Reuters reports today that Mitt Romney’s campaign foreign policy advisers are increasingly at odds, with the moderate faction fighting the neocons. “[F]ights have broken out over touchstone issues such as Russia and China,” Reuters says. The New York Times reported as much back in May and the campaign stresses that internal disputes are part of the normal process.
But one question is, which side is winning? One senior Republican operative told Reuters that it’s “the Cheney-ites”:
A long-time Republican activist who has been in contact with some of the Romney camp’s more centrist elements said that moderates “are very concerned about the fact that if Romney needs to call anyone, his instinct is to call the Cheney-ites.”
This is a reference to acolytes of former Vice President Dick Cheney. Several top former Cheney aides are among Romney’s advisers.
The Times also reported a Romney adviser saying the former Massachusetts governor doesn’t want to talk foreign policy during the campaign. Reuters says the fights over policy have resulted “in full-time staffers trying to limit Romney’s public statements on foreign policy” which perhaps explains why Romney’s foreign policy on a number of key issues isn’t all that different from President Obama’s.
But — despite the influence of moderates like Richard Williamson — the GOP operative’s observation confirms suspicions that Romney’s foreign policy is really being run by those that brought you the war in Iraq and want another in Iran. They’re just not comfortable talking about it — yet.