For some reason, this is being treated as a remarkable revelation:
The White House revealed Thursday that President Barack Obama believes women should be admitted to the all-male Augusta National Golf Club, site of the Masters golf tournament.
The club still has the right to make its own decision, but “[Obama’s] personal opinion is women should be admitted to the club,” spokesman Jay Carney said during the White House briefing.
Once a year, the Augusta National Golf Club’s men-only membership policy is turned into a political issue by those lawmakers who want to demonstrate how egalitarian and enlightened they are for opposing gender discrimination in the 21st century, and then the subject is dropped shortly after the Masters tournament. That’s mainly because nothing can be done about it. As outdated as Augusta National’s policy may be, it’s still the club’s prerogative.
The question posed to Carney – does Obama think the club should allow women members? – is an anachronism in itself. Considering that it’s 2012 and not 1950, what is Carney supposed to say? “No, actually the president thinks golf is a distraction from women’s primary domestic duties, so it’s best if Augusta doesn’t allow them full membership”? Other than ducking the question entirely – which President Bush’s press secretary Ari Fleischer took a lot of heat for in 2002 – Carney had little choice but to answer it, and give the only answer he could give. Of course women should be allowed membership. With the requisite disclaimer: But of course it’s up to the club to decide.
The media is now running out to track down a Republican who will defend the Augusta National policy and serve as a useful foil for Obama’s completely uncontroversial stance on the subject. They had no luck with Romney or Boehner, but maybe Rush Limbaugh can weigh in on it.