The White House's last appointment of a president of the World Bank didn't work out that well. Paul Wolfowitz, the former deputy secretary of defense widely credited as one of the major proponents of the invasion of Iraq, was appointed as president of the bank in 2005. After a scandal involving his girlfriend's salary, which he apparently helped her obtain, he has resigned, and will be out of his post at the end of June.
But, by tradition, the decision of who will be the next president of the bank goes to the White House. (Europe gets to choose the leadership of the International Monetary Fund, a sister organization.) And though critics, especially those inside the bank, might have been hoping for someone, say, slightly less controversial than Wolfowitz, it looks like the administration isn't ready to make such concessions.
The Wall Street Journal reports today on a shortlist of contenders for the job; topping that list is former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., a loyal administration ally who retired from the Senate last year amid speculation that he would run for president, which he declined to do after his political fortunes fell with those of the administration.
Frist doesn't have much of a financial background; he was a respected heart surgeon before coming to the Senate. But while there, politics sometimes clouded even his medical judgment. During the controversy over Terri Schiavo, Frist reviewed a tape of Schiavo and said her doctors were wrong, that she was not in a persistent vegetative state. An autopsy after Schiavo's death showed that it was Frist who was wrong.