It’s probably too soon to take Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker seriously as a possible next president. He looks strong in the latest polls. And he’s being touted as a likely leader in the race to be the last representative of the Republican hard right standing at the end of the nominating fight against the representative of the Republican business establishment, possibly Jeb Bush.
Walker may end up as exactly that. And he may be the nominee and the next president. It’s just too soon to take that possibility too seriously, still nine months before the Iowa caucuses, when a sensible country wouldn’t be breathlessly discussing such things.
If you recall 2012, we went through four or five flavor-of-the-month Republican poll leaders (Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Rick Perry, for example), none of whom survived even to the New Hampshire primary as serious contenders.
But it’s not too soon to notice what Walker is saying, other than his fabulous reference to shopping at Kohl’s, because it’s always a good idea to expect and demand substance from those auditioning for and aspiring to be president.
A few days ago, Walker was on the Hugh Hewitt radio show. (Transcript here.) Near the top of the show, Hewitt asked about the tentative framework deal on nuclear technology and inspections between Iran and the P5-plus one countries:
Hewitt: Would you reject that deal if you took the Oval Office?
Walker: Absolutely, on Day One. I mean, to me, it is, the concept of a nuclear Iran is not only problematic for Iran, and certainly for Israel, but it opens the doors. I mean, the Saudis are next. You’re going to have plenty of others in the region. People forget that even amongst the Islamic world, there is no love lost between the Saudis and the Iranians. And so they’re going to want to have a nuclear weapon if the Iranians have a nuclear weapon. This is something that just escalates right before our eyes. And the fact that this administration began these discussions essentially conceding that they’re going to allow enrichment to go forward with the Iranians just shows you that they don’t have the same level of concern that I think I and Senator [Marco] Rubio and many others out there have, that a nuclear Iran is a problem for the entire world, not just for Israel.
Set aside for moment whether you agree that the deal is as bad as Walker says it is, and even the technical, legal, constitutional questions about whether President Walker would have the authority on Day One to repudiate the deal.
Hewitt, whom I know to be a smart guy and, on some matters, a substantive guy, did not ask a single follow-up question. Would you need to coordinate such a reversal with the other five signatories, which include several of America’s best and longest-standing allies (Britain, France, Germany) plus the other two strongest military powers in the world (Russia, China)?
And he didn’t ask Walker:
After you have insulted all of the other signatories, whose help you are presumably going to need to stitch together the new Walker plan for dealing with the threat that you believe Iran poses, what will your new policy be? Are you going to ask those countries, whom you have just insulted, to join you in a restoration of the full economic sanctions and try to go back to negotiations with Iran? Do you have any reason to believe the rest of the P-5 and China will go along with that after you have unilaterally rejected the deal that they signed? Are you going to invade Iran and install a government friendlier to the United States and Israel? Are you going to just bomb the Iranian nuclear development sites and see what happens afterward? Are you going to ask the Israelis to do that for you?
Maybe there are some other options for Day Two. What are they and which of them would newly inaugurated President Walker pursue?
I’m not saying there are no other options. And I’m not saying Walker has no clue what they are. But his plan for Day One certainly screams for those questions to be asked, and some version of them should be asked of everyone currently speaking against the framework agreement. What’s your alternative?