Why Is The Republican Leadership Boosting Dick Cheney?

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Former U.S. vice-president Dick Cheney leaves after attending the funeral service of former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher at St Paul's Cathedral, in London April 17, 2013. Olivia Harris/Reuters

This article first appeared on the Cato Institute site.

Few Republican candidates these days are talking about George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. Indeed, they've been avoiding the last Republican administration since 2006. Even Jeb Bush dances around the topic of his unpopular brother.

But this weekend I got an email from "Dick Cheney"—actually a fundraising appeal for the Republican National Committee, sent from its GOP.com. The email promises that if I give the RNC at least $59.99, I'll get a copy of Cheney's new book, which "describes the kind of leader we desperately need in the White House."

The RNC must be sending this appeal widely. I'm not on their general email list. I get lots of unsolicited emails from both Republican and Democratic candidates, but I can't recall one from GOP.com. So they seem to have acquired a lot of outside lists for their Dick Cheney pitch.

Cheney's book has garnered widespread criticism, from Carlos Lozada at the The Washington Post and Steve Chapman at Reason, for instance. According to Lozada, Cheney and daughter Liz call for

a massive military buildup, including new missile-defense systems, more nuclear weapons and a force prepared to wage war in multiple geographic locations simultaneously… the restoration of National Security Agency's surveillance authorities, the return of "enhanced" interrogation of terrorism suspects, the deployment of thousands of military "advisors" to battle the Islamic State and a halt to the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan… aggressive actions against rival nations, such as sending troops to NATO countries that border Russia, in order to "signal American determination."

No wonder Republican candidates are not holding public events with Cheney. That's not a platform candidates would want to ask the voters to endorse.

But now the Republican National Committee—which calls itself in the email "the Official Committee in Charge of Taking Back the White House"—is wrapping itself in the arms of Dick Cheney and dangerously interventionist agenda. I wonder if any presidential candidates were consulted on this tactic.

David Boaz is the executive vice president of the Cato Institute and the author of The Libertarian Mind: A Manifesto for Freedom and the editor of The Libertarian Reader.