Former Vice President Dick Cheney hit the media spotlight with his speech at the American Enterprise Institute last month on the serious and ongoing threat terrorism poses to the United States. He defended the Bush administration’s record in the war on terror and took strong issue with some of the words and policies of the current president. The speech earned him high marks, particularly among conservatives eager to hear their ideas defended with such vigor and conviction. Then — after Cheney had burnished his conservative credentials — he showed that he does not toe the party line on all issues. Speaking on Monday at the National Press Club, he once again publicly parted company with George W. Bush on gay marriage. The former vice president reiterated a point he has made since the 2000 vice presidential debate — that we should take a federal approach to recognition of same-sex unions:
I think that freedom means freedom for everyone. And, as many of you know, one of my daughters is gay and it is something we have lived with for a long time in our family. I think people ought to be free to enter into any kind of union they wish. Any kind of arrangement they wish. The question of whether or not there ought to be a federal statute to protect this, I don’t support. I do believe that the historically the way marriage has been regulated is at the state level. It has always been a state issue and I think that is the way it ought to be handled, on a state-by-state basis. … But I don’t have any problem with that. People ought to get a shot at that.
Citing these remarks at the left of center Huffington Post, Sam Stein said the Republican former vice president had taken “a position that places him at a more progressive tilt than President Obama.” Yet while liberal bloggers are taking note of Cheney’s “progressive” stand, the various gay organizations which have been at the forefront of the efforts to secure recognition of same-sex marriage in states across the country have been silent.