MEMO: Scott Walker Refusing to Answer Questions after Doubling Down on Extreme Positions

MEMO: Scott Walker Refusing to Answer Questions after Doubling Down on Extreme Positions
TO: Interested Parties
FROM: Brad Woodhouse, President, American Bridge 21st Century
DATE: Tuesday, March 10, 2015

As Scott Walker gets closer and closer to announcing his run for president, he’s doubling down on extreme positions that are taking him closer and closer to the right wing conservative base. On top of that, he’s avoiding answering press questions on these positions because he only wants to talk about them to extreme audiences who share his views. In just the past couple weeks, he avoided answering press questions at CPAC in late February, after a speech to the Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce last week, at the Iowa Ag Summit this past weekend, and after signing his disastrous right-to-work bill in Wisconsin yesterday.

Since Scott Walker won’t talk about his positions, we’re happy to fill the void. Here’s what Walker has been up to lately:

Walker’s coming unhinged as he prepares to run for president – but he doesn’t want to talk about it. For a closer look at his extreme positions, take a look at the following research compiled by American Bridge.

Foreign Policy

ISIS/Unions

Walker On ISIS: “If I Can Take On A 100,000 Protesters, I Can Do The Same Across The World.”  According to Bloomberg, “At the Conservative Political Action Conference on Thursday, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker drew a comparison between Islamic State militants and the Wisconsin union protesters with whom he has repeatedly clashed since 2011. In response to a question about how he would deal with global threats such as the one posed by ISIS, Walker drew from his personal experience. ‘If I can take on a 100,000 protesters, I can do the same across the world,’ Walker said on the CPAC stage, after giving a longer answer about how he would handle ISIS if he were the president.” [Bloomberg, 3/1/15]

Walker Claimed That His Attacks On Unions Would Send A Signal Of Toughness To ISIS And Vladimir Putin. According to an opinion by Larry Kudlow in National Review, “Noteworthy, Walker argued that when Reagan fired the PATCO air-traffic controllers over their illegal strike, he was sending a message of toughness to Democrats and unions at home as well as our Soviet enemies abroad. Similarly, Walker believes his stance against unions in Wisconsin would be a signal of toughness to Islamic jihadists and Russia’s Vladimir Putin.” [Larry Kudlow – National Review, 2/20/15]

Walker: “The Most Significant Foreign Policy Decision My Lifetime [….]Was In August Of 1981, When Ronald Reagan Fired The Air Traffic Controllers.”  According to Politico, “Two days after provocatively suggesting that standing up to organized labor in Wisconsin has prepared him to fight terrorists overseas as president, Scott Walker told a crowd of conservative donors on Saturday that ‘the most significant foreign policy decision’ of his lifetime was when Ronald Reagan fired 11,000 air traffic controllers. […]’Candidly, I think foreign policy is something that’s not just about having a PhD or talking to PhDs. It’s about leadership,’ he said. ‘I would contend the most significant foreign policy decision in my lifetime was made by a president who was previously a governor. A president who made a decision that wasn’t even about foreign policy. It was in August of 1981, when Ronald Reagan fired the air traffic controllers. ” [Politico, 2/28/15]

PolitiFact: Walker Claim That “The Soviet Union Started Treating” Ronald Reagan More Seriously After Reagan Fired The Air Traffic Controllers Was Pants On Fire. According to PolitiFact, “Touching on foreign policy issues, Walker said: ‘Documents released from the Soviet Union’ show ‘the Soviet Union started treating’ Ronald Reagan more seriously after Reagan fired the air traffic controllers. There is a view, echoed by Walker, that the firings caught the Soviets’ attention. But Walker cited no Soviet documents showing that the firings made the Soviets treat Reagan more seriously. And experts, several of whom felt Walker’s claim is outrageous, told us they are not aware that any such documents exist. For a statement that is false and ridiculous, our rating is Pants on Fire.” [PolitiFact, 1/28/15]

Right To Work

Walker Said Legislature’s Timing On Right To Work Bill Was “Just Right.” According to the Associated Press, “The Legislature’s timing on taking up the right-to-work bill was “just right,” Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said Thursday, adding that he believes the public has been given plenty of opportunities to express themselves on the fast-tracked proposal. […] Walker also addressed questions Thursday about his previous comments that right-to-work would be a distraction from his agenda, saying it was an appropriate moment because the debate falls between when he introduced his budget and before lawmakers will debate the spending plan. ‘Timing-wise it doesn’t create a separate issue that detracts from the other work we have to do,’ Walker told reporters. ‘The timing was just right.’” [Associated Press, 2/26/15]

