Scott Walker proves his foreign policy manhood by going to more countries than his opponents

When it comes to proving his conservative bona fides, Scott Walker has his domestic bases covered. None of the other Republican candidates have busted as many unions or cut as many education dollars or broken as many budgets as the current governor of Wisconsin. Walker is, hands down, the presidential candidate most qualified to serve the donor class. After all, he’s already gotten the Kochs’ stamp of approval and he hasn’t even (officially) announced he’s running yet.

But with the economy recovering and the rest of the world being, as Ted Cruz would say, “on fire,” 2016 is shaping up to be a foreign policy election. What does Walker, a former state senator in and current governor of a midwestern state, have to say about global affairs? And why should we pay attention?

That was, in effect, the question posed to Walker by Bob Schieffer on CBS’s Face the Nation yesterday. And while Walker didn’t compare unions to the Islamic State, as he did at CPAC earlier this year, his answer was more empty than offensive this time around.

Watch below, via RawStory:

Walker’s answer started off well enough. He made the obligatory homage to Reagan — America’s greatest dead living president — before suggesting that “experience” is just one of those fancy words that the press uses to delegitimize true leaders, who don’t need to know much about a country to know that America can and will put a boot in its ass:

As a governor, it’s really ultimately about leadership. To me, in my lifetime, one of the best presidents when it comes to foreign policy was a governor from California. In my lifetime, one of the worst presidents when it comes to foreign policy was a freshman senator from Illinois. So I think it’s not just about past experiences; it’s about leadership.

Of course, that governor of California illegally sold arms to a country that was officially designated as a state sponsor of terrorism, and then used those funds to illegally support an anti-democratic revolution in a foreign country. But being a good president isn’t about knowing anything about the experiences of the past; it’s about having the leadership necessary to forget the past.

In any case, Walker then went on to argue that it doesn’t matter if he personally knows anything about foreign policy, because that’s what other, smarter people are for:

Scott Walker, via Gil C / Shutterstock.com

Scott Walker, via Gil C / Shutterstock.com

As a governor, you have to to put a cabinet in place, and hopefully you pick people as smart or smarter than you on any given topic. I think that’s something that’s required of a successful president, putting people in place — be it Secretary of Defense, National Security Advisors, Secretary of State and others — and then having the good sense to listen to them and to others in the chain of command and the military, consulting with the Congress. All those sorts of things I think are important of a president. And I think successful governors — in either party — have to do that every single day: consult with people in their cabinet and act.

To be fair, Walker isn’t wrong here. Presidents need to hire good people and delegate effectively. However, that has absolutely nothing to do with Walker’s previous foreign policy experience, and if anything admits to listeners that there’s a serious lack thereof. At this point, we’re about 90 seconds into what would amount to an 110-second answer and we still haven’t heard anything about Walker’s foreign policy experience. But not to worry, Walker finally got around to laying out his credentials by the end of his answer:

Beyond that…as a governor, I’ve been to, just recently in Germany and Spain and France. Earlier in year went to the United Kingdom on trade-related missions. A few years back in China and Japan, so that’s probably the most that any governor of either party has is that experience in terms of trade relations.

There you have it: Scott Walker has more foreign policy experience than his opponents because he has more foreign experience than his opponents. Beyond the six countries he mentioned in his answer, Walker also just got back from his Republican Birthright trip to Israel, courtesy of Sheldon Adelson, and he can probably see Canada from his house. So that makes eight countries that he’s visited. That’s probably at least five countries more qualified than Rick Perry, right?

Stepping on foreign soil does not a global citizen make. And of course, if Walker really wants to go there, and reduce foreign policy expertise to a country-counting dick-measuring contest, Hillary Clinton would be more than happy to oblige.


Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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