Peter Orszag, director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, will leave the Obama administration in July, making him the first cabinet-level official to resign. According to The New York Times, Orszag never planned to stay more than two years, and his resignation puts him in line with most other OMB directors, whose tenures rarely lasted beyond 24 months. Indeed, of the last twelve directors of the OMB, only three served for more than two years.
At TAPPED, Tim Fernholz predicts a “brutal” confirmation fight for Orszag’s successor, and I’m inclined to agree. It’s not that Obama will nominate someone from outside the mainstream — if this list of potential nominees is any indication, Obama is likely to choose a moderate with establishment-friendly credentials — it’s that Republicans are likely to approach any nominee as if he or she were the Soviet Union, resurrected and personified. After all, as Fernholz notes, growing concerns over government spending and deficits make this fight the perfect opportunity for partisan posturing and grandstanding. The OMB director is a bit too high-profile for Republicans to stall confirmation proceedings endlessly (as they’ve done with other offices), but given the clear incentives in favor of delay — obstruction eats up floor time and makes the president look weak going into midterms — I wouldn’t be surprised if this goes on for much longer than the day it took to confirm Orszag.