Walker Claimed That He Had Always Supported Right To Work Legislation And That There Was A “Term Limit” On His Pledge To Fight It.  According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “On Tuesday, Walker was asked about his decision to support right to work legislation in light of his those comments two years ago. The governor said he has always supported the idea but in 2012 didn’t think it was the right time to push forward with right to work legislation. ‘I thought it would create all sorts of chaos and misdirection,’ Walker said Tuesday at a Green Bay event. ‘And I think for the employer base in this state, we needed to have some stability to give people confidence that Wisconsin was headed back on the right track.’ Asked if there was, in effect, a term limit on his pledge to fight right to work, Walker said, ‘At that time, yes.’” [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 2/25/15]

PolitiFact: Walker Full Flop On Supporting Right To Work.  According to PolitiFact, “Echoing comments he made in 2012, Walker stated in September 2014 that ‘I’m not supporting’ right to work legislation in the 2015 legislative session. But on Feb. 20, 2015, with Republican lawmakers poised to send him such legislation, Walker said he would sign it. That is certainly a form of support. For a major reversal of position, we give Walker a Full Flop.” [PolitiFact, 2/23/15]

Abortion

Walker Announced Support For A Ban On Abortions After 20-Weeks. According to The Weekly Standard, “In an open letter released on Tuesday, Wisconsin governor Scott Walker said he would sign legislation banning most abortions after the fifth month of pregnancy, the point after which infants can feel pain and survive if born prematurely. ‘As the Wisconsin legislature moves forward in the coming session, further protections for mother and child are likely to come to my desk in the form of a bill to prohibit abortions after 20 weeks. I will sign that bill when it gets to my desk and support similar legislation on the federal level,’ Walker wrote. ‘I was raised to believe in the sanctity of life and I will always fight to protect it.’” [Weekly Standard, 3/3/15]

Walker: “I Will Sign That Bill [20 Week Abortion Ban] When It Gets To My Desk And Support Similar Legislation On The Federal Level.”  According to a Letter From Scott Walker, “As the Wisconsin legislature moves forward in the coming session, further protections for mother and child are likely to come to my desk in the form of a bill to prohibit abortions after 20 weeks. I will sign that bill when it gets to my desk and support similar legislation on the federal level.” [Scott Walker – Open Letter On Life, 3/3/15]

PolitiFact: True That “Scott Walker Wants To Make Abortion Illegal, Even In Cases Of Rape, Incest, Or To Protect The Life Of The Mother.” According to PolitiFact, “In the race for governor, Democrat Tom Barrett said his opponent, Republican Scott Walker, ‘wants to make abortion illegal, even in cases of rape, incest, or to protect the life of the mother.’ Walker acknowledges that is his position. We rate Barrett’s claim True.’ [PolitiFact, 10/26/10]

48-Hour Handgun Waiting Period

Walker Supported Bill To Remove Wisconsin’s 48 Hour Waiting Period For Handgun Purchases. According to the Journal Times, “Gov. Scott Walker is offering support for a bill that would eliminate Wisconsin’s 48 hour waiting period for handgun purchases, saying he wants the state ‘to be a leader’ on the issue. ‘We’ve gone big and bold with a lot of issues. That’s one of those where with new technology, we want to make sure the bad guys don’t get firearms, and the good guys do,’ Walker told the National Rifle Association’s news network during an interview Friday at a conservative political conference outside Washington, D.C. “ [Journal Times, 3/3/15]

Scott Walker: Eliminating Wisconsin’s 48-Hour Handgun Purchase Waiting Period Would Make The State “A Leader” On The Issue. According to the Wisconsin State Journal, “Gov. Scott Walker is offering support for a bill that would eliminate Wisconsin’s 48-hour waiting period for handgun purchases, saying he wants the state ‘to be a leader’ on the issue.” [Wisconsin State Journal, 3/3/15]

Immigration

Scott Walker On Immigration: “My View Has Changed, I’m Flat-Out Saying It.” According to Politico, “Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker says his views have changed on immigration — and he doesn’t support amnesty for undocumented immigrants living in the U.S. Pressed about previous statements in which he allowed that immigrants who are currently in the U.S. illegally could stay if they paid certain penalties, Walker said in an interview aired on ‘Fox News Sunday’: ‘My view has changed, I’m flat-out saying it. Candidates can say that, sometimes they don’t.’” [Politico, 3/1/15]

Breitbart: Walker “Has Come Out Swinging Against The Deal House Speaker John Boehner And Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Just Cut” Over DACA. According to Breitbart, “Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a frontrunner in many 2016 GOP presidential polls in recent weeks, has come out swinging against the deal House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell just cut with congressional Democrats to fund President Obama’s executive amnesty.” [Breitbart, 3/4/15]

  • Congressional Republicans Cut Deal With Democrats To Fund Department of Homeland Security. According to the Daily Caller, “The GOP’s business wing is openly siding with President Barack Obama’s alliance of progressive and media to pressure conservative GOP legislators into accepting Obama’s executive amnesty… 16 GOP senators switched votes in the Senate to join with 42 Democratic senators in rejecting the House GOP’s effort to block spending on the unpopular amnesty, which would be funded via the Department of Homeland Security. The vote switchers include Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Whip Sen. John Cornyn. Last week, they supported the anti-amnesty measures in the DHS bill, but did little to rally public opinion against Obama’s amnesty.” [Daily Caller, 3/3/15]

