What’s up with Andrew Young’s Groveling for Wolfowitz?


young wolfowitz.jpg
Out of the blue in the Washington Post today, former US Ambassador to the UN and Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young decries America’s “excessive Puritanism” and makes a plea to give the beleaguered World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz just one more chance.
One can almost imagine Young on the verge of breaking into tears as he grovels for one of the master architects of the Iraq War.
Andrew Young has done many distinguished things in his life, and I don’t want to take anything from him on those fronts. But seriously, Ambassador Young has some chutzpah to counsel the rest of America on what lines should and should not be crossed — and what should be forgiven and not in our public leaders.
One reader remarked to me this morning that “Andrew Young never saw a well-financed cause he did not love.”
Remember Andrew Young’s perceived conflicts of interest with Wal-Mart? and Nike?
Young’s appeal on behalf of Paul Wolfowitz — who not only worked out automatic “outstanding” job evaluations, automatic raises, and a huge pay increase for his girlfriend Shaha Riza but elevated two politicos, Kevin Kellems and Robin Cleveland, to senior positions completely beyond their technical competence — may be more of an appeal for himself.
Young may be scrapping for another chance for himself as well as Wolfowitz. I’ll stay silent on Andrew Young’s ledger of liabilities as opposed to assets — but Wolfowitz’s “next chance” should be outside of the Bank and should be dedicated to making some effort to reverse — in the private sector — the incredible havoc he has brought on the world.
— Steve Clemons


12 comments on “What’s up with Andrew Young’s Groveling for Wolfowitz?

  1. WB Reeves says:

    Anyone surprised at Andrew Young’s defense of Wolfowitz simply hasn’t been paying attention for the last 30 years. It ought to be remembered that the civil rights movement was made up of flawed people, not saints and Young is no exception. Neither should the reflected glory of that luminous struggle obscure Young’s political record.
    Yes, he was a two time Mayor of Atlanta. The white political establishment thought that his tenure in office provided him with the perfect launching pad for a Senatorial bid. It was simply assumed that his stock rode as high in the African American community as it did among the Business and Political elites.
    This was far from the truth. As it turned out, the same style of governance that so endeared him to the elites had utterly alienated him from Georgia’s African American community. The collapse of his Senatorial campaign during the primaries revealed this, effectively ending his political career.
    In the years since, Young has spent his time parlaying his old civil rights and political connections into personal wealth. Episodes like the Wallmart fiasco and now the Wolfowitz spectacle aren’t aberrations. They reveal the essential Andrew Young, a particularly ambitious, self interested and opportunistic specimen of the “talented tenth”.
    That he continues to be propped up as representative of anything other than his own self interest is a reflection of the media and political establishments continuing need for “acceptable black leaders” to contrast with “unacceptable leaders”. The sort who actually challenge the status quo.


  2. Forgiven says:

    Andrew Young began with such promise, it is a shame to see him compromised once again. I worked and lived in Atlanta for a couple of years doing outreach for the homeless and it broke my heart to see men like Mr. Young and Maynard Jackson making millions off the backs of their downtrodden brothers. I left Atlanta very disillusioned, this unfortunately comes as no surprise.


  3. Zathras says:

    People interested in my view of the Paul Wolfowitz, ahem, affair can search comments on this site over the last couple of weeks and find them laid out without much ambiguity. However, people including Steve are getting a little out of control here.
    Andrew Young’s Post op-ed says pretty clearly that it is Wolfowitz’s commitment to Africa that is important to him. That Wolfowitz has sought to increase the World Bank’s profile in Africa, and that Young has long had a greater than usual interest in that continent, are likewise not in dispute. I don’t agree with the case Young makes, and think his piece in the WP shows an unworthy sensitivity to the culture of entitlement that prominent people in American political life, Wolfowitz notably among them, have come to claim as their own. That’s not a good enough reason for people to go into meltdown mode and start casting around for the character flaws and sinister motives that might have driven Young to write an op-ed that emphasizes one part of Wolfowitz’s record over others. There isn’t any reason to think that Young is defending Wolfowitz for any reasons besides the ones he gives himself.


  4. Ajaz says:

    Indeed Young’s support for Wolfowitz is confusing especially at this late stage as it is now almost certain that Wolfowitz will resign. But what gets me is that he will probably go on to join the Board of Directors of Halliburton or Exxon or some such firm and make ten times more money than did at the World Bank.
    This man’s push for Iraq war has caused havoc, death and destruction and he should not be rewarded for this recklessness.


