President Barack Obama has developed a reputation about enjoying the perks of being President, which includes frequent travel on the taxpayers dime and fancy socializing. As the world is in crisis in the Gaza War, the shadow War in Eastern Ukraine, ISIS terrorism in the Levant and Iraq as well as racial unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, President Obama chose to take another extended vacation to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts to enjoy some (more) golf and rub shoulders with the rich and famous.
While staying at the tony resort town, President Obama staged several brief statements to feed the media beast before keeping his tee time. What created a media firestorm was the informal way that Mr. Obama addressed the beheading of American photojournalist James Foley (no tie, kept calling the slain journalist “Jim”), the President’s short five minute vacuous statement. Within six minutes of ending this photo op, Barack Obama was back on the golf course, yukking it up with Alfonso Morning et ali.
The Obama Vineyard Presidential statement occurred simultaneously as James Foley’s parents grieved on camera about their murdered hostage son. This golf gaffe really stuck in the craw of the Media and called further attention to President Obama’s seeming obsession with golf.
Mark Knoeller, a veteran White House reporter who felt frustrated over how the Oval Office controlled news going to pool reporters, developed a practical metric for measuring the Commander-in-Chief performance– study their official schedules. Thus it can be noted that President Obama has shot 186 rounds of golf (so far) in his Presidency. It has been observed that Mr. Obama is slow on the links, taking over five hours to complete an 18 hole course. That tots up to 38.75 full days on the green, or 116 average work days, or 23 1/4 average work weeks. No wonder why Greg Gutfeld asserts that Obama is addicted to golf.
But it is not just the “right wing” media who are seizing upon this obsession with golf. The New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd penned a satirical piece titled “The Golf Address” which parodies the Gettysburg Address. Perhaps Dowd’s overdosing on a cannabis candy bar contributed to the satire of Mr. Obama’s favorite President (aside from himself). When you’ve lost a lefty life Maureen Dowd, this should not be dismissed as silly season stuff or partisan politics.
Eric Schultz, a PR flak for the White House, suggested that sports are a good way for people to clear their minds and recharge their drives, and the Deputy White House Spokesman is exactly right, except as Leader of the Free World optics are everything.
President George W. Bush really used to enjoy golfing. In 2003, however, Bush gave up golfing as President in a wartime setting. Mr. Bush reacted to pressing news on the War on Terror and then took a swing with his driver. That was insensitive optics and the “43rd” President changed his ways. There is little likelihood that his successor will follow his lead.
The White House has argued that the modern President is never really on vacation as he is accompanied by a gaggle of advisers and communication equipment. Of course, Mr. Obama bragged about having his phone and his pen. All of that is well and good, but does that stand up to real world scrutiny?
For instance, when Missouri Governor Jay Nixon (D-MO) was going to send National Guard troops into Ferguson to quell the disrest there, the White House was unaware of the prospective deployment. So much for “Vay-cay” Obama Administration being on top of things. But they showed their priorities in the end by sending three White House representatives to the Michael Brown memorial service/and Al Sharpton rally in Ferguson and no Obama Administration officials to JAMES Foley’s Requiem Mass.
If ISIS wanted to really get President Obama’s attention, they might want to slightly change their tactics to cater to the POTUS handicap.
h/t: Michael Ramirez