Cheney today said it’s time to end DADT. Obama admin officials today said let’s wait a few years.

As Joe noted below, former vice President, and arch-conservative nemesis of the Obama administration, Dick Cheney said today that he thinks the ban on gays serving in the US military will be lifted, and he thinks it’s time. That means the Obama administration and the Democrats in Congress now having Dick Cheney, Colin Powell, Secretary of Defense Gates, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Mullen covering their backside on this issue. So what do they do? Do they push for a repeal now, strike when the iron is hot, take advantage of the once-in-a-lifetime momentum that has developed around this issue in the past two weeks?

No.

After two weeks of no direction whatsoever from the White House as to whether we even should proceed with the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell this year, more unnamed administration officials are telling AP that they won’t touch the repeal for years to come. (Apparently, according to AP, they want to give the troops time to “get used” to the idea, gentle souls that they are.)

Unnamed sources, you say? Fine. Let the White House, today, with a named source named Barack Obama tell the American people that he wants Don’t Ask Don’t Tell repealed this year. If not, then the White House agrees with the unnamed sources. It’s as simple as that.

It’s frustrating to watch the Democrats dither. And I hate to use that word, but how else to describe people who are afraid to defend and promote the agenda they were elected on. As Joe just wrote on AMERICAblog Gay:

So, let’s review: 75% of the American people (including 64% of Republicans) are on board with gays serving openly in the military. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs indicated support for repeal. The Secretary of Defense is for repeal. Colin Powell wants the law repealed. And Dick Cheney is on board. But, Democrats at the White House and on the Hill are still fretting because they think this issue is too controversial. Ridiculous.

There is no leadership from the Hill and no leadership from the White House. We have a plan that would permit DADT to be repealed this year, while momentum is on our side, with a delayed implementation to give the Pentagon time to “get used” to the notion. But for some reason, our leaders are afraid to move forward. And as I’ve written before, if we don’t repeal DADT this year, I don’t thinks it’s going to be repealed for years to come.

Democrats are good at battles, Republicans are better at wars. We excel at short term blitzes, they excel over the long haul. Health care reform was a good example of this last year. No matter how good our hand, no matter how just our cause, the more time we gave the GOP to fight back, the more effective they were at tearing us down and turning the public against us. We have been fighting for the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell for 17 years. The polls show the public overwhelmingly on our side. We gain nothing by dragging this out another year. Our opponents gain everything.

There is another imperative for acting now. In an off-year election, when the party controlling Congress also controls the White House, it’s generally expected (though not guaranteed) that the majority in Congress will lose some seats. Last month, we saw how the loss of just one Senate seat in Massachusetts, leaving Democrats with “only” an 18 seat majority in the Senate, threatened to imperil Democratic resolve across the board. We don’t need the uncertainty of the fall elections adding to our troubles when we know we can get the job done now.

And one final point. We now have Colin Powell (Republican), SecDef Gates (Republican appointee), Chairman Mullen (Republican appointee), Dick Cheney (Republican), Ted Olson (Republican), and the torture twins (Republicans), better than the Democratic party on this paramount gay civil rights issue. For years, we’ve been able to laugh in the face of gay Republicans who claimed the GOP was a viable alternative for gay Americans seeking their civil rights. No one is laughing any more. The Democratic party needs to wake up and realize that its political homophobia is losing it a constituency.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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