RUSH: Well, the Masters started today. I’m not gonna tell you anything about the Masters. No spoiler alerts on the Masters. But yesterday was the annual pre-tournament press conference by the chairman of the club, Billy Payne, and he predictably got two or three questions on membership policy. And here’s the rub. IBM is a corporate sponsor of the tournament, has been for a number of years, and the last four CEOs of IBM have been invited to join as members, Augusta National. Well, IBM just named a female CEO. Now, the news media is assuming that the IBM CEO automatically is a member of Augusta National. Billy Payne will not confirm or deny that because they don’t discuss membership policy.
The key to understanding this story, folks, is that the media is assuming that the CEO of IBM automatically becomes a member. I don’t think there’s such a thing as an automatic member at Augusta National. But nobody knows for sure. They don’t discuss it. But the media thinks it’s automatic. And they probably think it because IBM is an annual sponsor of the tournament. That is not, I don’t believe, and I shouldn’t say, I don’t know, but I’ve never believed that memberships get parceled out that way. That means they could be bought. All you’d have to do as a CEO is say, “I’ll sponsor your tournament.”
I never thought it worked that way. Maybe it does, I don’t know. I ought not have said that, ’cause I really don’t know. But I do know what the media thinks. They think it’s automatic. And now there’s a female CEO, so it’s Martha Burk time all over again. When are you gonna let a woman in? Here you have a woman CEO, you’re gonna deny her her rightful membership? And there are no rightful members.
So, anyway, guess who weighed in on it today? That’s right, Barack Obama, president of the United States, has weighed in on it. At the White House press briefing today, Jay Carney, the “spokeskid,” was asked about this. And Carney said, (paraphrasing) “Well, it’s obviously up to the club to decide, but his personal opinion is that women should be admitted to Augusta National. Obama believes Augusta should admit women. We’re kind long past the time when women should be excluded from anything,” said the spokeskid, Jay Carney.
So back during the Martha Burk days, when Hootie Johnson was the chairman, the president didn’t get involved, stayed out of it. But now here’s Obama, the first black president who says, “I think they ought to allow female members.” It would be interesting to track this. Warren Buffett’s a member of Augusta National, but I don’t think his secretary is. And what a sleight that is. I mean Warren Buffett’s secretary pays a higher tax rate than he does, and she’s not a member of Augusta National, but Warren is. And furthermore, Bill Gates is a member, and he violated policy by lobbying to become a member. You’re not supposed to do that, but he begged and they let him in. So goes the story. I don’t really know any of this. I’m gonna take it all back. I don’t even know. I do know that Buffett’s secretary isn’t a member. But Buffett is.
So now, Obama says he thinks they ought to have women in there. What do you think is going to now happen? Snerdley says he doesn’t think Augusta National will fold just because Obama has weighed in. Well, maybe not, I don’t know. I really don’t know what they’re gonna do, either, but I do know that you have just ignited this like a rocket with the media. I mean every day now Billy Payne can be asked, not from a media guy, but, “Well, the president says that you should,” and they can force Billy Payne into responding to Obama now. That’s what changes this. The media, by the way, just so you know, in some places, I’ve read this, the media — and Billy Payne can’t — (interruption) Snerdley is saying, “You better shut up or you’re never –” (laughing) Not a chance.
If he’s gonna make the Catholic Church pay for abortions and if he’s gonna make the Catholic Church give away birth control pills, he can certainly get women into Augusta, there’s no question. He could just order it. The Catholic Church was a private organization, separation of church and state, isn’t it? We have religious freedom in this country, do we not? Don’t we, folks? Well theoretically we do, we used to, but Obama, he’s gonna make the Catholic Church pay for abortions and abortifacient and birth control pills. Certainly, after he tells the court what to do, he can tell Billy Payne what to do.
Now, there are a couple stories out there speculating that Payne personally is a modern guy and would love to have women in there, but the traditions of Augusta National have him shackled. Personally, Billy Payne would like to have women in, but the traditions of this place won’t permit it. That’s the angle. They are mounting all kinds of pressure now on Billy — (interruption) What? Have I ever been to Curves, a women-only gym? I never go to gyms, period. So I’ve never been to Curves.
Anyway, how far can we be from the Augusta mandate? We have the health care mandate. We’ve got the birth control pill mandate, and pretty soon we’re gonna have the Augusta mandate. And then you’ve got the new CEO of IBM who’s a woman, who is now being kicked around here, and if she ends up getting in because — (interruption) Do you know that? She golfs, but it’s not a passion. Her passion is scuba diving, the new CEO of IBM? Well, Augusta has members that don’t play golf. It’s not just a golf club. But anyway, no justice, no tees at Augusta National.