PRESIDENTIAL GOLF: and the problem is?????

obama golf

The critics of President Obama (there seem to be lots of them) fall into a variety of categories.

  • There are legitimate critics who focus upon his economic, foreign policy, political, or domestic issues.
  • There are racists, who are critical of him simply because he is an “uppety Black man” in their minds.
  • There are political opportunists who jump on anything that will skew the favorability ratings.
  • There are those who see themselves as being in competition for his job, although he is going to abandon it in 2016 in spite of them.
  • There are those who just plain love criticizing public people, perhaps feeding their own feelings of insecurity.

Someplace in the mix of these categories you will find people who love to focus on the personal life of President Obama, finding fault with his sociability (or lack thereof), his style of clothing, his choice of leisure activities, and, of course, his golf game.   And rather than being critical of his skills (he’s a mediocre player from all accounts,) they love to criticize the frequency of his golf outings.

An article by James Joyner in Outside the Beltway indicated that in June, 2013, he completed his 100th golf outing since taking office in January, 2009.  That averages out to about 23 games a year, or twice a month.   Most executives I know about play weekly during the spring, summer, and fall,  and make snowbird trips in the winter to gulf coast locations or exotic island golf venues.  Some travel each year to Europe to play the “Old Masters” courses in Scotland.

When the President travelled to his home state of Hawaii  a week ago…his scheduled,  winter,  one-week vacation…the golf critics jumped all over it as if he had selected an exotic location out of nowhere to go.  The fact that he grew up there, has lots of good friends there, and can find peace and quiet there has nothing to do with it. It’s Hawaii, a place cranky journalists would love to visit in January.

Those who pay attention to executive management, particularly of the large, cumbersome mega-corporations, say that one of the worst characteristics of a CEO-type person is that they don’t get away from the office enough.  They work themselves to a frazzle and have heart attacks and strokes.   The presidency has to be one of the most stressful jobs in existence.  The fact that the President finds joy and relaxation in playing golf every now and then should be something we applaud, not denigrate.

If there is anyone who believes that this President does not work enough, the person has to be visually, aurally, and mentally challenged.  This is a man who takes his responsibilities seriously and gives of himself, sometimes  without regard to his health or his other responsibilities (such as his family.)  There may be things one can criticize about Barack Obama.  But not his work ethic.   Joyner has this to say about him:

Nobody has to make more important decisions on a routine basis than the person sitting in the Oval Office. Given what’s at stake, we should not only not begrudge them taking time off to preserve their sanity, we should encourage if not demand it.

Of course, presidents are never really off duty. While an increasing number of us are tethered to the office via email and smart phones even on holidays, weekends, and vacations, that’s true at an extreme level for the president. He doesn’t even turn off his electronic devices during take-off and landing.”

Sometimes I get angry with those who criticize the President for his golf games.   There are those, of course, who say that it’s not the number of games he plays, but the quality of them that deserves criticism.  I can understand that.

Get off it, folks.   He’s someone who needs the respite.  And smash that cell phone of  his if you get a chance.   I can’t believe that there isn’t a way to get to him if the world explodes.  Just don’t interrupt his putt on the 18th green.


Photo Credit: James Joyner

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