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Obama Administration Loses its Glamorous Power Nerd

2:17 PM, Jun 22, 2010 • By MARY KATHARINE HAM
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Well, the most glamorous power nerd after Barack Obama, of course. Office of Management and Budget head Peter Orszag is leaving the White House, Robert Gibbs confirmed in the White House press briefing today. He will be the first member of the Obama cabinet to leave the administration. 

Orszag is likely to leave for a think tank job before the Obama administration begins its next budget. And, who can blame him? It's been a rough year and a half for a numbers man:

A former director of the Congressional Budget Office, Orszag has worked to advance two of Obama’s top legislative priorities: the $862 billion economic stimulus measure passed in February 2009 and the $940 billion health-care overhaul passed in March. As director of the budget office, he prepared both of Obama’s first two spending blueprints.

Now, perhaps Washington types can stop falling all over themselves to declare that a nasal-voiced, possibly toupeed accountant "made nerdy sexy." Has there ever been such a frenzy of vicarious self-validation by nerdy reporters writing swoony profiles of a nerdy presidential appointee? 

Perhaps I'm biased because it is well-known that my power-nerd preference is for the much more unassuming (not to mention, more often correct) current Congressional Budget Office chief, Douglas Elmendorf. But I think what bothers me more than Orszag's nabbing of Elmendorf's rightful title is that to grant that Orszag "made nerdy sexy," Washington politely ignored that what earned him the honor was that this "divorced father of two with a very important job [got] very publicly engaged to a 31-year-old financial correspondent for ABC News, Bianna Golodryga, just weeks after his ex-girlfriend gave birth to his daughter."

That doesn't deserve a blog dedicated to his alleged sexiness. Give me Douglas Elmendorf, devoted, constant father and family man, any day. That's the kind of guy you need looking after your budget.

Politico looks at possible replacements, and they're mostly insiders

Presidential advisers say a possible successor as director of the Office of Management and Budget is Rob Nabors, who was Orszag's deputy and went over to the Chief of Staff’s office to be a senior adviser to Rahm Emanuel. Nabors now he attends the 7:30 a.m. senior staff meeting and insiders say his stock never dropped, but only gained in value.

Two other possible replacements each served as chief economic adviser to President Bill Clinton: Laura D’Andrea Tyson of the University of California at Berkeley, named by Obama as a member of the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board; and Gene Sperling, now a counselor to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner

Will they bring the sexy required to launch a thousand gushy profiles? Here's one of Orszag's greatest hits, in which he explains that Obamacare must and will require rationing by an unelected board, despite the fact that Obama claimed it wouldn't:

I look forward to the first gushy profile of Indiana Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels, power nerd and former OMB head, for his very sexy pork-loin sandwich habit and paper-clip pinching. I won't hold my breath.

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