Scott Walker’s campaign must be in a jubilant mood with Jeb Bush making a point of singling him for criticism on Iran’s nuclear deal. To be precise, Bush criticized Walker for vowing to tear up the Iran nuclear deal on his first day in office.
This elevates Walker in much the same way President Obama elevated Walker when he directly criticized him over signing right to work legislation in Wisconsin back in March and again the following month when Obama said that Walker needed to “bone up on foreign policy” in an interview with NPR. And guess what Obama was criticizing Walker over? You guessed it. Over Walker’s vow to tear up the Iran nuclear deal on his first day in office.
Bush has totally thrown Walker a hanging curve. If Walker says that Bush is on the same page as Obama when it comes to the Iran nuclear deal then he will not only knock the ball out of the park, but he will win the GOP nomination right then and there.
Have a look at Bush’s statement and see how absurd it is:
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.
Where do I begin? Well, to start with, it makes Bush look like the consummate Washington insider. Check with your allies? And do those allies include Russia and China? We know where they stand. But Britain and Germany were equally gung ho for the deal. Sure, it would be ideal if we had more allies beyond Israel, the Gulf States, and Canada in our corner. (Indeed, Canada might not be in our corner much longer, depending on the results of the October election.) But the Iran deal is so fundamentally wrong that it is one of those occasions where the United States might have to stand alone. If that comes to pass then Scott Walker is the man to do what is right, not necessarily what is popular.
As for having a Secretary of State, Defense, etc., I’m sure Walker can appoint those people during the transition. Indeed, I would imagine that Walker’s first appointment would be John Bolton. While it’s true that Congress couldn’t confirm Bolton or anyone else until Walker was sworn in himself, there’s nothing stopping Walker from getting the ball moving. When Bush says, “Wait, let’s appoint a Secretary of State,” he leaves one with the impression that a nuclear Iran isn’t an urgent matter. When it comes to Iran going nuclear, time is not an ally and stopping it cannot come a moment too soon.
So when Walker says, “I believe that a president shouldn’t wait to act until they put a Cabinet together or for a certain period of time. I believe that they should be prepared to act on the very first day they take office,” it is the kind of statement that inspires confidence. Bush’s criticisms of Walker do not inspire confidence. In fact, they only make Walker a viable alternative to Bush.
As Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol put it, “Bush seems more Bush-like, and Walker seems more Reagan-like; and being more Reagan-like is probably a little better in a Republican primary. I think Walker showed a certain toughness and confidence in being willing to mix it up with Bush, and that toughness usually serves politicians well.”
If Walker vs. Bush is reminiscent of Reagan vs. Bush, then Jeb Bush should be afraid, very afraid. All things considered, I think he already is. In short, Bush fears Walker.