Even Dick Cheney thinks it’s time to end DADT: ‘I think the society has moved on.’

Former Vice President Dick Cheney was the guest on ABC’s “This Week” today, mostly to attack the Obama administration. He did, however, indicate his support for ending Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Like almost everyone else, Cheney heard Admiral Mullen say it’s time for the policy to end. Here’s the transcript:

KARL: OK, “don’t ask/don’t tell” — you’re a former defense secretary — should this policy be repealed?

CHENEY: Twenty years ago, the military were strong advocates of “don’t ask/don’t tell,” when I was secretary of defense. I think things have changed significantly since then. I see that Don Mullen — or Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has indicated his belief that we ought to support a change in the policy. So I think — my guess is the policy will be changed.

KARL: And do you think that’s a good thing? I mean, is it time to allow gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military?

CHENEY: I think the society has moved on. I think it’s partly a generational question. I say, I’m reluctant to second-guess the military in this regard, because they’re the ones that have got to make the judgment about how these policies affect the military capability of our — of our units, and that first requirement that you have to look at all the time is whether or not they’re still capable of achieving their mission, and does the policy change, i.e., putting gays in the force, affect their ability to perform their mission?

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. And I think Admiral Mullen said that.

Society has moved on. But, most of Cheney’s fellow GOPers haven’t. Nor has the Obama administration, according to AP. AP tells us that “unnamed sources” in the administration want to wait “years” for DADT to be repealed. John has more on that.

In DC, there has been a lot of parsing of Mullen’s testimony. Same for Obama’s State of the Union speech. But, in the real world, people think DADT is going to end. That’s what people heard Obama say in the State of the Union. I hope the team at the White House, (led by Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina according to Politico) understand that there’s an expectation that the President will actually deliver. And, it’s important to remember that the President plays a key role here. He can include the repeal language in the budget recommendations for the Defense Department that he sends to Congress. It wasn’t in the initial budget, but there’s still time to do that. If Obama doesn’t send the repeal recommendation to Congress, then, he’s not serious. Members of Congress take the path of least resistance on every issue. If Obama doesn’t push repeal in his budget, members will view it as a signal from the White House and nothing real will happen. We’ll have gotten some nice speeches, but no action.

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.


On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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