Wolfodämmerung: The least graceful exit ever

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Paul Wolfowitz’s painfully drawn-out exit from the World Bank continues to draw out painfully, as the man with the holey socks tries to work out some sort of deal whereby the World Bank board apologizes for being so mean to him, and he in turn resigns with head held high. In reality, of course, this insistence is making him look ever less dignified and respectable. What he’s starting to look like instead is a total whiner.

Wolfowitz is right that the World Bank ethics committee helped get him into his current predicament by failing to give him very clear directions on the girlfriend-reassignment front. But he did the rest all on his own, then compounded things by failing to be straight about what had happened when news of the sweetheart deal leaked into the press. There’s a standard script for government officials and business executives caught up in such controversies: Insist that you did nothing wrong, but resign because it’s clear that your continued presence is hurting an institution that you care about. Wolfowitz’s refusal to follow it is beginning to make making him look ridiculous.

Update: And now Wolfowitz has agreed to resign, but in the interest of painfully drawing things out a bit further (or maybe he’s waiting for his pension to vest), he won’t leave until “the end of the fiscal year” (June 30).

Update 2: I’ve got another post on the subject here. And then I promise, no more World Bank from me for at least a couple of days. Also, Time‘s Michael Duffy has a nearly opposite take here.