On Tuesday, the New York Times published a truly bonkers story about the head of the Center for American Progress, Neera Tanden, and her many ongoing feuds online with anyone who has ever been mildly critical of Hillary Clinton.
Less logged-on folks might remember Tanden for her suggestion that Libya ought to use its oil reserves to pay the U.S. back for the cost of bombing it. Here, however, are the most bewildering parts of the Times story, which focuses on her role as the president of the country’s most prominent liberal think tank:
1. Tanden once assaulted a ThinkProgress staff member because she was mad that he asked Hillary Clinton about her Iraq war vote. That staff member, Faiz Shakir, went on to become Bernie Sanders’ campaign manager.
Ms. Tanden responded by circling back to Mr. Shakir after the interview and, according to a person in the room, punching him in the chest.
“I didn’t slug him, I pushed him,” a still angry Ms. Tanden corrected in a recent interview.
2. The amount of money CAP receives from Mark Zuckerberg’s personal foundation “surged to $665,000 in 2018 from $15,000 in 2017.” That’s 44 times bigger. This came as Facebook struggled with the revelations from the Cambridge Analytica scandal, and also like 400 stories every other day about how deeply fucked up they are.
3. Those aren’t the only awful donations: CAP took $2.5 million from the United Arab Emirates between 2016 and 2018, though it says it decided to stop taking their money in December. The UAE is a brutal, repressive regime that reportedly engages in torture and sexual abuse of prisoners across Yemen.
4. In 2015, Tanden invited racist Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak at CAP. After his remarks, which were protested by some CAP staff members, Tanden wrote in an email that “the ‘far left hates me” for hosting Netanyahu—gee, I wonder why—but the invitation “may have sealed the deal with a new board member.” She was right. Jonathan Lavine, a “pro-Israel philanthropist,” joined the board shortly after. “So Netanyahu was worth it,” she wrote in an email. (Lavine, the Times noted, is no longer on the board.)
5. This paragraph:
One recent night, Ms. Tanden feuded on Twitter with liberals over whether Mrs. Clinton condemned far-right hatemongers strongly enough more than two years ago. The online bickering raged for an hour, drawing trolls from both factions, when the woman originally targeted by Ms. Tanden’s tweets delivered a wake-up call: “neera, you’re responding to a graduate student on Twitter at 1:40 am.”
A reminder: Tanden was reportedly being considered to be Hillary Clinton’s chief of staff if she won the 2016 election.
In another Times story published today, meanwhile, it was revealed that Tanden was a fixture at “a series of previously undisclosed Democratic dinners in New York and Washington organized by the longtime party financier Bernard Schwartz,” where the topic of “What To Do About Bernie” was discussed.
Where are the “What To Do About Neera” dinners, one wonders?