Honorary membership at Burning Tree Club is not to be sneezed at, seeing as how the initiation fee is north of $75,000, plus another $6,000 per year and tips for the caddie. Still, not all male Supreme Court justices in recent years have accepted the club's offer, though Antonin Scalia did. So did presidents Franklin Roosevelt, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, and George H.W. Bush. Indeed, according to an encyclopedic 2003 ESPN.com piece by Greg Garber, Ike was persuaded to run for office by fellow club members and subsequently "spent so much time at 'The Tree' that a hot line was installed between the White House and the pro shop."Read the full story at Mother Jones.
We were moved to take this detour into archaic Washington folkways because of June's debt ceiling "golf summit" between President Obama and Speaker John Boehner, which, as some reporters noted, took place at the Andrews Air Force Base course because the president couldn't very well play Boehner's regular club--Burning Tree.
Deep breath. Okay. It is 2011. Boehner is the speaker of the House. The body that is supposed to, more than any other, represent the people--all the people--of the United States of America. Yet 91 years after women won the right to vote and 40 years after our mothers fought for more than token access to the levers of power, the signal the man second in line for the presidency intends to send to 51 percent of the nation, 40 percent of Republicans, and his own daughters is...well, we're too ladylike to say.
And yes, intends: The optics of belonging to one of America's last 24 boys-only golf clubs have been brought to Boehner's attention many, many times before. Evidently, Neanderthal sexism is simply another thing he refuses to compromise on.
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