Walker: “I Don’t Believe In Amnesty.” According to the Daily Caller, Walker said, “I don’t believe in amnesty. Part of the reason why I made that a firm position, is that I look at the way that this president has mishandled that issue. I’m one of the governors that join — I was one of the first governors that joined the lawsuit that has been successful at least on this initial technicality, and I hope we prevail ultimately throughout the courts. And then going forward, the way to enforce it is not through amnesty.” [Daily Caller, 3/1/15]

Evolution

Walker Refused To Answer Question On If He Believed In Evolution. According to National Journal, “‘I’m going to punt on that one as well,’ Walker said after being asked if he was comfortable with the idea of evolution, and if he believes in it. ‘That’s a question a politician shouldn’t be involved in one way or the other.’” [National Journal, 2/11/15]

  • Walker Statement: “Both Science And My Faith Dictate My Belief That We Are Created By God. I Believe Faith And Science Are Compatible, And Go Hand In Hand.” According to Politico, “In a statement to POLITICO later Wednesday, Walker said: ‘Both science and my faith dictate my belief that we are created by God. I believe faith and science are compatible, and go hand in hand.’” [Politico, 2/11/15]

Comments On Obama

Walker Said He Did Not Know If Obama Was A Christian. According to the Washington Post, “Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a prospective Republican presidential contender, saidSaturday he does not know whether President Obama is a Christian. ‘I don’t know,’ Walker said in an interview at the JW Marriott hotel in Washington, where he was attending the winter meeting of the National Governors Association. Told that Obama has frequently spoken publicly about his Christian faith, Walker maintained that he was not aware of the president’s religion.” [Washington Post, 2/21/15]

  • Walker Agreed With His Staff That Obama Was A Christian.According to The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “Asked to resolve the matter, the governor sided with his staff. ‘What they said, what they said,’ Walker said, referring to his aides who affirmed Obama’s faith. ‘My point in all that was that I wasn’t going to get in the middle. I just thought it was a ridiculous question to ask, to begin with.’” [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 2/24/15]

Walker Said He Did Not Know If Obama Loved His Country.  According to the Associated Press, ‘Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a leading Republican contender for the White House in 2016, said Saturday he doesn’t know whether President Barack Obama loves his country. ‘You should ask the president what he thinks about America,’ Walker told The Associated Press while in Washington for a weekend meeting of the National Governors Association. ‘I’ve never asked him so I don’t know.’” [Associated Press, 2/21/15]

  • Walker “Anybody Who Puts Their Name On The Ballot As To Have A Love For Their Country.” According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “It took a while, but Gov. Scott Walker is finally saying — sorta, kinda — what he thinks about President Barack Obama’s patriotism and faith. In short, the Wisconsin governor indirectly agreed with his staff that Obama is a Christian, and he suggested, in a very roundabout way, that he thinks the president cares for America. ‘Anybody who puts their name on the ballot’ — presumably including Obama — ‘has to have a love for their country,’ Walker said twice following a news conference in Green Bay on Tuesday.” [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 2/24/15]

Pandering to the Right-Wing Conservative Base

Paul Waldman: “Scott Walker Panders to Republican Party’s Lunatic Wing.” According to the American Prospect, “This question [about President Obama’s Christian faith] does actually reveal something worth knowing about Walker, because it’s rooted in today’s Republican Party. It tells us that Walker is (as yet anyway) unwilling to stand up to the Republican primary electorate’s ample population of lunatics, the people who think Barack Obama is a Mooslem Marxist foreigner enacting his secret Alinskyite plan to destroy America. Depending on which poll you read, those people may constitute a majority of Republican voters. Walker is either afraid to alienate them, or perhaps he genuinely shares many of their beliefs. This isn’t about whether you’re a “real” conservative; you can be emphatically right-wing on every policy issue but still be tethered enough to reality not to get seduced by conspiracy theories and fantasies of Obama’s otherness.” [Paul Waldman – American Prospect, 2/23/15]

NRO’s Jonah Goldberg: “That the Wisconsin governor is not ready for prime time is rapidly becoming conventional wisdom.” According to the National Review Online, “That the Wisconsin governor is not ready for prime time is rapidly becoming conventional wisdom. At an off-the-record yet widely reported donor event in New York City (the one where Rudy Giuliani accused the president of not loving America), Walker avoided concrete or specific answers on nearly every major issue not squarely in his Wisconsin comfort zone. At the Club for Growth event, the moderator interviewing Walker told him point-blank that “the feedback” from that N.Y. event “was that you were not prepared to speak about foreign policy.” On Saturday, the Washington Examiner’s Byron York asked Walker where he came down on the fight over funding for the Department of Homeland Security and about the larger question of immigration policy. Walker replied with a gale of word fog.” [Jonah Goldberg – National Review Online, 3/4/15]