free time at night off the campaign trail, they
    watch themselves — i.e., “Secretary of State,” “The Good Wife,” and even
    “House of Cards.” And Traister doesn’t even seem to think this is telling.

  16. xenon2 June 25, 2016 at 1:39 pm | #

    I received an email from Sanders 2 days ago, in which he asks me to comment
    on which one these items matters to me: jobs, civil rights, anti-TPP, etc.

    Then, Sanders offers ‘the 2-state solution’ to the I/P conflict.
    Someone needs to tell him that the ‘2-state solution’ has been
    dead in the water for a long, long time.Sanders is talking about
    the ‘2-state solution’ like Obama, Kerry or Hillary.

    Cornel West Is a good person to have on the team that is going to write the
    Democratic Party platform, but how often is the party platform carried out?
    For leftist-writer, the chances for elitist-president carrying out the platform are
    0.

  17. Edgar June 25, 2016 at 1:46 pm | #

    You sound way too much like you’re clutching your pearls at Tanden. Not everyone has the incredible integrity that you have.

  18. Edgar June 25, 2016 at 1:49 pm | #

    You’re allowed to post all over Twitter and run a blog but Tanden isn’t because something something do run the country stuff? *eyeroll* All of a student she’s a narcissist for doing the same thing you’re doing. Okay…

  19. MDA June 25, 2016 at 2:08 pm | #

    But Neera did accomplish a lot in terms of her interests: She put you, a rather prominent left critic of her boss, through hell; exhausted you mentally; distracted you into following up and writing a detailed blog post. And she expended very little energy doing so. No parity here at all in terms of your resources spent vs hers. Meanwhile she’s completely immune to any accountability for lying, as long as she “moves the chains” for Team Hillary — which she did here. There’s also a good chance you’ll think twice next time about calling Neera out—you’ll probably hesitate a bit more than you would have before this experience; spend more time making sure all your i’s are dotted/t’s crossed to make sure you don’t make a mistake before tweeting out something critical about her; or you might even decide not to call her out on some of the things you otherwise would have, because of the hassle and stress it could cause, because you also have a personal life.

    So in rank DC terms, Neera did her job right. It’s why she’s advanced so high up the ladder. Having a conscience is a severe disability in Washington, a disability which she clearly isn’t burdened with. It’s why she’ll be setting policy for this country for the next 8 years.

    • tony June 26, 2016 at 1:07 pm | #

      Not sure about that. Robin’s time is less valuable (sorry Corey) in political terms because he has less political power. And now people who care less about her can just link this when calling her out on something, demonstrating a history of lies.

  20. calling all toasters June 25, 2016 at 2:39 pm | #

    It’s clear that Tanden is telling the truth. We don’t see her until about the 4:40 point, just about a minute before the testimony switches to Duss. Zogby is to her left (as we view them). At 3:18 we see Zogby with the elbow of a person wearing a white top to his right. Tanden was not wearing a white top. We can only conclude that Tanden arrived between 3:18 and 4:40, and was not present for most of Wexler’s questioning.

    Corey is wrong. Team Bruenig is now down 2-0 vs. Team Tanden. Vengeance isn’t his yet.

    Oh, and of course there’s no eye-rolling.

    • Roqeuntin June 28, 2016 at 4:02 pm | #

      How much are you getting paid to do posts like these? I’m not familiar with the going rate for a PR flak on social media.

  21. Voltarine June 25, 2016 at 3:17 pm | #

    And the winner of the Rahm Emanuel Award is…

  22. sholtsterholt June 25, 2016 at 4:23 pm | #

    What is not normal about rolling your eyes at Cornel West? That’s normal behavior.

  23. William Holt June 25, 2016 at 4:47 pm | #

    This caught my attention because I had already seen the impatience, the open contempt Neera displayed while Dr. West was speaking. I’ve mentioned it several times in my previous Tweets. Your story is just a confirmation of what I was seeing in Neera: someone who can barely contain their disgust when a progressive is talking. I even compared her to Rahm Emanuel in his dislike for the Left, which he called, “F—ing stupid!”.

  24. Glenn June 25, 2016 at 5:17 pm | #

    For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
    For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
    For want of a horse the rider was lost.
    For want of a rider the message was lost.
    For want of a message the battle was lost.
    For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
    And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.

