Should we count Walker’s “reversal” as a real reversal? He never said we should take more, he just declined to answer the question when it was first asked of him because it’s a hypothetical about what he’d do as president and he doesn’t deal in hypotheticals. Or something.
I’m going to count it. Reversal!
Asked about his response Wednesday in Eau Claire, the Republican presidential hopeful offered a much clearer position on the issue. He told reporters “the answer is no, we shouldn’t be taking on any more Syrian refugees right now.”
Walker said the U.S. is already doing more than any other country in the world to help refugees. “American has…received almost 70,000 refugees, of which nearly 2,000 are from Syria. We’ve spent something like $4 billion in humanitarian relief,” he said.
The governor called the refugee issue a “symptom” of a bigger problem – namely the influence of ISIS and President Barack Obama’s approaching to dealing with the Islamic group. “They drew a line in the sand, that opened the door to the problems in Syria,” he argued. “They withdrew out of Iraq too early, therefore opening the ground for ISIS to claim more territory.”
I’m pretty sure we’re not doing as much as Germany but that’s merely an observation, not a complaint. As for Trump, I still can’t believe he told O’Reilly on Tuesday night that he thinks we’re morally obliged on humanitarian grounds to accept Muslim refugees from Syria. It’s a defensible position, don’t get me wrong, but not one you’d ever expect from a guy who shot to the lead in the polls worrying about rapists from foreign countries invading the U.S. Someone must have pulled him aside on Wednesday and straightened him out because he’s back on message in this clip from Hannity’s show last night (via Top Right News). We’ve got our own problems, he says when Hannity asks him about the refugees. If anyone has the money and the cultural means to absorb Syrians en masse, he continues, it should be the Gulf states, exactly the sort of answer I anticipated yesterday in writing about the O’Reilly clip. The mystery remains, though: With conservatives worried about infiltration by ISIS and assimilation of illiberal Muslim cultures by a ruling class that celebrates multiculturalism, why would either Trump or Walker have ever dithered on this question? It’s the easiest lay-up they’ll get in the whole campaign. Somehow they both missed it and needed a putback.
Both of them also continue to insist that Obama bears great responsibility for the refugee crisis because he’s dithered on ISIS, and I continue to not really understand what that means. Even if we had sent in troops two years ago to smash ISIS, it wouldn’t have solved Syria’s sectarian problem. Assad would still be there, looking for revenge against the Sunnis who threatened his rule, and the Sunnis would still be there, looking to replace ISIS with another jihadist fighting force. The U.S. would have had to knock out Assad too and then install some sort of peacekeeping force to keep a lid on Sunni/Shiite tensions. How many American troops are you willing to sacrifice in that cause?
BREAKING: White House: US preparing to accept at least 10,000 Syrian refugees in FY2016.
— The Associated Press (@AP) September 10, 2015
We’ll see how assertive President Overreach is on this one. I think he’ll be okay with having Congress scramble his plans, thus sparing the Democratic nominee from defending this policy, as long as he gets to blame Republicans.
As for Trump, I assume his squishiness about the refugees will be quickly forgotten. He’ll benefit the most from this in the polls because he’s built the strongest brand for strong borders.