GOP candidates spoke last week at the SRLC in OKC

President Obama is doing a lousy job of protecting America and should be replaced – but not by Hillary Clinton.

That was one of the strong themes from a host of Republican candidates (or almost candidates) at last weekend’s Southern Republican Leadership Conference in Oklahoma City.

Gov. Scott Walker, R-Wisconsin, said he would announce his intentions in June following completion of his state budget process.

“When I see a video of a Jordanian pilot burned alive in a cage, when I see Christians from Egypt and elsewhere around the world beheaded or shot in the head execution style because of their faith – that’s something I feel in my heart and my soul,” Walker told the GOP crowd. “I get so frustrated with what’s happening in this country and this world, particularly with the way this president reacted to the issue of safety.

“I see a president who drew a line in the sand and allowed people to cross it. I see a president who just last year called ISIS a JV squad, who calls Yemen a ‘success story.’ Who calls Iran a place we can do business with.

“Why are we talking about doing a deal with them?”

Iran needs to dismantle its nuclear infrastructure and have full disclosure of its capability, Walker said.

Walker, who traveled to Israel in May, said every government leader he met with was “distraught about the Iran deal.” Obama wants to sign a deal with Iran that will eventually lead to nuclear weapon capability.

“They feel every day the way we felt after 9/11,” Walker said. “They feel like they don’t have an ally in the United States – at least not the president of United States anymore.

“Once and for all, we need a commander in chief in this country who will tell it like it is and lay out that radical Islamic terrorism is a threat to us all and we are going to do something to stop it.

“We need to acknowledge that Israel is an ally of the United States and start treating them as such.”

“We need to take the fight to them, before they bring the fight to us.”

Oklahoma Labor Commissioner Mark Costello, who spoke at the conference, predicted afterward that Walker would be the GOP presidential nominee because he has broad appeal to all segments of the Republican Party.

U.S. Rep. Jim Bridenstine, R-Oklahoma, was a Navy pilot in 2003 on the U.S. Abraham Lincoln. He said the fall of Iraq will be the responsibility of the failed foreign policy of Obama and Hillary Clinton.

“I want to be really clear about the national security of this country,” Bridenstine said at the conference. “The greatest threat to our national security is not global warming, regardless of what the president would have you believe.”

Obama’s military advisors told him to keep 20,000-24,000 troops in Iraq to sustain the blood-bought victories from the 2007 surge, Bridenstine said. Obama said no and the advisors came up with a plan for 10,000 troops. Obama said no.

The troops were withdrawn and now Iraq is being overrun by ISIS.

“Terrorism. Chaos. Ethnic cleansing. And genocides,” Bridenstine said. “This now engulfs a broad swath of the Middle East and endangers the United States of America.

“When you are president of the United States, you do not make decisions based on the best interests of your political party prospects – you make decisions in the best interests of your country. Period.”

Bridenstine said Hillary Clinton was part of those failed policies and therefore not qualified to be president of the United States.

Walker said Obama and Hillary Clinton have the incorrect view of how to move America forward.

“I listen to people like President Obama and people like Hillary and I would swear they think you grow the economy by growing Washington,” Walker said. “That’s no hyperbole.”

A report last year showed that the top six of the top 10 wealthiest counties in the country were in and around Washington, D.C.

“I call it 68 square miles surrounded by reality,” Walker said. “You grow the economy by empowering people, not by having government create more jobs.”

Lowering the tax burden, reining in regulations and  repealing Obamacare are ideas that are part of the solution, Walker said.

“You do it with an energy policy that uses what God has given us in this great country,” Walker said. “We have an abundance of supply.”

Lifting more domestic restrictions on energy production would add to America’s security and allow imports to key allies – including Europe, which would lessen their reliance on Middle Eastern and Russia imports, Walker said.

“All these things are about growth,” Walker said. “We can move this country forward. It can help us with our debt and deficit. It can put our neighbors back to work. It can raise our wages.”

Since he has been governor, Walker has cut taxes – including state income tax and property taxes – by $2 billion.

“We have to talk more about reform,” Walker said. “President Obama and Hillary, they talk about measuring success in government by how many people are dependent on the government – by how many people are on unemployment, on food stamps. The rest of us in America should measure success by how many people are no longer are dependent on government.

“We understand that true freedom and prosperity does not come from the mighty hand of the government – it comes from the power of people living their own lives and control their destinies.”

Other speakers who are announced or potential candidates at the conference were:

  • Former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton
  • Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, brother of former President George W. Bush and son of former President George H.W. Bush
  • Dr. Ben Carson
  • Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania
  • Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal
  • Businesswoman Carly Fiorina
  • Florida U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio
  • U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas
  • New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie
  • U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina
  • Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry

Several candidates and potential candidates – including U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee – are running for the GOP nomination.

SoonerPoll polled 958 attendees at the conference and Carson got 25 percent of the vote. Walker got 20 percent and Cruz got 17 percent. None of the other seven in the Top 10 got more than 5 percent. They were in order: Christie, Perry, Bush, Paul, Rubio, Jindal, Fiorina. Santorum and Huckabee were also in the poll.