    Thank you for this post, Cory.

    I always try to be accurate in my discussions, not because a kingdom depends upon the facts, but because my understanding of the world I share with others depends upon facts.

    The problem with being reality-based in formation of opinions means considering the accuracy of facts, especially in the construction of a myth, or an untruth.

    • calling all toasters June 25, 2016 at 5:56 pm | #

      Yep, democracy was destroyed by Neera Tanden rolling her eyes at Cornel West and lying that she didn’t. Except she didn’t roll her eyes at West and was therefore telling the truth. Democracy is saved!

      • Glenn June 25, 2016 at 6:15 pm | #

        Thank you for your response Neera Tanden.

  25. Andrew June 25, 2016 at 6:00 pm | #

    Can’t say I’m too surprised. The same neo-liberal gadflys who helped get Bruenig fired were defending Femme_Esq’s disgusting tweet about the 2-year-old getting killed by the alligator. Sady Doyle came to her defense and tried to spin it as something else entirely even though Femme_Esq kept doubling down and making her opinion worse. I heard she got fired. I find some irony in those folks going from trying to get Bruenig fired to caping for her. I feel bad that she got fired, but maybe being an attorney is not the best fit for someone lacking in empathy.

    I’m seeing similar behavior with regard to the minimum wage vote, it’s reportedly part of the platform, but the exact language is unclear I just know that the part is in favor of a higher minimum wage, but it’s unclear if they’ve given a set amount or recommended that be up to the states. An amendment to it that would have indexed it to inflation was voted down.

    So yeah, this looks to be a pretty ugly lead up to the convention.

  26. Corey Robin June 25, 2016 at 6:08 pm | #

    Calling all toasters writes: ‘But the “eyeroll” clip has a soundtrack of West arguing with Wexler. Which was the original point….Well, what he [Corey] said in his original tweet is glaringly wrong. It may have been a mistake when he posted it, but by continuing to defend it it has now become a lie.’

    You’re incorrect. If you read the entire post, you’ll see that there is the Electronic Intifada video clip and then there is the original C-SPAN video. If you go to the C-SPAN original video — again, this is all in my post — you will see that the eyeroll occurs while West is talking with DUSS, not with Wexler. Tanden was present while Duss was there. She is rolling her eyes at what West is saying to Duss about the Israel/Palestine conflict.

    Calling all toasters also writes: ‘Tanden makes a mistake by saying that she wasn’t there for Israel-Palestine discussion, then corrects it (without prompting from Corey) to saying that she was there for Duss but not Wexler.’

    When Tanden says she was there for Duss but not Wexler she adds a critical qualification: ‘Q’s on conflict were during Wexler.’ In other words, the Israel-Palestine discussion — that is what “conflict” is referring to — occurred, according to Tanden, during the Wexler testimony, not during the Duss testimony. Therefore, she doesn’t in fact correct herself quickly at all. She merely restates the non-truth she originally uttered. And in fact, what little “correction” does offer here did take quite a bit of prompting, not from me, but from many people on Twitter.

    Again, all of this is in the original post. And merely required a moment’s not particularly careful reading rather than the drive-by carelessness we see on parade here from Toaster. I might add that in calling me a liar, Toaster does an excellent job of not supporting Tanden — that would require some basic mastery of the facts — but of imitating her. Bravo.

  27. Raven Onthill June 25, 2016 at 7:15 pm | #

    It’s the political style of the old days, when video records were not widely available. You could lie about what you said, and discussion would devolved into he said/she said. No longer the case; anyone who wants to spend a little time with the video can see what she said.

  28. Fun with Psychos June 25, 2016 at 7:45 pm | #

    Wow, you went through all that just to find out Neera Tanden lies like a rug?

    https://wikileaks.org/clinton-emails/?q=tanden&mfrom=&mto=&title=&notitle=&date_from=&date_to=&nofrom=&noto=&count=50&sort=0#searchresult

    Here, this will keep you busy for a decade.

  29. Sam Alexander June 25, 2016 at 8:54 pm | #

    I don’t get it. Why is eye rolling an issue for you?