  5. marky says:

    OT, but I wonder if Richardson’s campaign is already over, due to his answer about his favorite justice (Byron White), and his explanation—that White was in the 60’s and wasn’t Roe. V. Wade in the 80’s?
    I guess his reputation for not caring about women’s issues is deserved.
    I know Republicans don’t mind electing people who don’t know what they should, but I don’t see any reason to consider Richardson now, given that gaffe and the quality of the other candidates.


  6. Dennis says:

    Ah!, once you let yourself get on that downhill slide, it’s hard to get off…………..
    You don’t have to be a blind conservative not to see it, just an ignorant one to deny it.


  7. Transparent says:

    One wonders if Andy Young is getting too old to remember he was part of the example of the decency of the good cause. We all hope that his forgiveness and “conversion” into a Wolfowitz apologist is inspired by his decency and strength of character.
    To believe that it is just a self interest cry for World Bank consulting contracts,(that may disappear if his brother Paul has to go) is too cynical a view, which we must reject.


  8. Transparent says:

    One wonders if Andy Young is getting too OLD to remember he was part of the example of the decency of the good cause. We all hope that his forgiveness and “conversion” into a Wolfowitz apologist is inspired by his decency and strength of character.
    To believe that it is just a self interest cry for World Bank consulting contracts,(that may disappear if his brother Paul has to go) is too cynical a view, which we must reject.


  9. Roberto Eder says:

    Hi Steve,
    Here’s what I wrote today in my blog “News on Radio and TV”
    about Andrew Young’s strange piece in the WashPo about Paul Wolfowitz:
    Today’s Washington Post includes an op-ed by famed civil rights leader Andrew Young on Paul Wolfowitz’ troubles at the World Bank.
    I can’t believe someone of Young’s stature could defend the corrupt hypocritical actions of Paul Wolfowitz in pushing through pay raises and cushy State department positions for his girl friend/lover Shaha Riza.
    “We must get beyond the current crisis at the World Bank, a careful examination of which will show that Wolfowitz was operating in what he felt was the best interest of the institution and with the guidance of its ethics committee.
    “This crisis also should not redound to the detriment of Wolfowitz’s companion, Shaha Riza, a British Muslim woman who is an admired World Bank professional and a champion of human rights in the Muslim world.”
    Notwithstanding Andrew Young’s wishes to “get beyond the current crisis,” I want the World Bank to cashier Wolfowitz forthwith and be rid of his duplicitous hypocritical dealings. Upon assuming the presidency of the World Bank, after being appointed by George Bush, Wolfowitz made a big point of stressing that the World Bank should not lend aid to countries whom Wolfowitz accused of “corruption.” This was at the very same time, we now know, that Wolfowitz was arranging for Shaha Riza to get a pay raise to over $200,000 per year. If Wolfwoitz stays, how can anyone objectively look at the World Bank and not see double dealings and corruption?


  10. Carroll says:

    This probably has something to do with Young’s support..the ony thing that unites crooks is money.
    “Today, Young is co-chair of Good Works International, a consulting firm, “offering international market access and political risk analysis in key emerging markets within Africa and the Caribbean.”


  11. DonS says:

    Young, one of those with such idealistic lustre and promise, only to reveal his feet of clay.
    Its not that we expect our potential role models to be perfect. But, when they fall so low, it behooves them to stay off the stage and fade quietly into a well-financed obscurity. Sizeable ego usually prevents these former luminaries from accepting such a course. Its pathetic, really.


  12. Gadfly says:

    “Andrew Young has done many distinguished things in his life…”… – Steve Clemons
    Andrew Young sat on the board of directors for a large corporation in which I served as an adviser for some years. Let me tell you Steve, that Andrew Young has also done some not so distinguished things too.
    Young is indebited to corporate raiders who have enriched him– ergo, he has much in common with Bush, Cheney, Rice, Rove, Gonzales & Wolfowitz– who serve the plutocratic interests who in large part, control foreign policy.
    For quite a few years, Young’s major objective was enriching himself– just like Wolfie is obviously doing now. Wolfie has abused his position as president of the World Bank to push corporate interests/Bush-Cheney interests– at the expense of the poor of the world.
    Wolfie’s so-called “corruption” initiatives are directed as an attack/coersion/poncy scheme to bilk nations whereby key corporations have interests:– whilst corrupt regimes which collude with neo-con Bush/Cheney corporate interests are let “off-the-hook”.
    Wolfie expects to be left “off-the-hook” with some sort of lie that exconerates him and a nice, fat, juicy “deal” (meaning Big Bucks)… Let us hope that the World Bank board is too sophisticated, savvy and courageous to fall into Wolfie’s trap and that they see through Young’s pay-back to his corporate paymasters.


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