On Wednesday, February 11th, Scott Walker addressed one of the UK's most outstanding think tank's at Chatham House, in London and in more ways than one, came across like a dud. Most of the media attention focused on his refusal to answer a question about evolution, but what he refused to say about his foreign policy beliefs was just as important, especially to the London based think tank.
The Republican governor sought to bolster his foreign policy credentials ahead of his likely presidential run even as he evaded question after question on international affairs. In his last response, Walker ducked a question and follow-up from his interviewer about whether he believed in evolution, saying politicians were better off steering clear of that issue.
James D. Boys, a visiting fellow at King's College, professor at Richmond University in London and specialist on American foreign policy, left Chatham House after the speech unimpressed.
But Boys was disappointed that Walker declined to answer Boys' question by naming any foreign policy advisers or institutions that the governor relies on. As the governor of Arkansas ahead of the 1992 presidential campaign, Clinton reached out to advisers on foreign policy such as Madeleine Albright, who later became Clinton's secretary of state, Boys said.
"If you want to establish yourself as a foreign policy heavyweight, the best place to do it is on that platform at Chatham," Boys said. "I have to say I think he absolutely missed ... an opportunity."
The phrase, "not ready for prime time," comes to mind after Walker's London trip and surprisingly Fox News' Karl Rove had the same opinion about Walker's refusal to even answer one question about his thoughts on foreign affairs. The response Walker gave about not wanting to undermine a US sitting president on foreign soil is a sound one, but wasn't at all valid during the interview. it was a convenient excuse for a man out of his depth.
Rove joined Jon Scott on "Happening Now," and pounced on Walker's tactic.
Rove: Governor Walker gave a spectacular speech in Iowa a couple of weeks ago, went to London - useful to do, meets with the British Prime Minister, meets with the chancellor....the problem is if you're going to go to London and you don't want to make a substantive speech then don't accept an invitation from a prestigious British think tank because they're going to expect you to talk about foreign policy concerns, that's what they want to hear from an American.
What are you thinking about, the shape of the world and the role that the Europe and particularly the Brits play in it and Gov. Walker made a speech, took questions and clearly ducked and bobbed and weaved on every question on foreign affairs and I hope the lesson is, don't go to a venue where they expect you to talk about something and not be prepared to talk abut it.
Ouch! Ducking, bobbing and weaving aren't good words to describe one's performance.
Rove: ..when asked a question about your views, what you're for, you don't need to begin and end and make it about what you're against in the president's current formulation, but it is permissible I believe to go and say, here is what, here's my view of what we face and here are the challenges the next president will have to deal with.
The only way a visiting US politician can answer those questions is if they actually have real views on the topic. Now, if he was asked about bible verses, I'm sure he would have got an A on his report card.