Thursday, March 17, 2005

Bush on Wolfowitz

Thanks to The Daily Show for bringing this bit of a Bush press conference to my attention (any emphasis mine):

Question: Paul Wolfowitz, who is the -- a chief architect of one of the most
unpopular wars in history, is your choice to be --
President Bush: (Laughs) That's an interesting start.
Question: -- is your choice to be the president of the World Bank. What kind of a signal does that send to the rest of the world?
President Bush: First of all, I think people -- first, I appreciate the world leaders taking my phone calls as I explain to them why I think Paul will be a strong president of the World Bank. I said he was a man of good experience. He helped manage a large organization. The World Bank's a large organization; the Pentagon's a large organization. He's been involved in the management of that organization. He's a skilled diplomat, worked at the State Department in high positions. He was ambassador to Indonesia, where he did a very good job representing our country. And Paul is committed to development. He's a compassionate, decent man who will do a fine job in the World Bank. And that's why I called leaders of countries, and that's why I put him up.

I don't pretend to know much about the World Bank, and I'm a little ashamed of that. Maybe I'll do some reading today. But to imply that a manager of one large organization is qualified to head up any other large organization is a bit daft, don't you think? Oh well, chalk it up to a Bush gaffe, I have no problem with that.

The bloggers have been going nuts trying to figure out what this means, though. Kevin Drum supposes that it's a message to the rest of the world that if they're hoping for conciliatory measures, then they know where they can put those hopes. Matthew Yglesias thinks that it's more a "kicking upstairs," so to speak. Getting Wolfowitz into an ostensibly higher position, but also distancing himself from him.

I'm not going to engage in such speculation because again, I don't know enough about the whole thing to speculate on what it means. But I do have to wonder what kind of bank this is if somebody with no economic credentials can be chosen to head it up.