Sarah Palin has remained silent on the issue of repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell,” which Congress passed in the lame-duck session — at least until now. ABC News’ Devin Dwyer has been on the Twitter beat and reports that Palin retweeted a message from radio host Tammy Bruce that supports the end of DADT:
But Monday night the former Alaska governor re-tweeted a post from conservative talk show host and blogger Tammy Bruce, who is lesbian, appearing to indirectly cast support for gays and an end to the ban on openly gay members of the U.S. military.
Bruce had been commenting on the controversy surrounding a U.S. Navy commander and a raunchy video when she turned to the issue of gays in the military.
“But this hypocrisy is just truly too much. Enuf already–the more someone complains about the homos the more we should look under their bed,” Bruce tweeted, suggesting that virulent opposition to gays may reflect the individual has something to hide.
Soon after, Palin re-tweeted the message to her following of more than 350,000 followers.
It should be stressed that retweeting does not necessarily connote agreement. Dwyer’s colleague Jake Tapper has to repeatedly make that point when Tapper retweets and adds his own commentary. It does suggest a de facto endorsement when unaccompanied by a substantive response, however, and it’s fair for those who follow Palin’s Twitter feed to assume agreement in this sense, as Tammy did in her response. Nor does this specific message explicitly address DADT repeal, although that’s certainly the larger context in the issue of gays and the military.
There is some irony in this quiet positioning, if indeed that’s what this is. The opposition to repeal of DADT in the Senate was led by Palin’s former running mate, John McCain. Palin has courted the conservative base in the GOP that opposed the repeal (as did McCain himself in his re-election bid this year), but managed to avoid taking a stand either way on this issue, one of the few from which Palin has shied.
Palin hasn’t yet responded to requests for comment on the retweet, and that will probably require Palin to clarify her position for the record on DADT. If she backs repeal openly, does this open a rift between Palin and the conservative base? Or does it take the edge off of the dissatisfaction over the repeal on the Right?
Update: One distinction should be made between Tapper and Palin, and Tapper’s position on RTs put into context. Tapper RTs as a manner of reporting, which is why he’s careful to note the distinction between RTs and endorsements. Palin uses Twitter as more of a campaign/activist tool. That doesn’t necessarily mean endorsement, but it’s probably safer to assume it in her case.