YouGov poll: Majority thinks it’s unfair to criticize presidents for playing golf

posted at 2:01 pm on August 27, 2014 by Allahpundit

Note well the word in the headline: “Presidents,” plural. When you ask them whether Obama specifically plays too much golf, the numbers tighten, but then that’s always true when you ask a question about a sitting president. Even then, a plurality says Obama doesn’t play too much. See now why I’m surprised that David Axelrod and Bill Burton would so far as to apologize to George W. Bush in the name of spinning O’s golf habit? If the public doesn’t much care, why should they?


Those numbers are easily explained and should have been predictable. For Democrats, many of whom crapped happily on Dubya for spending too much time at the ranch, this is a pure exercise in wagon-circling. They’ve got two more years invested in this guy; they’re not going to see what’s left of his political capital go up in smoke because of golf. If Axelrod and Burton are worried, they’re worried because the media and the chattering class seem irritated with O’s golfing and those aren’t the people you want to alienate right before an election. That’s how unhelpful narratives take shape.

Independents are divided and Republicans are, of course, critical of O — but not quite to the extent that Democrats are defensive of him. You’ve got some small but meaningful minority of GOPers who think this subject is overblown and we can only guess at the reasons. Maybe they find obsessing about “optics” silly and juvenile, especially given that modern presidents effectively take the entire White House with them while on vacation. Or maybe, as many libertarians and paleocons do, they think that the presidency has assumed far too much space in the public imagination. If you want a less powerful executive, says Michael Brendan Dougherty, you should be happy to see Obama golfing. He’s doing less damage there than he could basically anywhere else, and he’s signaling, however unwittingly, that the president is not, in fact, in control of all major events in American life. Thank goodness.

In truth, Obama’s golf habit, along with his newer practice of enjoying long dinners with people he finds interesting, is one of the best things about his presidency. Unconsciously, President Obama is doing a good thing for the American Republic. He’s helping us to disgorge an overly symbolic view of the presidency, in which the president is the ever-present lawman, the people’s official therapist, and the embodiment of the public mood. Obama golfing is a sign that the American presidency is still a job, not a divine office…

The executive branch itself is badly overgrown. The presidency needs a legal downsizing most of all. It needs to be stripped of its unconstitutional prerogatives, and American government could do with re-assertion of the responsibilities of Congress. But we could too easily underrate a symbolic downsizing of the presidency.

That argument would be easier to swallow if Obama had sought to downsize the presidency in any other way. Instead he’s done the opposite — wars without congressional authorization, treaties without Senate approval, and a looming amnesty for millions of people while the legislature is trying to find its way on immigration. Hitting the links every weekend doesn’t turn a guy like that into Calvin Coolidge. On the contrary: It feels like kingly disengagement, the habit of a man who could be using his time to try to build legislative consensus for his policies but would rather practice putting between issuing the day’s royal decrees on Syria and climate change and immigration. And even if Obama wanted to signal his support for more modest presidential power, he could do it in a way that seems less callous than dancing the night away while police square off with protesters in Ferguson and fist-bumping with buddies while the rest of the world is watching James Foley’s head get cut off. In each case, he could have made a short statement and then enjoyed some low-key R&R behind closed doors. The knock on O isn’t that he should have personally ridden to the rescue in Missouri or Iraq, it’s that he now seems so disengaged from public concerns that he’s actually partying while they’re unfolding. That perception is what Axelrod and Burton are worried about. Albeit, probably worried too much.

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Comment pages: 1 2

You can only criticize presidents for playing golf if their name starts with a “B.”

Old Country Boy on August 27, 2014 at 5:50 PM

Or if they have an (R) after their name.

cat_owner on August 27, 2014 at 5:56 PM

A president telecommutes when he is not in Washington. but vacation is a myth.

coolrepublica on August 27, 2014 at 2:18 PM

Then why force the taxpayers to spend billions a year on vacations for the royal family. The brats alone rack up a few million on their spring break outings. If the President is never on vacation, then let him stay in Washington or at the Presidential retreat that is already paid for instead of these luxury locations to telecommute.

Granted the facilities in the White House are not as grand as some fat cat crony’s mansion in Martha’s Vineyard (the WH bowling alley doesn’t even have automatic scoring). Nevertheless, why go anywhere if you really are not on vacation?

