President Obama hasn’t held a formal press conference in almost a year (274 days and counting) yet has golfed 32 times since he was elected—eight more times than President George W. Bush did during his entire presidency.
On Memorial Day last year, the press reverently reported that Obama placed a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknowns in the morning, and then observed a moment of silence that afternoon—on the golf course before teeing off. (I can only imagine how this would have been reported if Bush’s moment of “silent remembrance and solemn prayer” was on the green.)
And here’s how ABC reported an outing after Obama had just returned from a trip to Germany visiting the horror of the Holocaust camps: “Nobody would fault Obama for taking Sunday to catch up on sleep and unwind after the breakneck travel schedule. But instead of vegging out on the couch, Obama returned to the White House for only about 90 minutes, then hopped in his motorcade and went right back to Andrews to get in nine holes of golf at one of the three courses on the base.”
And how about this headline from The Washington Post: “Just the Sport for a Leader Most Driven.” Richard Leiby reports, “To some, Obama’s frequent outings reflect a cool self-confidence.” The article then quotes a sports psychologist who said Obama seemed able to play golf despite the grim reports by the media about the wars and the economy.
That bears repeating. Here is a journalist remarking about Obama that he is “able” to play golf despite war casualties and economic disaster. For Bush, the press couldn’t believe that he would dare golf at such a time, but for Obama they marvel that he can.
Golf-gate was important enough for lefties like Michael Moore to lie about back in the Bush years, because it supposedly demonstrated that Bush didn’t take his role as a wartime leader seriously. Of course, this is absurd—even on “vacation,” no commander-in-chief is ever truly out of the loop, and the Presidency of the United States is one of the toughest jobs on the planet, so why would we begrudge the president a little time to unwind? All shortcomings in the presidencies of both Bush and Obama can be traced to their governing philosophies, not the occasional recreation. (Also, the Founding Fathers envisioned a chief executive that was responsible for far less than the modern presidency entails, but I digress.)
Obama shouldn’t catch flak for his golfing, though there is something unseemly about a Memorial Day moment of silence on the golf course, and especially about golfing “when, unable to travel to pay respects to the president of Poland who was killed in a plane crash.” This is the grace and tact of the new Camelot? This is the guy who was supposed to repair America’s broken reputation abroad?
Further, if the media is going to dictate how much golf is appropriate for presidents to play, and when they play it, then their standards should obviously apply to every president. Yet they clearly don’t. We all know why—the media has a vested interest in propping up Democrats and tearing down Republicans—but the interesting question is: how can they rationalize it? If presidents shouldn’t golf too much, what possible circumstances other than party affiliation can make it suddenly okay for Obama to golf dramatically more than Bush ever did? (And not, “Bush was a warmonger and Obama isn’t” doesn’t qualify; Obama has positioned himself as a responsible, take-charge wartime president.)
Once again we see the media’s true motives exposed, their brazenness a byproduct of the fact that they think they’re untouchable. But thanks both to alternative media and plain old left-wing overreach, their actual impenetrability may be on the decline—just 17% of Americans express “a great deal of confidence” in television news, and an abysmal 13% in the press. Hopefully it won’t be too long before we can leave these guys in the sand trap for good.