  30. logic_is_best June 25, 2016 at 9:23 pm | #

    So, let’s cut to the key conclusion. What does it take to be accepted by HRC as a staff member?
    This little demonstration by Neera Tanden clearly shows that it is not brains or honesty. Suckup is the term that comes to mind.
    Was HRC well served by the subservience of her staff in accepting her use of a private email server?
    No one had enough gumption and/or intelligence to lay the most likely repercussions on the table?
    So, as President, will HRC change her personality or approach as to who advises her? Chief of Staff? I shudder to imagine the screwups that are likely.

  31. sashi June 25, 2016 at 11:14 pm | #

    Sad piece, though brilliantly written. Will you be taking up the Puerto Rican cause soon and asking the question of why Bernie’s counter-plan for a less colonial bailout did not get discussed at the platform committee? (unless I’m mistaken and I did get discussed, but seeing as you’ve been through all of the C-Span video you probably are quite sure one way or another…)

  32. Theo June 25, 2016 at 11:35 pm | #

    Corey, you are a great guy, but ban “calling all toasters.” He’s a waste of everyone’s time. Enough is enough.

    As to Neera Tanden, it is worrying how really nasty and narcissistic these people are. Clinton’s mendacious to the core, it looks like all the people who surround her are too.

    • hunkerdown June 26, 2016 at 3:44 pm | #

      Regime apologists aren’t people. D0x them right down to the color and style of their pubes.

  33. Will Boisvert June 26, 2016 at 1:01 am | #

    I watched the uncut video, and Tanden didn’t roll her eyes at all.

  34. Debra Cooper June 26, 2016 at 1:51 am | #

    I agree with Will Boisvert, Neera didn’t roll her eyes. She looked tired and exhausted as one could tell by the state of her hair and demeanor. She was just trying real hard to keep them open.

    Neera is usually very tidy, neat and well groomed. As someone who has known her for a long time, it is clear she is tired.

    I think Hillary would just as likely ask one of her other long time colleagues to be Chief of Staff…like Cheryl Mills or Melanne Verveer or Maggie Williams. Maybe even John Podesta himself. Though it could be Neera, but then someone else would have to go to CAP to run it.

  35. Samuel June 26, 2016 at 3:09 am | #

    As several people have pointed out, the entire “eye rolling” premise of this tempest in a teapot is ridiculous.

    Trying to pin “eye rolling” on Neera Tanden, when there is nothing obviously untoward about Neera Tanden’s eye movements, whatsoever, is the height of absurdity and pettiness.

  36. logic_is_best June 26, 2016 at 3:40 am | #

    please, a kind and logical suggestion is to let Neera herself defend her eye movements, facial expressions, scruffy appearance, and lack of interest. Clearly she was absent for a large part of the steering committee meeting and then when she did come she looked extremely tired – if we are be generous?
    Way to show respect to the Democratic Party Neera and indeed the country.

  37. Ramesh June 26, 2016 at 9:23 am | #

    Corey’s first book on FEAR is being played out here via Neera and her influence.

    https://coreyrobin.com/?s=Fear

    Do read ‘History of Fear’ series of posts.

  38. Ramesh June 26, 2016 at 9:29 am | #

    True confession: Sometimes I feel bad for Hillary Clinton

    https://coreyrobin.com/2016/04/03/true-confession-sometimes-i-feel-bad-for-hillary-clinton/

    I read the above post about three months ago. It is very moving and feels like I read it a lifetime ago.

  39. Ramesh June 26, 2016 at 9:33 am | #

    Was Carl Schmitt Right After All?

    https://coreyrobin.com/2016/05/10/was-carl-schmitt-right-after-all/

    The current conflicts within Democrats are best shown in the above post . I found it very insightful.

  40. Stephen Caird June 26, 2016 at 10:33 am | #

    Literalist trolling by “calling all toasters.” Puzzlement from folks who don’t see eye-rolling or contempt. Next there will be arguments about fonts and flag pins.

    Lots of focus on the little insect wandering around in the field of view, but no awareness that it’s walking on moss, or that the moss is growing on a tree, or that the tree is part of a forest.

    In other words, contentious blather about tiny details, when the larger picture is pretty clear: the Clinton camp is in full hippy-punching mode. Thanks, Big Dog. Thanks, Rahmbo. Thanks, Hillary and proxies. Never let a real progressive voice or reasonable concern go unmolested.

