Condoleezza Rice has had, in the most Republican Party of ways, a remarkable American life. She rose from humble beginnings to the dizziest heights of totally-uninterested-in-people-with-humble-presents political elite-hood, with all the attendant adventures one could hope for along the way. For her, this meant winding up on Moammar Gaddafi's private Boner Jamz highlight reel; marketing and mismanaging a couple of endless, debilitatingly expensive and appallingly bloody and mostly fraudulent wars and, years into what could've been a dubiously respectable retirement, abruptly farting out some sad Tea Party boilerplate before an audience of ulcerous millionaires in hopes of scoring the VP nomination to an android underwear model. It's the American Dream, provided the dreamer is Alan Keyes and also tripping balls.
So, yeah: it's a pretty horrible version of the American Dream, but it is hers. And so presumably when Condoleezza Rice became one of the first two women inducted to the Augusta National Golf Club on Monday, it was a cool and moving new twist for her in that long, living, strikingly cynical dream. Rice being an avid golfer and all, and Augusta National being one of the boldest and most piquant symbols of ass-backwards cruel-jerky unearned privilege remaining in our society. To say that Condi belongs there is to speak the truth, but also not necessarily a compliment for her or Augusta National.
Still, it was something of a surprise, and given the relentlessly and proudly backward-looking approach at Augusta National, it's almost revolutionary. By any other standard, though, it's actually rather mean satire. "In the timid world of golf, this is news," Jason Gay writes in the Wall Street Journal. "To the rest of Earth, it's embarrassing, just as it was embarrassing that Augusta did not admit an African-American member until 1990, or when Augusta's former chairman announced the club wouldn't be forced to make changes 'at the point of a bayonet,' a comically fearsome huff from a guardian of dogwoods and azaleas." But while Condi Rice is a good fit for Augusta, it's still surprising that she'd be first. Here, edited for clarity, is the list of the 14 women I expected to gain entrance to Augusta National before the former Secretary of State.
1) A Photograph of Nancy Reagan
2) Dagny Taggart (Would have been first, if she were real)
3) Senator Saxby Chambliss in a ladies wig
4) Paula Deen
5) Patricia Heaton
6) Janine Lindemulder
7) Mrs. Paul Azinger
8) Victoria Jackson
9) Maria Bartiromo
10) Michelle Malkin
11) Some Rich White Lady From South Carolina TBD
12) St. Vincent
13) Danys Baez (as they don't have the internet at the club, because of tradition, Augusta National's board just assumed he was a lady)
14) Gwyneth Paltrow
Anyway, congratulations to Condi Rice and the other incredibly wealthy woman inducted on Monday on their incredible honor. Enjoy your pimento cheese sandwiches! I've read that they're remarkably and quaintly inexpensive, if you don't count the incredible cost they exact on one's conscience for participating in an organization that, beautiful and awesome though its golf course is, is basically the equivalent of a group of Civil War re-enactors dedicated to weepy cuddle-puddles and puffed-up statements of defiance against the last 60 or so years of American history. Everyone seems, wonderfully enough, to be getting what they deserve.