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Is Larry Summers leaving? Will Peter Orszag replace him?

summerscontemplative.JPGThe Atlantic's Joshua Green thinks Larry Summers is on his way out of the administration. That seems possible. Green also thinks Peter Orszag might replace Summers as head of the National Economic Council. I'm told that that's not going to happen. And I'm going to boldly speculate as to why.

Green's argument is that heading the OMB might be a more powerful job, but working in the West Wing assures you more face time with the president. But in this administration, physical proximity to the president hasn't necessarily been the key to influence. Take Green's terrific profile of Timothy Geithner. In it, Green argues that Geithner has become Obama's most consequential adviser. But that's happened while he's been in the Treasury building, and it's been at the expense of Summers, who's at the White House.

Geithner has won at least in part because he has actual power over crucial issues and an actual bureaucracy charged with implementing his policies. Orszag has that at OMB (as we've seen with health-care reform and the budget), but he wouldn't have that at NEC. Indeed, Green argues that Summers is leaving precisely because he lacks actual operational authority over, well, anything, so it's not really clear why the people who are in charge of things would want to exchange that for Summers's more frustrating and vague role as an adviser who isn't really in charge of anything. At least in this administration, being in charge of policy has been a more direct path to influence than being a voice on strategy.

Photo credit: AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite.

By Ezra Klein  |  April 7, 2010; 11:35 AM ET
Categories:  Obama administration  
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But it seems that Axelrod has more power than anyone, and he is just an advisor with no known policy portfolio. It has long been evident that Summers would leave. Of the economists in the administration, he has the most stellar reputation to protect and he just cannot have it tainted by the can of dogfood that is the Affordable Healthcare Act. Hope this helps.

Posted by: truck1 | April 7, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Larry Summers is one of the major people to blame for the lack of market regulation of derivatives. He actively lobbied to keep derivative markets from being regulated and more transparent. In a world in which no one seems to ever be accountable for his or her decisions and advice, he should be given the boot out of the White House for the role he played in creating the financial havoc of 2009. I can't wait to see him depart, and he's one of the last people I would listen to when crafting market reforms.

Posted by: patriciarsf | April 7, 2010 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Larry Summer is a faulire left over from the Clinton administration thinking disaster over deregulations that have resulted in THIS MESS... He failed even at IVY HAAVAAD and needs a NOBEL prize for being INEPT!Unless Obama appopints him to the latest Freddie and Fannie board to do a DEJA VUE with help from Frank and Chris Dudd!!!

Posted by: redhawk2 | April 7, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of possible impending departures: A "Bushie Watch List?"


Is an Eric Holder DOJ "True Justice Squad" keeping book on rogue Bush holdovers across the bureaucracy...

as some Bushie leave-behinds continue to oversee secret multi-agency programs of covert microwave torture, vigilante harassment and financial sabotage of extrajudicially and unjustly "targeted" American citizens...

...many targeted for their politics, activism, or ethnic background?

Vic Livingston reports -- see latest comments to:

Posted by: scrivener50 | April 7, 2010 7:08 PM | Report abuse

I never understood why Summer joined this President's inner circle.......nor do I understand why the job was offered to him...think it was his relationship to Cambridge, Ma?........oh, we no longer discuss that, huh.............see what cheap beer does for you? Good riddance...and hopefully I get say it again in not too many months.

Posted by: connyankee1 | April 8, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

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