Late last month, a senior GOP operative told Reuters that, when faced with foreign policy questions, Mitt Romney’s “instinct is to call the Cheney-ites” — those whose views align with former Vice President Dick Cheney. Just a day later, the New York Times reported that a former Cheney adviser guided Romney’s “hard line” on China policy.
Cheney’s and Romney’s views on foreign policy line up on a host of issues — something put on stark display last week when the former vice president hosted a fundraiser for Romney at his Wyoming home. The disastrous policies of the Bush era apparently remain unpopular enough that the Romney campaign barred photographs of the candidate with his host, but not enough to keep Romney from taking advice from the controversial figure. In an interview with National Review, Romney was asked about their meeting:
NATIONAL REVIEW: A few days ago, you visited Vice President Cheney. Did he have any advice for you?
ROMNEY: We did speak, at some length, about foreign-policy matters, in particular the circumstances surrounding some of the foreign-policy decisions of the Bush administration.
It’s worth remembering that Cheney was known to be a central figure in aggressive Bush administration policies that led, among other outcomes, to a costly and unnecessary war in Iraq (something several Romney advisers supported). Cheney — like some Romney advisers and other fundraisers — supported attacking Iran (in contravention to Romney’s espoused Iran policy). Cheney also considers himself a “big supporter of waterboarding,” and thinks the U.S. should revive the practice that most consider torture.
Romney previously called Cheney “a man of wisdom and judgement.” Now he’s actuating that assessment by taking advice from the former vice president.