The Romney campaign bristles at the “neoconservative” description [bold mine-DL], and says its advisers have a range of backgrounds, including some who worked for Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Mr. Powell and Mr. Scowcroft. And they say that Mr. Romney enjoys hearing strong dissenting views.
It’s good that Romney likes to hear strong dissenting views, especially when his campaign has its share of foreign policy advisers strongly dissenting from what he says in public (and making sure that their dissent reaches the media). The campaign is right to bristle at the neoconservative label. That’s not because the label is inaccurate. Romney’s foreign policy statements often sound as if they are drafted by Weekly Standard staff writers. Except for McCain, Romney has been campaigning as the most unapologetic adherent to neoconservative foreign policy views of any Republican nominee. Regardless of the “range of backgrounds” of his advisers, the diversity of their views is not very great. Two-thirds of them worked for George W. Bush in some capacity. The campaign bristles at the description because they understand that the neoconservative label is politically damaging. That doesn’t seem to stop Romney from giving voters every reason to believe that his foreign policy would be a neoconservative one.