Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney was in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Thursday evening in one of his campaign's biggest fundraisers to date. The event was hosted by former Vice President Dick Cheney at the "western-elegant" Teton Pines Country Club along with prominent business executives and over two hundred guests. It is expected that the Romney campaign hauled in nearly $5.5 million at the ritzy event attended by GOP donors and Bush/Cheney loyalists.
The fundraiser represents the disturbing re-emergence of Dick Cheney into the national political scene after his heart transplant surgery last April. How can anyone forget the Cheney neoconservative legacy of preemptive war and outright torture? Mitt Romney, by virtue of his ties with Cheney and his neocon followers, is showing himself to be a candidate whose foreign policy stances are now no different from that of Cheney’s several years ago.
A total of three receptions took place Thursday night at the Teton Pines Country Club for campaign contributors donating between $1,000 and $10,000. Those individuals or couples donating $30,000 or more were invited to Dick Cheney’s private residence for dinner later on that evening. Dick Scarlett, CEO of United Bancorporation of Wyoming, and Allan Tessler, CEO of Data Broadcasting Corporation, were also present to co-host the fundraiser with Cheney.
Mitt Romney, while campaigning in Sun Lakes, Arizona last year for the GOP nomination told the crowd that believed Cheney to be a “person of wisdom and judgment” who “could have been President of the United States.” What kind of wisdom drives a supposed fiscally conservative administration to a trillion dollar quagmire in the Middle East? What kind of judgment leads a Vice President to advocate for an attack on Iran during the last days of his administration?
Neoconservative foreign policy hawk John Bolton, George W. Bush’s former ambassador to the United Nations, said during Thursday’s event, "I think it's a strong endorsement for Romney by a very visible conservative figure in the Republican Party, and I think that's a big plus for Romney that will help the enthusiasm of a lot of people on the conservative side." This coming from a man who every time Fox News puts him in front of a camera says nothing but how good a time it is to attack Iran --immediately.
Dubya’s former deputy press secretary and Bush White House alumni association leader Tony Fratto also attended the event and told Reuters on Cheney’s support for Romney, “I think it's terrific that he's doing it.”
Furthermore, more neoconservatives are involved with the Romney campaign than one would think. Romney’s foreign policy team features Eliot Cohen, a member of the ill-fated Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, and Robert Kagan, a founding member of the Project for a New American Century (along with Weekly Standard writer and Fox News contributor Bill Kristol). Eric Edelman, former aide to Cheney and advocate for attacking and starting a war with Iran, is also a part of Romney’s campaign.
Former Vice President Dick Cheney’s record on Iran, Iraq, and torture ought to be the stuff of scorn for all American voters who remember the Bush years. Cheney advocated for water boarding as a form of torture, protested against leaving Iraq, and wanted to attack Iran in the latter days of his vice presidency. Unfortunately, there is no daylight between Romney and Cheney on those issues.
Because Romney is willing to say and do just about anything in order to be elected president, the association between him and Cheney probably does not bother him much, but it should worry the American electorate.