- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 16, 2002

Noble: William "Hootie" Johnson, for defending tradition and privacy at Augusta National Golf Club with clubs (presumably both woods and irons) in hand.

When a teed-off Martha Burk of the National Council of Women's Organizations took on Johnson and the Masters, most handicappers figured that the club would chip out of the rough situation and end up with a sub-par solution.

So it came as a shock when Johnson took a firm stance against Burk though with his knees bent and his hands wrapped around the issue with his best Bobby Jones grip. He's followed through too, keeping his eyes locked firmly on his goal of protecting his club's right, as a privately run concern, to make gender-specific decisions on whom it will have as members. "For men of all backgrounds to seek a place and time for camaraderie with other men is as constitutionally and morally proper as it is for women to seek the same with other women," Johnson wrote in a recent op-ed in the Wall Street Journal.

Nor has Johnson fallen into the trap of using his pitch for privacy as a club for discrimination. He's repeatedly driven home the point that women are regular players at Augusta, and that all individuals who come to his club patrons of the Masters or players of the course, are treated the same. He's also walked the civil-rights walk he has served on the board of the National Urban League and was an important figure in the integration of South Carolina's higher education system.

It doesn't seem likely, but Johnson could lose this match. He's made it clear that no women will become members before the 2003 Masters, while Burk has called for protesters and attempted to put together a business boycott.

Moral courage can be found in unlikely places even membership-only clubs so we tip our multi-colored golf caps to Johnson.


Knave: Bill Moyers, for his certainly intemperate and somewhat incoherent commentary on the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS).

Last week's elections were more than just an eye-opener, and it's likely that liberals will be drowning their sorrows for some time to come. It's certain that Mr. Moyers had drunk deeply of that cup of sorrow, especially considering his two-year tenure serving up spin as President Lyndon Johnson's press secretary. Still, such stewing fails to explain the poison that Mr. Moyers spewed in his recent post-election Philippic.

In his Nov. 8 commentary, Mr. Moyers declared that Republicans would "force pregnant women to give up control over their own lives," and give "corporations a free hand to eviscerate the environment." Indulging his high spirits even more, he spouted, "if you like God in government, get ready for the Rapture."

Now, malt may do more than Terry McAuliffe might to explain away Dems woes that night. And conservatives have long complained that PBS actually stands for the Partisan Blasting Service, since only an insensate viewer would believe that it follows any sober-minded standard of objectivity. However, Mr. Moyers' intemperate remarks swerved well over the double yellow line of reasonable commentary and into a Democratic delirium tremens.

Here's hoping that Mr. Moyers will have somewhat better cheer in his next commentaries.


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