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Peter Orszag's Cowboy Boots

I have much to say about Monday's lifting of federal funds for embryonic stem cell research. Column coming. But in the meantime, I noticed that the folks at the Huffington Post are declaring their love for budget director Peter Orszag.

It started last week when HuffPo posed the question, "Who's the hottest person in the White House?" Apparently, they left Orszag off the list, and some readers were dismayed -- to the point that the Web site granted him an honorable mention. Many may be familiar with his resume -- Exeter, Princeton, London School of Economics, Marshall Scholar, 40, divorced, two kids. But do they know that beneath that close-cropped haircut and that pin-striped suit, Orszag wears...cowboy boots?

Men may scoff. Women may be offended at such trite observations. But footwear may be the only statement some people can make at a certain level. Red high heels, anyone? I noticed Orszag's boots while sharing a green room this past Sunday before Face The Nation, and I asked him the obvious: "Are you from Texas?"

No. He's not. The boots are a small gesture of rebellion, he said. Well, hell yeah.

His reply was offered rather bashfully, but also practiced. I suspect he's been asked about those boots a time or two. They're black and scrolled, for the record. And not new, thank goodness. A boyish budget baron who wears the satisfied look of someone who actually knows what to do with a sliderule couldn't get away with brand spanking new boots.

In the Washington whirl of high-octane politics and performance -- not to mention a trillion-plus budget deficit that has people organizing tea parties (not the polite kind) -- Orszag can't have much room for frivolity. Wearing cowboy boots may be the government man's tattoo -- a way to buffer expectations of perfection, as well as to cut a swath through corridors doubtless crowded with clods. Hi-yo, Silver, away!

By Kathleen Parker  | March 10, 2009; 12:21 PM ET
Categories:  Parker  | Tags:  Kathleen Parker  
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Next: The Real Chas Freeman


Hmmmm....I would have sworn that he is gay after seeing him on Face the Nation... ....Ohhhhh not that there's anything wrong with that.

Posted by: hz9604 | March 10, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse

Oh yeah, he's hot. I think he might be my pin-up boy for the new administration. I love my nerds with edge!

Posted by: jrzwrld | March 10, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse

Cowboy boots - Orszag's equivalent to Prof. Burber's (9 Chickweed Lane) jungle-print underwear?

Posted by: j2hess | March 10, 2009 2:19 PM | Report abuse

That Jewish-Hungarian nose is too much.

Posted by: ravitchn | March 10, 2009 6:39 PM | Report abuse

I think he's cute! How could they have left him off the list? Huge mistake!

Posted by: bginNC | March 10, 2009 9:10 PM | Report abuse

He's adorkable! My friends and coworkers all know I've got a big crush on him. What's a single Jewish girl to do?

Posted by: amyuw05 | March 10, 2009 11:03 PM | Report abuse

Kathy...I've seen you on TV, and even though I dont agree with your politics, I have the hots for you and would love to see you in a pair of cowboy boots...with spurs, needless to say

Posted by: gloriousglo13 | March 12, 2009 6:36 AM | Report abuse

The boots are for the deep Bravo Sierra that he is spinning out. Like, "responsibility" and higher taxes for "the wealthy." While half his Cabinet doesn't pay taxes, and everyone from Rahmbo to VP Joe to Chelsea to the new FDA chief are Hedge Funders.

Orszag merely serves as yet another minion of the rich.

The boots will be needed as it gets deeper and deeper.

The portable Teleprompters were a clue.

Posted by: gnpszul | March 12, 2009 7:42 AM | Report abuse

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