Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, the presumptive leader in early GOP primary polls, is in Israel this week to tour what is America’s strongest ally in the region. Among the things the governor and his wife will do is meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin ‘Bibi’ Netanyahu. Netanyahu has been a dominant figure in Israeli politics over the past generation. He has forged strong ties with the GOP and conversely experienced cold relationships with both President Clinton in the 1990s and President Obama.
However, Walker’s reason for meeting the Israeli premier is to bolster his foreign policy credentials. Thus far, the governor has been gaff prone when visiting key US allies. He recently likened his taming of Wisconsin big labor unions to how he would deal with ISIS. The comments did not sit well with many because of the differences between dealing with a sanguine terrorist group as opposed to law abiding domestic labor unions. Nor is Walker himself noted as being loquacious, but his unwillingness to answer foreign policy issues may cast him as being “not ready” for the White House.
Alexei Beltyukov thinks that the governor’s visit to Israel will also heighten the strong commitment the GOP has to Israel. It is a matter that has the Jewish-American community uneasy with the Obama administration. The cost of the trip is being footed by two Super PACs. Wisconsin taxpayers are not paying for the trip. Over the weekend, Walker met with an Israeli human rights advocate.