This morning, once again trying to show that fighting against Wisconsin labor unions is pretty much the same as fighting ISIS or communism, Scott Walker repeated his contention that Ronald Reagan’s early move to fire striking air traffic controllers was more than just an attack on organized labor. It was also a critical foreign policy decision. Here’s what he originally said last month on Morning Joe:
One of the most powerful foreign policy decisions that I think was made in our lifetime was one that Ronald Reagan made early in his presidency when he fired the air traffic controllers….What it did, it showed our allies around the world that we were serious and more importantly that this man to our adversaries was serious.
Years later, documents released from the Soviet Union showed that that exactly was the case. The Soviet Union started treating [Reagan] more seriously once he did something like that. Ideas have to have consequences. And I think [President Barack Obama] has failed mainly because he’s made threats and hasn’t followed through on them.
PolitiFact decided to check up on this:
Five experts told us they had never heard of such documents. Several were incredulous at the notion.
[Joseph] McCartin….”I am not aware of any such documents. If they did exist, I would love to see them.”….Svetlana Savranskaya….”There is absolutely no evidence of this.”….James Graham Wilson….Not aware of any Soviet documents showing Moscow’s internal response to the controller firings….Reagan’s own ambassador to the Soviet Union, Jack Matlock, told us: “It’s utter nonsense. There is no evidence of that whatever.”
PolitiFact’s conclusion: “For a statement that is false and ridiculous, our rating is Pants on Fire.” But Walker shouldn’t feel too bad. After all, Reagan was also famous for making up facts and evidence that didn’t exist, so Walker is just taking after his hero. What’s more, Reagan’s fantasies never hurt him much. Maybe they won’t hurt Walker either.