A broken clock is right twice a day

A BROKEN CLOCK IS RIGHT TWICE A DAY…. Dick Cheney’s appearance on ABC News yesterday morning offered viewers quite a few errors of fact and judgment, but he got one thing right.

In an exclusive interview on “This Week,” former Vice President Dick Cheney said he thinks it’s time to “reconsider” the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy that prohibits gays and lesbians from serving openly in the U.S. military.

“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,” Cheney said. Cheney served as the secretary of defense, from 1989 to 1993, in the Bush administration.

“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 he believes “society has moved on” from where it was when the DADT policy was crafted 17 years ago.

I’ve seen some rather excessive praise for Cheney’s comments, but I’m reluctant to give the failed former V.P. too much credit here. Cheney’s position has remained consistent for nearly two decades, but as Andrew Sullivan noted, during his tenure in office, 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.’

Nevertheless, his support for President Obama’s position on DADT repeal is welcome, and adds to the momentum. Late last month, the president called for an end to the absurd policy in the State of the Union. In the three weeks since, we’ve seen endorsements of the White House position from the Secretary of Defense, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Colin Powell, Dick Cheney, and 75% of the American people.

I don’t doubt they’ll try, but conservatives hoping to characterize repeal as some kind of radical, liberal experiment may find it more than a little difficult under these conditions.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.