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Don't cry foul over Obama shooting hoops with the boys

Barack Obama shoots hoops on the campaign trail last year in Union Mills, Ind.
Barack Obama shoots hoops on the campaign trail last year in Union Mills, Ind. (Jae C. Hong/associated Press)

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By Kathleen Parker
Wednesday, October 28, 2009

As if President Obama didn't have enough on his plate with health care and Afghanistan, he's now faced with the problem that can't be solved: Women.

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Sorry, Mr. President, but we coulda toldja.

But no, Barack Obama courted the girls, promised them equality in all things, and now has excluded them from an all-male game of basketball.

Sorry, ladies, but we coulda toldja.

Not all women are upset, of course. Some on his estrogen-rich staff have shrugged off the faux-scandal about the now-infamous game and point to Obama's inclusion of women where it matters most.

Senior adviser Valerie Jarrett noted the several high-level female appointments, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Also, the administration boasts a 50-50 gender split among White House employees.

But a few women find the president's preference for guy company in his extracurricular life problematic. Basketball in this instance isn't only about shooting hoops; it's about access to the president. As the powder-room buzz goes, Obama may as well have tacked a sign over the clubhouse door: "No girls allowed."

Just as soon as I finish this yawn, I'm going to rustle up some righteous indignation. Here goes: How dare he!

On the other hand, how dare he otherwise? Basketball is a contact sport. Wouldn't we find a presidential body brush with a congresswoman at least equally problematic? How about the likelihood that few women in the White House or Congress could play well enough to make it fun for the president? Or should we have Obama play down for the girls? Should he simply not get to play ball as president?

Life is complicated . . . but not really. Obama likes to play basketball, and one can only amuse oneself alone with a ball and a hoop for so long. It is natural that he would summon a few guys to play with him. Must even a president's recreational time be politically correct?

Smack dab on center court is the elephant no one wants to acknowledge: that men and women are different; that sometimes even heterosexuals prefer same-sex company; and that, as a rule, women and men are unequal in matters physical. With rare exceptions, the gender-neutrality trope that drives much of the Democratic Party agenda is, was and ever shall be -- false.

Sad. Depressing. Frustrating. Maddening. Call it what you wish, but it is still true.


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