I can understand wanting to be pleased that former vice president Dick Cheney signaled his support for the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." It was a worthwhile question for Jonathan Karl to have asked and it should be noted that Cheney's position on the matter is essentially the one that Senator John McCain has abandoned -- now that the military leadership is behind a repeal, the repeal ought to receive renewed consideration:
"I'm reluctant to second-guess the military in this regard," Cheney said. "When the chiefs come forward and say, 'We think we can do it,' then it strikes me that it's -- it's time to reconsider the policy.
He added that "society had moved on." That said, Andrew Sullivan is smart to point out that Cheney himself hasn't moved on all that much.
Before we offer any plaudits, we should recall that this was his position as defense secretary in 1991, when he described the policy as an "old chestnut" and when his chief spokesman was my old friend Pete Williams, an openly gay man who is now a TV journalist. But, as with marriage rights, where he uttered pro forma -- but carefully parsed -- support, Cheney never moved a finger to help on any of these issues as vice-president, and led a party whose homophobia has become more and more pronounced with every year that has passed.
So, apply as much "cautious optimism" as you like to the fact that a retired man who no longer plays any sort of role in policy-making has an opinion on a policy he's opted out of affecting for nearly two decades. If there's any good news here, it's that an aversion to gay soldiers isn't included in Cheney's radical package of fact-averse national security fearmongering.
Cheney On DADT - Same As In 1991 [Andrew Sullivan]
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