  41. John Maher June 26, 2016 at 11:28 am | #

    Almost no one commented upon what Dr. Wests had to say. He is always amazing and speaks deep thoughts even when he uses questionable rhetoric such as about valuing precious children across cultural lines.

  42. Greyson Smythe June 26, 2016 at 11:42 am | #

    “…about a matter of not terribly great importance—and getting it completely wrong”

    She wasn’t “getting it completely wrong”; she was bullying. Bullying!

  43. Nell June 26, 2016 at 11:45 am | #

    Some of the AlGae in the pond responds with even more name-callng and less substance than usual, so I think this post struck a little nerve.

  44. Tina-Desiree Berg June 26, 2016 at 1:14 pm | #

    Ha! She trolled me when I called her out on partnering with AEI. Then- after she got schooled by me she blocked me.

  45. Stephen Fretz June 26, 2016 at 6:15 pm | #

    How is she incompetent? She made you waste hours of your time, and still left anyone who’s just casually following this the impression you’re wrong. There’s very much a method to what she does.

  46. Edward June 26, 2016 at 6:34 pm | #

    It’s still better then Sen. McCain playing video poker during a senate hearing on war with Iran.

  47. intheivy June 26, 2016 at 7:05 pm | #

    I cannot imagine that any person who is in the Clinton inner circle has any measurable ethical standard.
    On second thought, I suppose that there could be someone in the Clinton inner circle who is simply naive and/or ignorant.
    Thanks for writing this article; it perfectly encapsulates the mind-numbingly asinine extent to which Clinton and her ilk will go to avoid admitting any wrongdoing.

  48. Samuel June 26, 2016 at 10:20 pm | #

    Just to be clear, it is possible to read all the storm und drang of this thread, beginning with the original post about so-called “trolling” and “eye rolling”, as straight out of the Onion. This is a distraction, but, ultimately, more entertaining than, in any way, enlightening.

  49. Ramesh June 27, 2016 at 2:55 am | #

    In a bad way Neera brings together people on Twitter via fear, pain and suffering. I vote for Neera to be made a new cabinet level post of Fear, Pain and Suffering to who do not worship her idol.

  50. Procopius June 27, 2016 at 10:23 am | #

    I didn’t bother reading the whole thing. My take was her first tweet meant that her purpose of being at the committee was other than to discuss Palestinian issues. She was not there for that reason, so it was a distraction/deviation from the reason she was there. If that isn’t what she meant, who cares? We already know Hillary has sworn allegiance to Netanyahu and Likud.

  51. Rolf Wiegand June 27, 2016 at 6:06 pm | #

    Ms. Tandem’s behavior, to me, echoes that of her employer.

  52. Rolf Wiegand June 27, 2016 at 6:07 pm | #

    Tanden. She’s in tandem with her boss, but she’s Tanden.

  53. von Lmo June 28, 2016 at 4:32 am | #

    “What Difference Does It Make?”

  54. Roqeuntin June 28, 2016 at 3:32 pm | #

    Man, I just got back from vacation. What a shitstorm. I have only one observation to add.

    While on this trip I read nearly all of that Kitty Kelly biography of Nancy Reagan you spoke so highly of. It’s appropriate because that was the entire pathology of Nancy Reagan. She meticulously controlled the image of both herself and Ronnie. There’s a part where Kelly specifically talks about how she wouldn’t even accept contact sheets with her photos to choose which were and weren’t acceptable. She had to have boxes of hundreds and hundreds of photos, blown up, delivered to her each week. It cost the taxpayers thousands. Sadly, this is the psychological makeup of many people who are driven to be both in the public eye and who seek public office. They are hopelessly vain, and the cardinal sin is making them look bad.

    That’s what you did to Tanden. You may feel like a nobody, but even the tiniest blemish on the image is intolerable.

  55. WaltzWaltWalzer June 28, 2016 at 6:57 pm | #

    Late to this, but it strikes me there’s a very simple explanation of Tanden’s claim about not being there for any discussion of Israel-Palestine because she missed Wexler’s talk and only arrived for Duss: only views such as Wexler’s qualify as “discussions of Israel-Palestine.” More critical or pro-Palestinian points of view (such as Duss or Zogby) are cavil, rants, or slander, but are irrelevant to “discussions” of I-P.

Leave a Reply