Scott Walker, like every other aspiring GOP presidential candidate, is calling for President Obama to cancel a planned visit from Chinese President Xi Jinping scheduled for September. It's not surprising. The one common denominator that all of the candidates have is to be anti-Obama on everything.
It's almost a broken record -- I'll tear up the Iran Nuclear deal on day one, I'll repeal Obamacare and replace it with a much better plan that I'm not ready to explain yet, and so on. And of course their reasoning for saying Obama should cancel the visit from Xi Jinping is because of the lack of rights for Chinese citizens and especially Chinese workers.
Scott Walker has been very vocal in the last month calling for Obama to cancel the visit, calling China a "strategic competitor" and saying "we should expect more out of China." He also adds that he has been thinking about this for a long time and isn't just saying it because Donald Trump, who is the clear GOP frontrunner, has been saying it for two months.
There's only one problem with this rhetoric coming from Scott Walker. It's a tad hypocritical. Out of all the GOP candidates, Walker has been very pro-China. In April of 2013 he led a trade mission to China where the least of his goals was to take a stand for human rights. A year earlier he appeared on Chinese state television wearing a lapel pin depicting the US flag and Chinese flag joined together. And again, there was only praise for China, no mention of the citizen's living and working conditions.
But all of that pales in comparison to what Scott Walker attempted to do with the budget in 2013. He added a proposal to lift the prohibition of foreign ownership of Wisconsin land. The current law, enacted in 1887 and upheld by the Supreme Court in 1976, allows for only 640 acres to be owned by a foreign individual or entity.
We're all used to politicians adding their earmarks and trying to sneak amendments into other bills, but to try to use the state budget to erase a 126-year-old law so your Chinese comrades can buy up as much Wisconsin farmland as they want is very brazen to say the least. I know Walker wants Wisconsin to be a red state, but this is ridiculous.
Even other Republicans in the state were taken off guard and took a stand against this proposal. Sen. Dale Schultz (R-Richland Center) and a member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, was one of those, saying he had never heard suggestions that the laws were outdated and needed to be changed.
That law was originally put in place for ag purposes, but there's no question that this would allow the Chinese government to buy a big chunk of land in northwest Wisconsin if it wanted to. -- Sen. Dale Schultz
Rep. Lee Nelson (R-Westby) who is the chairman of the Assembly agriculture committee, had reservations as well.
To me, I think we need to leave it where it was. That's something we need to sit down and talk about. -- Rep. Lee Nelson
Democrat leaders in the state had their worries as well.
He is going to have to explain this one. I have plenty of questions, not that I could ever be convinced that we need to sell that much land to China. -- Rep. Andy Jorgensen, D-Fort Atkinson
The main problem is that these companies would be able to raise so much money that they could outbid or drive the market up for any Wisconsin farmer. Right now the biggest problem that young farmers have is getting over the initial capital investment to buy the land. We've seen a 10-fold increase in the value of land in the past 10 to 15 years. ... It's not that easy to start out anymore. -- Sen. Kathleen Vinehout, D-Alma
In the end there was enough pressure from just about everyone for Walker to make the decision to pull the provision from the budget. It was a wise decision, but it sure makes you wonder about his loyalties.
And as for President Obama, he will almost certainly broach the topic of human rights during Xi Jinping's visit next month, much like he did when he visited China last year. But for Obama's stance on China to be remotely the same as Walker's, he would have to totally ignore the human rights issue while selling China every state in the US with ocean-front property.