As Barack “Eldrick” Obama approaches his 200th round of golf since his election as president, here’s a fact to put that into perspective: Since January 2009, Tiger Woods has played 269 rounds of golf.
And Tiger, beleaguered by injury, is almost certainly done for the year. So that means the president, if he keeps up with his pace of play during his 15-day vacation in Martha’s Vineyard (a round a day) and his normal weekly round, will pass Tiger sometime next spring.
Think about that for a minute. The president of the U.S., juggling the American economy and the entire world’s problems — Iraq is in full meltdown, the Middle East is a powder keg, Russia is moving on Ukraine — has played golf nearly as much as a guy whose day job is playing golf.
Of course, the job of president is a tough one. Just look at how old and craggy the once-youngish Mr. Obama looks today, just days after his 53rd birthday. But let’s be brutally honest here: No one made him take the job: In fact, he fought viciously for the post — twice — to win it.
More, in his campaigning for the position, he vowed “I will not rest until ” well, fixing everything — even the rising sea levels. He pledged to work “tirelessly” until “every American who wants a job can find one,” that he “will not rest until we have fully recovered from this recession.”
Does “not resting” mean no vacations? Uh, it does if you listen to Candidate Obama himself: “If you seek that office, then you have to be prepared to give your life to it. Essentially the bargain that I think any president strikes with the American people is — you give me this office, and in turn, my fears, doubts, insecurities, foibles, need for sleep, family life, vacations, leisure is gone!”
But that was then. Mr. Obama is today up in Martha’s Vineyard, hobnobbing with the richest of the rich on his 15th vacation since taking office. This time, he’s staying in an 8,100-square-foot, seven-bedroom, nine-bath, $12 million house with an infinity pool and private beach. He may complain about the “One Percent,” but he doesn’t mind being one of them — as long as the American taxpayer is footing the bill.
Don’t you worry, America, he’s downsized this year from the 30-acre spread he has chosen in the past (which reportedly rented for $50,000 a week). Yes, it’s an election year, so he’s making a mighty sacrifice for you Americans.
Vice President Joseph R. Biden, meanwhile, is off to The Hamptons for his third vacation of the month, although his official public schedule says he’s going to the much less posh “Long Island, New York.” The Bidens — and what looks like quite a few extended family members — just recently finished a five-day vacation in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
Meanwhile, Hillary “We’re Broke” Clinton will be in both The Hamptons AND The Vineyard this month. With hubby Bubba, she’s plunked down $100,000 for a three-week rental in Amagansett, New York, and will jet over to The Vineyard for a bit of hobnobbery herself.
Before you think it’s all cake and ice cream, there is hardship on The Vineyard. “The water is still a little cold,” the president said Tuesday.
Just 40 percent of Americans approve of the job Mr. Obama is doing, according to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. Meanwhile, 54 percent disapprove. What’s more, a measly 36 percent of those polled approve of the job Mr. Obama is doing in the rest of the world. Six out of 10 Americans are unimpressed with his work on global affairs.
When Mr. Obama was running for office, he could foresee the effort necessary to fulfill the tasks — the presidency does take a 100 percent commitment, and he knew it. But now that he has a private 747, he’s off on vacation after vacation after vacation.
Pretty soon, though, he’ll be playing golf full time. The country — and the world — will be better off for it.
• Joseph Curl covered the White House and politics for a decade for The Washington Times. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @josephcurl.