Saturday, March 07, 2015


The Washington Post's Philip Rucker and Robert Costa have written a story about Scott Walker's efforts to get up to speed on foreign policy -- but the real story is that what Walker needs to learn is to swear his advisors to silence so they don't run off to the nearest reporter and kneecap him:
On a recent Monday at Washington’s Willard InterContinental hotel, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker was schooled on the world by some of the GOP’s leading foreign-policy lights....

“I can pretty well guarantee you that he is not a subscriber to Foreign Affairs,” said Elliott Abrams, a prominent neoconservative who was among those briefing Walker at the Willard....

“He’s been so wrapped up in his job in Wisconsin, which has been pretty sporty, that he has not spent a lot of time reading into these issues,” said John Lehman, secretary of the Navy under President Ronald Reagan. Walker visited Lehman in New York on Feb. 19. On foreign policy, he said, “He is not strong in details or what to do about it, but he gets the problem.”
Remember, these are the people Walker sought out. (Abrams did also say that Walker might be able to develop foreign policy chops the way George W. Bush did. I think that was meant as a compliment.)

And meanwhile, here's a guy Walker isn't consulting:
Rep. Peter T. King (R-N.Y.), a former chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, was less charitable.

“He has not shown much expertise or familiarity,” King said. “You can always learn the details -- the names of presidents -- but knowing how foreign policy works and understanding the nature of threats and how to counter them, you have to live with it, study it and have a sense of history.”
And another one:
“He has taken a bit of a tumble with his first baby steps,” said Gabriel Schoenfeld, a former foreign-policy aide to Former Mass. governor Mitt Romney. He suggested that Walker should recruit a heavyweight adviser and “almost shack up with that person” to absorb the nuances of national security.
For their part -- even though this is written as a straight news story -- Rucker and Costa portray Walker as clearly in over his head:
In contrast to the compelling and confident way Walker talks about his Wisconsin record, he has been shaky on foreign policy. He has traveled only rarely overseas and showed little interest in world politics in college or as governor. Policy experts and donors who have met with him privately said he lacks depth of knowledge about the international scene and speaks mostly in generalities. At a Club for Growth meeting last weekend, one major donor publicly portrayed Walker as “not prepared” to talk about global issues....

Through 28 years in politics, from his run for student body president at Marquette University to the governor’s office, Walker’s worldview has been rooted in the dairy farms, factories and bureaucracies of Wisconsin....

Some other candidates are far ahead of Walker in their preparations. As the son and brother of former presidents, former Florida governor Jeb Bush has been exposed to high-level diplomacy and has access to many of their past advisers. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) has made his perch on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee the defining mark of his Senate career and has traveled abroad extensively.

Republicans think foreign policy could shape the 2016 campaign — especially if former secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton becomes the Democratic nominee.

“Foreign policy is going to be a much bigger issue in 2016 than it has been in a long time, perhaps since 2004,” said John R. Bolton, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under George W. Bush, who is considering his own campaign....
One righty blogger is denouncing this story as a hit job from "the progressive entertainment industry" -- but a coauthor of the story, Robert Costa, used to write for National Review and had a William F. Buckley Journalism Fellowship at the National Review Institute.

Rucker and Costa write:
This account of Walker’s global perspective and his mission to become an authoritative statesman is based on interviews with two dozen policy advisers and donors who have discussed foreign affairs with him in recent weeks.
So these are Republicans blabbing to the press about Walker's inadequacies. Why? First, because he wasn't canny enough to swear them to silence (a serious rookie error), and second, I assume, because GOP establishmentarians don't trust him as a standard-bearer in an election they think they can win.

Yes, there are quotes in the story to the effect that Walker could master this subject -- but the tone is skeptical. These guys want him gone. King and Bolton want him gone because they're delusional enough to believe they can win the nomination; the rest, I think, just want Jeb or Marco instead -- y'know, some neocon who has the talking points down and is presentable enough to run in a general election and not terrify moderate voters. Walker's failing that test. So they stabbed him in the back in The Washington Post.


ladyblug said...

I hope the hits from the establishment keep on coming! He is over his head! We in WI can confirm it!

retiredeng said...

In my view, outside of local down and dirty politics, Walker is lazy. He'd be as worse or worse than GWB if he gets elected and farms out his "world view" to Cheneyesque advisers.

John Taylor said...

Are these the same people who thought Sarah Palin was qualified to be Vice President?

sdhays said...

Do you agree with this statement: "... foreign policy could shape the 2016 campaign — especially if former secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton becomes the Democratic nominee"? I have my doubts. I don't think Americans tend to be deeply interested in foreign policy most of the time. If Obama gets an agreement with Iran and ISIS fades into just another rebel movement in Syria, I really don't see the 2016 election hinging on foreign policy any more than 2012 did (and probably less).

And anyway, on the depressing side, will there actually be sharp differences on foreign policy between Clinton and Jeb or Clinton and Walker like we had in 2008? I'm not so sure.

Republicans always think that an election rooted in foreign policy is "on their turf". After W, it's at least a draw, no matter how much they don't want to admit it.

But this does hint at what could be Walker's real weakness - not being smart enough or slick enough to actually handle the demands and scrutiny of a Presidential campaign (Rick Perry 2.0).

Palli said...

What Cheneyesque puppetmaster is grooming Walker for the figurehead presidency?

Victor said...

Elliott Abrams?

What did he do for his money?
Shout "KILL! KILL!! KILL!!! KIIIIIIIIIILLLLLLLLL!" over and over again for 7 hours?

That's all that evil flesh-bag knows how to do.

mlbxxxxxx said...

As quickly as the baggers set 'em up, the Bushies will take 'em out. The Bushies are as ruthlessly efficient as the Clintonites are. If a serious challenger to Hillary emerges, I expect he/she will be politically disemboweled in short order. The Bushies are old hands at this (see McCain, black child of) and it really is just a matter of time before we are left with the two titans, Jeb and HRC alone on the battlefield. And that promises to be an epic battle. Hillary better be prepared to GOTV as well as OFA did or she will be toast.