Jeff Jacoby

Now that the 2012 Masters Tournament is over, the hounds of political correctness have stopped baying at Augusta National Golf Club over its membership policies. The gender-grievance industry is moving on, looking for a new target to harangue.

Yet as the Augusta National brouhaha recedes, there are some things I wonder about.

To begin with, why would a Republican candidate for president weigh in on an issue as insignificant as whether a private Georgia golf club offers membership to women?

No one was surprised that President Obama wanted the world to know he disapproves of Augusta National's policy. This is a president, after all, who has made a point of rebuking everyone from Cambridge police to "millionaires and billionaires" to Supreme Court justices.

But why did Mitt Romney offer an opinion? "If I could run Augusta," he told reporters in Pennsylvania, "which isn't likely to happen, of course I'd have women into Augusta." What he should have said is that it isn't the job of the president -- or a would-be president -- to pass judgment on the lawful choices made by private individuals and organizations. When Romney is asked about the Mormon Church's policies, he firmly declines to comment. "You're going to have to go talk to the Church and ask what they think about that," he recently told an interviewer. He should have given a similar response when asked about Augusta National. It isn't necessary to turn everything in American life into a political issue. How refreshing it would have been to hear the GOP frontrunner say so.

Then there is the clanging double standard that treats Augusta National's no-women membership policy as an egregious offense against common decency, while serenely overlooking -- or even embracing -- institutions that exclude men.

Jeff Jacoby

Jeff Jacoby is an Op-Ed writer for the Boston Globe, a radio political commentator, and a contributing columnist for