Happy Nomad on August 27, 2014 at 2:24 PM

When was the last time President Obama or his wife and kids spent any time at their “home” in Chicago? For me, it’s not whether or not he takes a lot of vacations (he does), but when he does, it’s always on the taxpayer dime.

Mitoch55 on August 27, 2014 at 5:33 PM

For all 8 of his years as President, Chimpy Bush spent Christmas at Camp David, so his staff and Secret Service detail wouldn’t have to miss the entire holiday period with their families.

For the past 5 years, O’bama and his entourage have told their staff and SS details to Eat Cake. They’ve not spent a single Christmas at Camp David.

Del Dolemonte on August 27, 2014 at 6:08 PM

He’s a sociopath. I doubt he enjoys playing golf or vacationing with his family. I doubt he knows how to enjoy anything, except the suffering of others. But he is effete and does enjoy the company of men, which is why he plays golf obsessively (no wife, no kids). Golf isn’t the point, it’s the joy he derives from knowing that while he’s killing time on a golf course, tens of millions are suffering.

And he’s a narcissist. While he relishes the closeness of his male golf partners, his real turn on is the f*ck-you-factor of doing what he wants, when he wants on the backs of people he’s punishing.

This is why he got into this gig in the first place…could there be a bigger turn on for a sociopathic narcissist than screwing people that you hate, having the legal power of life and death, forcing the world to look and listen to you while doing what you damned well please, in the lap of luxury?

AppraisHer on August 27, 2014 at 6:40 PM

AppraisHer on August 27, 2014 at 6:40 PM

It’s not just Obama…it’s Libs in general. They love to watch us squirm and get pissed off over the mere fact that he got elected in the first place. It’s like they took a gun, shot themselves in the foot and said, “See, that’s what YOU get. HA HA HA HA.”

Make no mistake. These Libs really hate us. They really think we hate black people and homosexuals because we don’t kiss their arses, and that we don’t care about people who are poor…they really think we hate Mexicans because we believe in legal immigration for those who have gainful employment lined up before they get here…and I’m sure there’s other reasons.

It’s a disease, and only rarely do some go into remission and come to their senses.

That Lib “friend” of yours really, truly hates you and would gladly vote for Obama a third time, and wouldn’t care if that meant their family is starving and endangered…because they will simply blame you, both Bush’s and Ronald Reagan…hell, probably Nixon, too.

Dr. ZhivBlago on August 27, 2014 at 7:52 PM

One OF The People Primarily Responsible For Getting Us Where We Are Today: allahpunditk……..

williamg on August 27, 2014 at 8:40 PM


williamg on August 27, 2014 at 8:41 PM

Flawed logic!

While people may not generally think drinking alcohol is “bad,” (generalization) most will agree that a drunk driver is harmful (specific, excessive application).

EdmundBurke247 on August 27, 2014 at 8:44 PM

…it’s unfair to criticize semi-retired presidents for playing golf…

Galtian on August 27, 2014 at 10:07 PM

Adjoran on August 27, 2014 at 5:32 PM

It’s YouGov. It’s totally self-selected and meaningless. People sign up and get “rewards” for taking surveys.

notropis on August 27, 2014 at 10:33 PM

Let’s end this debate once and for all; Phil Mickelson 2016!

StubbornGreenBurros on August 27, 2014 at 10:57 PM

Dr. ZhivBlago on August 27, 2014 at 7:52 PM

This isn’t you fathers or grandmothers democrat party any longer, this is an energized, coordinated black/white, male/female mob that have been brainwashed and empowered to hate. It’s as half the population of America has caught the same disease as the sick [email protected] in White House.

Democrats are no different than muslims…irrational, hateful and emotion driven; possessed by some demons to proselytize Hussein’s agenda without caring if it’s good or evil. I truly agree with you that if they could legally kill you for not converting to progressivism they would.

I had faith that America would wake up once they realized he was destroying the greatest country that God ever smiled on, but I no longer see the Dog Eater and his ilk as the problem. I see complacent, compliant Americans too cowardly to face down this insanity and save their country, as the problem.
We no longer deserve America. {{Rant switched off}}.

AppraisHer on August 27, 2014 at 11:56 PM

Watch an American beheaded by Islamic maniacs, – then go golfin’!


That’s understandable behavior from an American “leader”.

Scumbag chickensh*t clown.


profitsbeard on August 28, 2014 at 3:05 AM

Seriously. Let him golf. He does far less damage on the golf course than behind his desk.

Cladinator on August 28, 2014 at 2:10 PM

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