Walker vs. Bush dustup on Iran raises questions about president’s first day

Amid the fanfare surrounding presidential contender Donald Trump, much news is overlooked, and the latest involves a dustup between Gov. Scott Walker (Wisc.) and former Florida governor Jeb Bush. The disagreement is about President Barack Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran and whether the next president should take action on it on the first day in office. 

Neither candidate, both of whom poll at the top currently, likes the deal. Nor does another top-tier candidate, Senator Marco Rubio (Fla.) who, despite the best (failed) efforts of progressive ‘fact-checkers’ to prove otherwise, is right about the 24/7 inspections claims by Obama’s supporters. Iran has actually, via the country’s influential wonks at the Islamic Policy Research Center, deemed military sites off limits. The Obama administration is making claims that are contradicted by Iranian policy makers.

The IPRC statement on the deal is blunt—those ‘fact-checkers’ apparently missed it:

“It is the policy of every independent country to keep its military sites within its territory, adding that nuclear installations are categorized as classified sites and no foreign inspections of such sites is allowed.”

The Weekly Standard, a conservative publication, reporting on the dustup with Bush, said Walker promised to “work to reverse the deal on day one.” [emphasis added]

Bush disagreed with that approach. The Standard cited remarks by the former governor at a town hall in Nevada:

“One thing that I won’t do is just say, as a candidate, I’m going to tear up the agreement on the first day. That’s great, that sounds great but maybe you ought to check in with your allies first, maybe you ought to appoint a secretary of state, maybe secretary of defense, you might want to have your team in place, before you take an act like that.’”

The Scott team has a different take:

“By January 2017, they argue, Iran will have earned many of the most significant benefits of the agreement – substantial sanctions relief, preservation of its nuclear infrastructure, international approbation as a member of the community of nations.”

Presidents do typically take significant actions on their first day in office.

Upon assuming command, Obama froze salaries for White House employees earning more than $100,000 a year. He promised to limit lobbyists’ access to the White House. He drafted an executive order to close Gitmo in his first year. He also promised “to make government responsible” and “accountable.”

On August 15, 2014 The Washington Post reported the outcome of  Obama’s actions on lobbyists via the article, “There Are 65 former lobbyists working in the Obama Administration”.

Obama’s predecessor, President George W. Bush, also took decisive actions on day one starting with an executive order to block US tax dollars from groups who performed and/or actively promoted abortion “as a method of family planning.”

Also on his first day, Bush put forth Cabinet nominations and ordered federal agencies “to suspend implementing new regulations.” He issued that suspension “within an hour of taking office,” said CNN.

Bush 43 took office amid a recession Bill Clinton passed along. He also took office as a de facto war with Iraq was in progress. Clinton had, along with the United Kingdom, been heavily bombing Iraq since 1999. Media appear to have forgotten Clinton’s policy seeking Saddam Hussein’s ouster in Iraq.

In general terms, Bush 43 did something else. He stressed the concept of unity among Americans instead of obsessing about our differences largely on the basis of skin color.

How informed is a president on his first day in office? The Weekly Standard explained:

“Bush is incorrect in his claim that he ‘would not have had the intelligence briefings to make decisions.’ In fact, such briefings begin even before the general election, with the nominees of the major parties being eligible for high-level briefings once they are formally nominated. In 2012, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan started attending regular sessions with U.S. intelligence officials in early September. The frequency and detail of those briefings increases after the presidential election has been decided.”

Republican candidates polling in the top tier have all questioned the terms of what we know about Obama’s negotiations with Iran.

(Commentary by Kay B. Day/July 20, 2015)

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About Kay Day

Kay B. Day is a freelance writer who has published in national and international magazines and websites. The author of 3 books, her work is anthologized in textbooks and collections. She has won awards for poetry, nonfiction and fiction. Day is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors and the Authors Guild.
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