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EDITORIAL: The Golfer in Chief

According to polls, Obama is lost in the rough

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President Obama frequently tees up at the golf course, which has a lot of Americans teed off.

The White House invited criticism of the president's leisurely approach to his job when spokesman Bill Burton criticized BP CEO Tony Hayward for taking his yacht out for a race; this as Mr. Obama was enjoying himself on the links with the vice president. Mr. Burton dismissed critics by saying that Mr. Obama taking time for golf "probably does us all good as American citizens" because it gives him an opportunity to "clear his mind." Husbands who spend every weekend out golfing should try that excuse out on their wives and see where it gets them.

Mr. Obama is well on his way to being the golfingest president in recent memory. He is hitting the links at three times the rate of his predecessor during the first years of his presidency. President George W. Bush gave up golf in 2003 on principle because it would be unseemly for the commander in chief to spend so much time enjoying himself while American troops are fighting and dying overseas. Give W an extra mulligan for being classy.

Marathon golf sessions often with high-roller partners are only one aspect of Mr. Obama's growing image problem. While America suffers, Mr. Obama is hosting gala events at the White House, hanging out with rock stars, making pro-forma photo ops and then returning to Washington to "clear his mind." We're surprised to hear that his mind is cluttered with anything, but he does have a busy travel schedule. Last week, for example, Mr. Obama spent between $500,000 and $1 million of taxpayer money to fly to Ohio to deliver a 10-minute speech touting his purported achievements. Because of the presidential presence, the work site Mr. Obama visited was closed for the day, taking work hours away from the working man. "That's $200 we are missing out on," said construction worker George Harrison. "Everybody needs to eat, right?" Eat cake, George.

Vice President Joe Biden took an all-expense-paid trip to South Africa to watch World Cup soccer after kicking off a public-relations campaign called "recovery summer," which seeks to convince Americans that the Democrats' almost trillion-dollar stimulus program is solving everyone's problems. One such project is the "President Barack Obama Parkway" in Orlando, a particularly shameless tribute to a sitting president that's more befitting an authoritarian regime in some banana republic than our once-serious nation. For comparison, the Ronald Reagan highway in Ohio was named in honor of the former president nine years after he left office; the interstate highway system was named after Dwight D. Eisenhower 21 years after Ike passed away. And, of course, those Republicans were successful presidents - especially compared to the imploding O Force.

Polls show that most Americans aren't buying the Obama administration's happy talk. A Pew research center poll from the first week of June showed that only 13 percent of Americans agree with the president that the economy is entering recovery this summer. According to another Pew poll, 60 percent of Americans believe the stimulus has not helped the job situation, and other polls show Mr. Obama's approval rating on the economy at or below 50 percent. The most recent Gallup daily tracking poll shows that 56 percent of Americans think the economy is getting worse.

On top of all this doom and gloom, the threat of a double-dip recession is growing as markets realize that any appearance of recovery is the result of an irresponsible debt-fueled spending spree, with massive bills coming due. Meanwhile, Mr. Obama continues to helicopter off to the golf course while taxpayers pay his greens fees.

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