A Washington insider writes:
Zoellick had tried, very hard, to get the Bank prior to Wolfowitz's selection.... Zoellick is a "safe" choice, in that he is not scandal-prone, and carries no toxic baggage from the Iraq disaster. His work on Darfur should have shown Wolfowitz's Sub Saharan African constituency that Zoellick is sensitive to issues of concern to them. His work at USTR got him into the international elites of trade ministerials, and at State with the foreign ministers and heads of state. Zoellick's contribution to adult supervision of Asia policy was and remains critical, especially his coining of the "responsible stakeholder" concept to give China a set of positive values and ideas to meld with government policy....
There is a potential down side, of course, as with any nomination made in extremis, and in Zoellick's case it's the risk that certain personality traits will carry over, and create problems with his Bank colleagues different than the Wolfowitz debacle, but no less damaging.... Zoellick was forced out of his presidency of CSIS here in Washington... for some of the same problems which cropped up at USTR: He has a terrible temper, he is "prone to tirades" - a daily dump on Japan generally, and its trade ministers specifically, came to be something of a ritual at USTR - and he has been known to keep "enemies lists".... A telling story attributed to Condi Rice by a fellow journalist, "Condi let's Bob do whatever he wants, so long as she doesn't have to talk to him about it."
Zoellick also has some potential problems with Democrats... his tenure at USTR came during the height of the Tom DeLay/Bill Thomas apartheid policy which barely allowed House Dems to vote... his acquiescence to those First Term tactics....
But for the White House, apparently all is forgotten and/or forgiven, and once again it can be seen that Bush values and will promote loyalty, above all else. In Zoellick's case, however, his intellectual qualifications, his sincerity, and his passion for the job cannot be understated.
Matthew Yglesias is more enthusiastic about Bob Zoellick for World Bank President than I have seen him be about any other Bush appointee:
Matthew Yglesias: Sweet Mediocrity: Robert Zoellick, who doesn't seem to have done the country any good as US Trade Representative or as Deputy Secretary of State, but who also has the rare distinction of having served at a high level of the Bush administration without directly causing any major fiascos is set to head the World Bank. A record of solid mediocrity and basic lack of distinction seems like the best we can reasonably hope for from this president, so I'll consider it a reasonably strong pick. Zoellick even has some background in financial and economic issues, unlike his predecessor. Nevertheless, I still feel that Bush should consider appointing Jim Leach to some kind of job at some point rather than endlessly relying on the team of Khalilzad and Zoellick when called upon to give a position to a non-discredited person.