Thursday, March 22, 2012

How to Take Advantage of the Right Wing Freak Out over Jim Yong Kim

In a VERY surprsing development for those of us who follow the World Bank, President Obama just announced the nomination of Jim Yong Kim, President of Dartmouth and well-known international public health expert, to succeed Robert Zoellick as the Bank's president this June. Given that the US has always chosen the World Bank president, Kim is likely to get the spot, which I think is good, since health issues are becoming more and more salient to the Bank's basic mission.

The interesting thing, at least as far as this blog is concerned, is that we can expect a significant right-wing backlash over this. Back in 2002 Kim published a book, Dying for Growth: Global Inequality and the Health of the Poor, that was praised by none other than Noam Chomsky. Commence the conservative freakout in 3 ... 2 ... 1!

Big problem for Obama in an election season, right? Wrong. The impending conservative freakout over Kim, whom we can expect Santorum/Romney/Fox News/Limbaugh, etc. to call an anti-American socialist any minute now, is a great opportunity for progressives to demonstrate that we're better at foreign policy than they are. I'll explain this in more detail later, but for now I think progressives should hammer on the fact that Kim is a doctor who has saved many lives. Do they oppose doctors? Health care? Do they want people to be sick? Simple but effective, and ties in well with stuff progressives should be saying about health care issues here in the US.

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