Kathryn Lopez

It's a fascinating contradiction that liberal feminists live. Earlier that opening day, at an "Unconventional Women" event sponsored by a coalition of feminists' groups, members of Congress talked about the differences between men and women. Men, for instance, simply can't bring to the legislative table the same concerns that women do. They, apparently, are biologically incapable of realizing that men and women have different health needs. And so, congresswomen will, in the same breath, praise their own efforts on gender-parity healthcare reform (because there are real differences between men and women) and also complain about the lack of equal pay and the failure to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment; a relic left by the trash heap of history somewhere around leisure suits and disco.

Some women have commented that perhaps Michelle Obama was being "post-feminist." Following this Ivy League-law-school-educated career woman and loving mother's lead, women can once again be feminists while embracing the traditional roles of women.

I wouldn't go that far.

Like her husband, who has been known to talk about the importance of fatherhood, Michelle doesn't go far enough. I presume that's because even if she wanted to, she couldn't: The party wouldn't let her. It's the reason, I assume, that Barack Obama can't bring himself to do a full-on Bill Cosby and challenge men -- and specifically black men, because he can -- to be responsible fathers. He could talk passionately, opening up about what it was like to grow up without one.

The Obamas know what works -- good, solid, traditional families with a mom and a dad. They are also in the rare position of actually being able to say that. But they won't.

While some women whine that they won't see one of their own become president next year, they should really be challenging the Obamas to tell the honest truth about family values.

Kathryn Lopez

Kathryn Jean Lopez, editor of National Review Online, writes a weekly column of conservative political and social commentary for Newspaper Enterprise Association.