Candidates, nationalities and some misunderstandings

Timothy Geithner said yesterday that Washington would put forward a candidate “in the coming weeks”. But with Hillary Clinton seemingly ruling herself out of the race there are more questions than answers on who will be Obama’s candidate.

Larry Summers was together with Hillary Clinton the most mentioned contender, but selecting someone who proposed dumping toxic waste in poor countries does not seem to help the purpose of improving the Bank’s legitimacy in the developing world. Unless Obama wants to ignore this detail the two initial contenders for the Bank’s leadership would be ruled out even before the selection process starts.

Some say that apparently it was all a misunderstanding and that the White House was not thinking of Hillary but of Bill Clinton. Bill Clinton is thought of as Obama’s easy option, since by choosing him he is at the same time rewarding a political ally, ruling out attacks by Romney about his lack of patriotism, and providing many non-American critics with an “acceptable” candidate. But some believe that maybe Joseph Stiglitz could better satisfy developing countries call for a more socially-minded leader while at the same time appeasing domestic fears that Obama will leave the post for a non-American.

Another world famous development guru that apparently expressed interest in the post is Tony Blair. But maybe this is another misunderstanding and what they mean is Bonnie Blair?

In any case, until now it is not very clear who the US candidates are, which reinforces the case for considering the many high-qualified developing country candidates. Mexican Agustin Carstens already said he has no plans to campaign for the post. Will the rest take up the challenge?