The next time President Obama hits the links, it will be his 100th round of golf since coming to the White House. That’s quite a milestone in just 3 1/2 years. As it takes him about six hours to drive to the greens and complete 18 holes, Mr. Obama has spent the equivalent of four months’ worth of work time golfing. Meanwhile, the U.S. economy has been stuck in a sand trap.
Before Mr. Obama teed off for the first time as president, he delivered a State of the Union address that promised his new stimulus bill would “save or create 3.5 million jobs.” At that time, February 2009, unemployment was 8.3 percent and the debt was $10.8 trillion. He kicked off the golf streak on April 26, 2009, and he played a total of 27 rounds in his first year.
When he returned to the Capitol the following year, he stood in front of then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi with unemployment at 9.7 percent. He asked the Democratic Congress for a second stimulus and an overhaul of the health care system, and Congress obliged. Mr. Obama also said he would freeze government spending for three years, starting in 2011, but that idea got lost in the woods during the 31 golf games he played in 2010, using his personalized “44” Titleist balls, which remind haughty caddies he’s the 44th president.
By the time Mr. Obama gave his annual address to Congress in 2011, he was standing in front of new House Speaker John A. Boehner, brought in during the Republicans’ midterm wave. Unemployment was still at a high 9.1 percent. Mr. Obama announced, “This is our generation’s Sputnik moment” and demanded more money be spent. The debt hit $14 trillion.
Last year, the number of Mr. Obama’s golf outings rose to 34, and many turned out to be memorable. He was on the green on May 1, 2011, when the Navy SEALs were en route to Pakistan, cutting his game to nine holes to hear of their successful mission against Osama bin Laden. Mr. Obama’s golf partners included Mr. Boehner, former President Bill Clinton and Vice President Joseph R. Biden, who got asked to tag along with the boss four times in 2011.
By the time Mr. Obama gave this year’s State of the Union address, he had 92 golf games on his scorecard. Unemployment was 8.3 percent, having never gone below 8 percent in his presidency. He took no responsibility for the $15.2 trillion debt or the nation’s credit-rating downgrade. Instead, he called for higher taxes and the “Buffett rule” while hosting the billionaire’s secretary in his guest box for the speech.
Mr. Obama had no sense of the inappropriateness of playing 99 rounds of golf while 99 percent of the country couldn’t even afford the cost or time to go once. Now he wants a second term to finish what he started. After the 100th round, voters may want to think twice about giving him a mulligan.
Emily Miller is a senior editor for the Opinion pages at The Washington Times.