Before negotiators finalized the agreement to curb Iran’s nuclear program, Scott Walker was saying that he could not wait to rip it up. The 2016 Republican contender formally launched his candidacy last week with Dick Cheney–echoing foreign-policy bombast, reaching a crescendo with his promise “to terminate the bad deal with Iran on Day One” of his presidency.
But that’s not the only thing Walker is talking about doing on Inaugural Day. The governor says that it is “very possible” that the next president—and make no mistake, Walker thinks a lot about the next presidency—could “take aggressive actions, including military actions” sometime between the swearing-in ceremony and the inaugural ball.
After experiencing quite a bit of criticism earlier this year for his lack of foreign-policy preparation, and for frequently outlandish statements that savvy conservative commentators decried for their lack of perspective, Walker has positioned himself as a fierce hawk who proposes more military spending and a combative approach to the world. In other words, he has done a full Cheney. (Notably, when President Obama suggested after another of Walker’s Iran outbursts that the governor might want to “bone up” on foreign policy, it was the former vice president who rode to the Republican’s rescue. Criticism from Obama is “almost like a paid commercial” for Walker, chirped Cheney.)
Walker’s Cheneyism was confirmed over the weekend after a telling back-and-forth with the man the Wisconsinite hopes to displace as the choice of the Republican establishment: former Florida governor Jeb Bush. Responding to over-the-top statements from some of his fellow Republicans—including, presumably, Walker’s “terminate the bad deal with Iran on Day One” line—Bush offered precisely the sort of measured response that unsettles the party’s neoconservative agitators.
“One thing that I won’t do is just say, as a candidate, ‘I’m going to tear up the agreement on the first day,’ That’s great, that sounds great but maybe you ought to check in with your allies first, maybe you ought to appoint a secretary of state, maybe secretary of defense, you might want to have your team in place, before you take an act like that,” said Bush.
Walker is not about to get tripped up checking with allies or putting a team in place.
“He may have his opinion,” the Wisconsin governor said of Bush. But, Walker added, “I believe that a president shouldn’t wait to act until they put a cabinet together or an extended period of time, I believe they should be prepared to act on the very first day they take office. It’s very possible, God forbid that this would happen, but very possible, that the next president could be called to take aggressive actions, including military actions, on their very first day in office.”
That’s the Walker worldview.
Oh, by the way, while they both trail Donald Trump, Walker has pulled ahead of Bush in the latest ABC News/Washington Post and Fox News polls of the Republican contest.