Monday, February 15, 2010

Cheney sort of backs "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal (video)

Former V.P. Dick Cheney appeared on ABC's "This Week" on Sunday where he was asked if he was in favor of repealing "Don't ask, Don't tell" (DADT). Cheney's response was a very carefully worded recognition that times have changed and that, based on Adm. Mike Mullen's statements to the Senate Armed Services Committee, repeal seems likely and that it's time to "reconsider the policy".
Yesterday the queer-o-sphere was all over this story with headlines like these: "Cheney Endorses Repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (LezGetReal), "Dick Cheney Supports "Don't ask, Don't Tell Repeal (The Huffington Post).

Well, folks, Cheney didn't quite "endorse", "support" or "push for" lifting the ban on gays and lesbians serving openly in the armed forces. He simply acknowledged the times have changed in the 17 years since the policy went into affect and that maybe it's time to take another look at it.

Yesterday, after reading what a major breakthrough this is for LGBT rights, I posted a status update on FaceBook saying, "It's great that Cheney came out in favor of repealing DADT this morning, but the guy is no longer in a position to do anything about it. He's yesterday's news. He's not running for anything. He has no influence. Nobody cares." 

I was challenged on my position by a gay conservative friend who argued that Dick Cheney still has a lot of influence in the GOP and conservatives still listen to him. I pointed out that the GOP had rejected Bush/Cheney in the lead up to the '08 election and had distanced themselves from the failed policies they had fully supported for seven years. I enjoy these kinds of debates, because I think it's good to hear both sides

While Cheney's words may be the closest we get to anything pro-gay on the subject, let's keep in mind that this is the same guy that threw his own lesbian daughter under the right wing bus in '06 when the Neo-Cons were pushing for an amendment to the US Constitution banning same-sex marriage. While he did say that he thought the government shouldn't get in the way if two people wanted to get married, he never lifted a finger to stop the Marriage Amendment effort, that was nothing more than a twisted "get out the vote" exercise using homophobia as motivation.

The fact is that Cheney's subdued endorsement for ending DADT carries no weight in the obstructionist GOP. These guys follow their party's leading grumpy old men, Senator John McCain and House Minority Leader, John  Bhoener, who have both said that the current policy is working just fine. The Republican Party's need to block any Democratic proposal is stronger than any impulse they may have to do the right thing, even if Cheney's words made a difference. I'm sorry guys, but this story is a non-story.

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1 comment:

  1. I think everyone needs to evaluate individual politicians,past and present, in accordance with their own perceptions and criteria. I find it difficult,to clean a person's slate of what I consider to be huge wrongs perpetrated towards our GLBT community in the past. Whatever motivated those to do such things is indicative of their moral character...or I should say..lack of it. To forgive someone who has openly oppressed me and my greater community is asking a great deal....and must be earned by a prolonged future record of truly heart-felt and documented support. Mr Cheney has not earned that by any means.


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