The Politics Of AIDS Relief

Michael Gerson is understandably upset that PEPFAR coordinator Mark Dybul was fired after talk that he would be asked to stay on:

...someone at State or the White House determined that sacrificing Dybul would appease a few vocal, liberal interest groups. One high-ranking Obama official admitted that the decision was "political." Yet the AIDS coordinator is not a typical political job, distributed as spoils, like some deputy assistant position at the Commerce Department. It involves directing a massive emergency operation to provide lifesaving drugs, through complex logistics, to some of the most distant places on Earth. And now that operation may be months without effective leadership -- undermining morale, complicating interagency cooperation, delaying new prevention initiatives and postponing budget decisions.

I don't know why events transpired the way they did and it sure looks regrettable to me. You don't have to keep anyone on from a previous administration, but if you do ask them, you shouldn't then subject them to this. Jason Zengerle wrote about Dybul a few days ago: "There are a lot of people in the Democratic orbit who want Dybul's job. It'll be interesting to see who Obama picks for the post. And I wonder if Obama moved Dybul out because he had one particular person in mind."