How the White House botched the Neera Tanden nomination

For a while, the White House felt Tanden would avoid her current fate. She atoned for her now infamous Twitter behavior and put forward her personal story of a hardscrabble life, living on food stamps and raised by a single mother. And allies like former Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who consults frequently with the White House, predicted that both parties would get on board due to the historic nature of her nomination: Tanden would become the first South Asian woman to head up the agency. Inside the White House, endorsements from the Chamber of Commerce and former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels — an ex-OMB chief himself — were pushed out in hopes that they would give Republicans cover to back her.

Elsewhere, there was a belief that the Trump years, in which the Senate confirmed Mick Mulvaney and Russ Vought as OMB directors after long careers in conservative politics, would make it difficult to oppose a nominee because of the tenor of her tweets…

But those bets weren’t supplemented by an aggressive lobbying effort on Tanden’s behalf. One senior Democratic Senate staffer complained that even early on in her confirmation fight, the White House was lackluster in its advocacy for her and tone-deaf to the chillier reception she was getting on the Hill. There were questions about how many champions she even had at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.