Bush is nominating Wolfowitz to head the World Bank. Wolfowitz. Sorry, just have to say that a few times to make it feel real. Wolfowitz. A guy who knows nothing about economics. Wolfowitz. A guy who's detested by Europeans as a main architect of our foreign policy. Wolfowitz. A guy who licks his comb.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised. They want John Bolton to become Ambassador to the UN. He's philosophically opposed to the very idea of it. They want down-home communications guru Karen Hughes to become central in remaking our image in the Arab world. She knows nothing about Islam. As a friend of Steve Clemons' said, "Maybe Bill Kristol should be nominated as successor to Kofi Annan, or Richard Perle. And James Woolsey should get UNICEF."

Steve tries, in his post, to explain that this isn't just another outrage in a long and distinguished line of them, it's the marker of something very different, very radical. "A period of major, dramatic, discontinuity". That sounds about right. This is a slap in the face of intellectualism, of the very idea that the criteria for these positions should be expertise and good intentions. This is a victory for patronage, for a president's power to project his will onto worldwide institutions, no matter how crazy or contradictory that will seems to the other members. Ugh. Wolfowitz.

Update: Think Progress has more on why this is a nightmare.

Update 2: Here's more on the changes Wolfowitz might make. CW seems to be that Bush wants him to reduce the focus on poverty alleviation, to dome on infrastructure, and generally be a bit harder-edged. You can follow a more informed discussion about it here.

Update 3: I should probably note that I'm not certain Wolfowitz will be bad at this job, he may well rise to the occasion. But there's no real way to predict that, he's not a trained economist nor a public figure, like Sam Brownback, who's shown a great and unexpected passion for international development. Without those markers, the only reason to choose him was to anger our allies and irritate the left. That's what pisses me off about the decision, it makes major appointments into just another venue for swagger and symbolism. The head of the World Bank should be the best from the pool of interested individuals qualified for the job. Wolfowitz doesn't qualify.

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