Does a Single Retweet Reveal Palin's Support of Gays in the Military?

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Does Real American in Chief Sarah Palin support the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"? Palin retweeted Tammy Bruce, a conservative pundit, who said she was tired of Republican hostility to 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 wrote. With her retweet, Palin kicked up flurry of internet speculation on what, exactly, her position is on DADT.

Bruce is cheering the retweet as an announcement that Palin supports gays serving openly in the armed forces. "Palin hasn't said anything more on the issue so it remains unclear exactly what she meant to convey," CNN's Alexander Mooney writes, "but the re-tweet is a rare comment from Palin when it comes to any issue involving gay rights." Others, too, are struggling to figure out what else Palin's tweet could mean.

  • Four Possible Explanations for This Tweet  The first possibility, Gawker's Max Read explains, is that Palin is coming out in support of DADT repeal and gay rights. ... Which isn't out of the question--Palin is not, in the context of her party, rabidly homophobic." Option number two: She didn't understand what the tweet meant. Evidence for this conclusion is that it's "not the most professional way to come out, so to speak, in support of DADT repeal, is it? (Though, Jesus, why am I looking for professionalism from this woman of all people? ... )." Then three: "She clicked the wrong button." Or four: "She thinks we should be looking for gay people hiding under beds."
  • Does This All Come Down to 'Netiquette'? Politics Daily's Matt Lewis asks. "Palin has not commented on any of this [tweet controversy]... but I can't help but think that Bruce may be unfairly (or at least prematurely) interpreting Palin's actions. Re-tweeting, it is generally agreed, does not necessarily constitute an endorsement."
  • This Looks Like an Endorsement, If an Ironic One  "There is some irony in this quiet positioning, if indeed that's what this is," Hot Air's Ed Morrissey muses. "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 Represents Today's GOP, Politico's Ben Smith notes. "More broadly, though, she seems roughly representative of a Republican Party that isn't particularly interested in fighting the old culture wars around sex, drugs, and crime--abortion is the enduring exception, obviously--and more interested in fighting the new culture wars around the size and meaning of government."
  • This Calls for a Palin Tweet Index, Slate's Dave Weigel writes, a way to gauge how much news/"news" is generated by Palin's social media activity. "The Palin tweet index is a ratio of how many of her words appear in a Palin tweet versus how many words appear in a stories about said tweet. ... A CNN story about the tweet has 294 words, for a Palin Tweet Index of 147." And Politico's Andy Barr merits an score of 183.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.