How’s this for unity? Conservatives have had varying levels of enthusiasm and reluctance in embracing Mitt Romney as the Republican nominee for President. When former Vice President and conservative favorite Dick Cheney opens up his home for a Romney fundraiser, will it help open conservative wallets as well?
Former Vice President Dick Cheney and his wife, Lynne, will host a July fund-raiser for Mitt Romney at their home in Jackson Hole, Wyo., according to a save-the-date e-mail from the Romney campaign.
The event will help the likely Republican nominee tap any donors to former President George W. Bush who remain on the sidelines, while fueling Democratic efforts to tie Mr. Romney to President Barack Obama‘s predecessor.
This isn’t a risk-free connection for Romney, the WSJ warns:
As the presumptive GOP nominee, Mr. Romney will need to figure out how closely he aligns himself with George W. Bush and other members of his administration, including Mr. Cheney. The candidate has tapped a number of former Bush administration officials as his advisers, but it remains to be seen whether the former president or his no. 2 will get high-profile speaking slots at the convention or appear on the campaign trail on Mr. Romney’s behalf. While those decisions will be made in the weeks and months ahead, the campaign was downright buoyant to announce the Cheney fund-raiser.
I doubt that Romney will have to make that calculation with George W. Bush. Cheney’s former boss and still good friend has made it clear that he wants to stay out of electoral politics. Barack Obama spent the first year of his presidency continually insulting his predecessor, looking to draw the former President into public fights that would bolster Obama by comparison. Instead, Cheney handled the response duties, and almost always got the better of Obama in the exchanges.
I also doubt that the intent of this fundraiser will be to get Bush’s donors on board. Cheney and his wife are more closely tied to the conservative establishment; George H. W. Bush’s earlier public endorsement and support probably has taken care of the Bush donors already. Romney needs to engage with the coalitions that made Cheney valuable enough in 2000 to add to the Bush ticket. That’s what has Team Romney “downright buoyant,” as well as the imprimatur of Cheney’s explicit approval.