Scott Walker has been traveling the country, trying to convince people that a couple of sight seeing tours in Europe and boldly running away from protesters armed with signs makes him a foreign policy wonk.
And as a self-proclaimed foreign policy expert, Walker has been echoing George Bush by saying we need to take the fight to the bad guys, preferably in some oil-rich country like Iran, no doubt.
This past weekend, while campaigning in New Hampshire, Walker started to back pedal from the hawkish rhetoric by using double speak, citing Saint Ronnie and another one of his growing lists of gaffes:
Tough talk about taking on America's foes has been a staple of Gov. Scott Walker's rhetoric in the run-up to his likely presidential bid.Wait! Wut? "Open-ended excursions?"
But on a weekend swing here, he mixed his fighting words with some qualifiers.
He's not for "open-ended excursions," he told GOP activists on a cruise on Lake Winnipesaukee.
"We don't need to get into open-ended, endless engagements," he said at a banquet speech in Manchester.
"I don't think we should be the world's policeman," he told his audience at the Snowshoe Club in Concord. "I don't think we should go in everywhere."
Those caveats seemed designed to assure voters that, amid the hawkish talk about facing down Vladimir Putin and eradicating the Islamic State, Walker, a foreign policy novice, isn't overeager to use military force.
Asked by a reporter about those statements, Walker cited his political hero, Ronald Reagan, arguing Reagan was able to use U.S. troops with restraint because he built up the military and "people knew that he would use force if needed."
He told reporters Saturday: "Now we face a different foe today than we faced then, and I think we're going to need to use multiple ways. But I just want people to know that while I'm ready to be firm, my first intention, my first instinct, isn't to send in military forces. But I'm certainly not going to rule it out."
Either Walker meant to say incursions or he was comparing going to war to a pleasure cruise. Either way, that should make anyone nervous at the thought of him leading the world's most powerful military.
Even though Walker is unable and/or unwilling to give a straight answer, we can make a pretty safe prediction based on Walker's past behaviors.
At the beginning of Walker's first term as governor, said he was willing to bargain with public sector workers. Then he dropped the Act 10 bomb on the state, taking away the unions' bargaining rights.
Likewise, while campaigning for his second term, Walker dismissed the notion that he'd sign off on Right to Work. He signed the Wage Theft bill at the first opportunity.
Walker also said that abortion should be a decision between a woman and her doctor but has since pushed for and signed some of the most restrictive anti-choice laws in the country.
In other words, if Walker says he's against something, the safe bet is that he'll go with it as soon as he can.
So when it comes to putting boots on the ground in another country, even though he says it's not "his first instinct," he'll have troops invading Iran before he finishes with his inauguration.
H/T to James Rowen for the gaffe catch.