As national security crises unfold, natural disasters destroy communities, and the economy swirls into the toilet, the U.S. president strolls to the tee in a colorful polo shirt and creased khakis, lines up between the big-boy black markers, and whacks a tiny white ball down an emerald fairway. Clap-clap-clap-clap-clap-clap-clap.
Despairing Americans, meet your messiah – at the 19th hole. He’s ordering an Arnold Palmer. Because it’s so damn hot out there. Whew!
Fifteen of the past 18 U.S. presidents regularly golfed, including the past five – Obama, Bush 43, Clinton, Bush 41 and Reagan (the octogennarian gathered his buddies for an outing once a year). Leave it to the pious peanut farmer, Jimmy Carter, to be the last non-golfing president, according to Links magazine. But whether you call it a perk or a human necessity, I don’t like the idea or the visual of America’s leader playing a lazy round at some impeccably manicured country club, often surrounded by celebrities and billionaires who are just as removed from the travails of normal Americans.
Like Fox News, I’m all for being fair and balanced. Here’s Obama’s perspective on why golf is such a precious time to him:
“It is the only time that, for six hours, first of all, that I’m outside, and second of all, you almost feel normal in the sense that you’re not in the bubble,” he told CBS News shortly after taking office in 2009. “There are a whole bunch of Secret Service guys, but they’re sort of in the woods. And when you’re up there in the tee box and you’re hacking away and hitting some terrible shot and your friends are laughing at you, you know, it feels as though, you know, you’re out of the container.”
Truth be told, the president’s never away from work. He could talk with anyone he wants, whenever he wants. Technology helps. So does being at the top of the political food chain. So fair is fair, he could run the world from Martha’s Vineyard, let alone the local muni golf course.
But I don’t want to be fair, not while American warriors continue to return home in body bags and earnest citizens continue to struggle to make ends meet.
“Now watch this drive” Bush said, as the Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns raged.
And while Obama has avoided saying anything just as stupid because he rarely allows cameras to film him golfing, he has managed to play 137 rounds as president so far, according to The Washington Post.