isn’t the first time that Bill Frist has been mentioned as
a possible World Bank president, but it might be the first time he’s been called
a favorite for the nomination. I think that Blake
Hounshell is right and that the WSJ article is "likely a trial balloon
floated by the White House". What’s more, it’s a trial balloon which deserves
and early and emphatic popping. Frist would be an atrocious
choice, and frankly I can’t see him getting much traction with a World Bank
board which is not exactly sympathetic to Bush cronies these days.
The non-trial-balloon part of Hitt’s article, I think, is this:
White House spokesman Tony Fratto declined to comment on specific candidates,
but did say President Bush hopes to have names to consider soon. "The
president intends to name an American to the post," Mr. Fratto said.
That seems pretty unambiguous, although it is of course also depressing. Fratto,
a former Treasury flack, knows whereof he speaks, and he seems pretty keen to
close the door on any possibility of the Bush administration nominating a non-American.
Even if Bush does nominate an American, though, he really doesn’t need to nominate
someone divisive, with more ties to the Bush administration than to the World
Bank or the development community. Is there not an ounce of sense in the White