"For a year now, the capital has been trying to solve a singular mystery," writes Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank. "Why is Peter Orszag so sexy?" Milbank may be facetious, but he's right--everyone in D.C. has a theory about the budget wonk's sex appeal. Why settle for Milbank's proffered answers?

The Atlantic Wire isn't settling. We've had some experience covering Orszag mania--first his engagement to ABC News reporter Bianna Golodryga and then the hubbub over his love child. Here we bring you the definitive compendium of explanations for why a gawky, unsexy budget bureaucrat is keeping Washington awake at night.

  • Because He's Geeky and Powerful Milbank quotes The Wall Street Journal's Jonathan Weisman ""It's what Henry Kissinger said: Power is a great aphrodisiac." Another suggestion: "'It's the male equivalent of Tina Fey, the geeky guy with the hidden fire you want to unleash,' offered Katherine Lewis from the Fiscal Times." Milbank's own opinion? "No doubt about it: Orszag has some amazing figures."
  • Because Women Don't Care About Looks "Women's attraction to ordinary-looking and even homely men," writes Luisita Lopez Torregrosa for Politics Daily, "is the stuff of everyday life, and the stuff of legend. Look at Woody Allen and Diane Keaton, Woody Allen and Mia Farrow. Look at Cate Blanchett and Andrew Upton, Cher and Sonny Bono, Sofia Loren and Carlo Ponte." Men may be looks-obsessed, but women "not so much."
  • Because Dana Milbank Is Slipping "Once upon a time," writes a bemused Joel Mathis at Philadelphia Weekly, "I dimly remember, Dana Milbank was a pretty sharp Washington Post reporter ... As he moved into column writing, though, he became the Post equivalent of Maureen Dowd: trifling, nonsensical and almost completely unilluminating." Mathis isn't too impressed by the Orszag column, which he thinks is "late" on the Orszag frenzy and not terribly clever.
  • Because, Let's Face It, D.C. Is a Bit Weird "Most Americans," writes Gawker's Foster Kamer, "wouldn't be able to tell the difference between Peter Orszag and Stephen Colbert, which, on the first draft of writing that post, included me." What about Air America correspondent Ana Marie Cox calling the budget director a "celebrity"? Says Kamer, "this is exactly like my most starstruck encounter being the time I met TyTy at The Spotted Pig."
  • You Know Who's Even Hotter Than Orszag? Dealbreaker's Bess Levin is way ahead of the game. "Obviously whether or not the vast majority of the population wants to get third degree burns from Pedro is debatable," she says--Pedro being "Peter" in Spanish. "But here's something that's not: how hot bird fetishist Hank Paulson used to be!" She's got a photo.