How Can Republicans Out-Do Scott Walker’s “Day One” Pledge on the Iran Nuke Deal?

Here’s a puzzler for you: we all know the next week will feature a competition among the 35 or 52 or however many Republicans are considering a 2016 presidential run as to who can say the most irresponsible things about the multilateral nuclear deal with Iran that just got a big step closer to reality yesterday. But how are they going to outdo Scott Walker’s pledge, initially made last week and then repeated like a terroristic threat, that he’d blow up any such deal on his first day as president? I mean, I guess someone could say they’d shout insults at Tehran during their Election Night victory party, or during their nomination acceptance speech call on the Israelis to launch a unilateral military strike. But in terms of official action, Day One is as good as it gets. If I’m wrong, I shudder to think what might be worse.

Walker’s ploy is highly reminiscent of Mitt Romney’s pledge in 2012 that on the first day of his presidency he’d instruct his HHS Secretary (not that he’d actually have one that early) to issue blanket waivers to all 50 states that would have the effect of relieving them of any obligation to comply with the Affordable Care Act of 2010. That would have been quite implausible legally, but it was clever politically, insofar as Mitt stood accused of being the actual father of the Affordable Care Act. The “Day One” boast gave him a sure applause line from Republican audiences that enabled him to move on to other, safer subjects–you know, like “self-deportation” and the lucky ducky poor who didn’t have to pay income taxes.

So Walker can henceforth address Iran with a pre-vetted slogan that distracts attention from his lack of foreign policy experience (other than dealing with all those Not-Real-American protesters in Madison). I guess all his rivals can do is to turn the volume up to 11.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.