The latest kerfuffle — actually it’s more than that — in the Republican presidential shootout is between Jeb Bush and Scott Walker and it’s over the all-important Iran deal. Stephen Hayes writes in The Weekly Standard:
Speaking to reporters here Saturday after an appearance at the Family Leadership Summit, Walker said the next president will need to be prepared to take aggressive action against Iran, “very possibly” including military strikes, on the day he or she is inaugurated, and said he would not be comfortable with a commander in chief who is unwilling to act aggressively on day one of a new presidency. In his announcement speech at the beginning of the week, Walker had promised to ‘terminate’ the Iran deal on day one of his presidency, and Bush, at a town hall four days later, said ending the deal on the first day of a new administration was unrealistic and suggested that promises to do so, while politically appealing, reflected a lack of seriousness
Walker advisers suggested Bush was softening his opposition to the deal, claims that the Bush campaign denied. “They are purposefully misrepresenting his view,” says one Bush adviser. And Bush, in a statement to THE WEEKLY STANDARD Sunday night, called the agreement a “terrible deal” and said if elected president he “would begin immediately to responsibly get us out of this deal.”
But Bush — in a veiled attack on Walker, who is suddenly spurting in the polls — had put on his “presidential” hat and said the agreement should be quashed in a diplomatic, collegial manner — allies notified, a cabinet (particularly State and Defense) first put in place, etc.
The problem with this approach is that it sends a business-as-usual message to Democrats and waffling Republicans in Congress, implying that the deal may be bad, but what’s done is done and.. oh, well, next. They don’t really have to take a stand, just pretend. We could call that the James Baker “realist” angle, although Bush putatively dropped Baker as an adviser after pressure. It also sends the wrong message to the ayatollahs, who are enjoying their victory lap while pocketing enough cash to pay the Greek debt and them some.
How Bush would really behave towards Iran is anybody’s guess, but I suspect he made a bigger mistake here with the Republican electorate than he did bungling Megyn Kelly’s question on Iraq on her show. Obama has been anything but collegial in his approach to Iran, taking his bizarre deal to the UN even before Congress. He deserves to be opposed the most adamant way possible — essentially as Scott Walker has done.
The Monmouth Poll of Iowa voters referenced above that was just released today shows Walker suddenly lapping the field at 22% with Trump in second place at 13% and Bush a poor 7%. This was obliviously taken too early for the full impact of Trumps birdbrained comments about McCain’s military service or Bush’s backpedaling on Iran to be felt. Walker soon could be even further ahead. Watch out — we may actually have a frontrunner.