By Bonnie Erbe, Thomas Jefferson Street blog
President Obama drew heat last week for a story that surfaced outing his private White House male-only b-ball games. The story was that even though two female members of his cabinet were members of their college basketball teams, they were excluded, as were all women, from this most private of male-only clubs. The story became a metaphor for how the president views women generally and threatened to reveal some inconvenient truths about the man.
Now we see reports that gender-insensitivity charges have resonated with the Obama White House. According to Politics Daily, the president dragged chief domestic policy adviser Melody Barnes to the golf course on Sunday, and she became the first female to join his golf foursome since he took office. The event produced a photo op of global proportions.
President Obama could invite Chamique Holdsclaw to the private White House basketball court and Billie Jean King to play tennis with him. I still wouldn't believe he's any more comfortable dealing with women or concerned about "women's" issues than the dearly departed former Sen. Jesse Helms. President Obama talks the talk a lot better and a lot louder than Helms. But Jesse Helms was so rooted in his atavist traditions, he chose to remain true to his misogyny rather than pose for cameras with faux female golfing partners. President Obama must hide the side of his personality that is clearly uncomfortable with women because he needs their votes much more than Helms ever did.
Whether it was his treatment of Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail (as in his condescending remark that she was "likeable enough") or his clearly career-oriented mate who has been toned down and remorphed into a Stepford Wife, I just don't get the impression this man is comfortable with women. Nor do I believe he cares about them beyond needing women's votes. It's an act and a thoroughly see-through, amateur one at that.