WHERE LANDRIEU’S LOYALTIES LIE…. It’s maddening enough when conservative Republican senators abuse Senate rules and interfere with the government’s ability to function. It’s just as offensive when conservative Democrats do the same thing.

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) said [Wednesday] she stands by her hold on President Obama’s nominee for White House Office of Management and Budget director because the administration has yet to overturn its moratorium on deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.

Landrieu, who has been a vehement opponent of the drilling ban, has come under fire this week from many in her own party — including Senate Democrats and administration officials — over the hold on Jack Lew, the OMB nominee. But, in a floor speech today, she said she won’t budge.

Keep in mind, Landrieu doesn’t object to Jack Lew. On the contrary, she’s described him as an “outstanding” choice to head the OMB, and would be more to happy to vote for his confirmation. It’s just that she’s looking for a hostage, and Lew became a convenient choice to exploit — as soon as Landrieu gets what she wants, she’ll be gracious enough to let the Senate vote on a key administration nominee. Until then, she just doesn’t care about the consequences.

In this case, those consequences aren’t just minor inconveniences. The Office of Management and Budget is poised to start writing the 2012 budget, and it needs the administration’s budget director. But there is no budget director, because Mary Landrieu, in a move that’s been fairly described as “both absurd and irresponsible,” has decided her demands are more important the administration’s ability to govern.

And what are those demands? She wants oil companies to start deepwater drilling again, as well as faster permits for shallow-water drilling projects. In other words, Landrieu won’t even let the Senate vote on an important nominee until oil companies tell her they’re happy.

The country simply can’t be expected to thrive in the 21st century with a Senate that’s this broken.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.