President Barack Obama rates criticism for the error of his White House ways. But cut him some slack on occasionally playing golf to unwind from the extreme stresses of his job.
Predictably, some misguided critics frequently tee off on Mr. Obama’s penchant for hitting the links — a recreational outlet he plugged into again Monday on his 120th golf outing as president.
Two months ago, Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, even proposed prohibiting the president from using tax dollars to play golf until White House public tours resume.
It’s easy to find fault with many of the Obama administration’s decisions, including the ending of White House tours, which it dubiously based on sequester cost cutting.
But don’t begrudge Mr. Obama the fewer than 2½ golf outings he has taken a month as president — a rate well below those set by Woodrow Wilson and Dwight Eisenhower.
Anyway, Monday’s round at a course on Andrews Air Force Base didn’t just give the president a chance to relax. It gave him a chance to find common ground — in and out of the fairways — with Sens. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and Mark Udall, D-Colo.
Sen. Chambliss, who made his memorable day even more so by recording a hole-in-one on No. 11, later issued this statement:
“We had a delightful day of golf with folks who enjoy playing the game. We talked some business, but it was mainly a day for everyone to get away from the office for a little while.”
Golfers of all skill levels — and political opinions — know from rough experience that it’s an especially humbling game. So those who accuse this president of arrogance should welcome him playing it.
President Obama’s fondness for golf reflects well on him.
As another avid presidential golfer, William Howard Taft, put it: “Golf in the interest of good health and good manners. It promotes self-restraint and affords a chance to play the man and act the gentleman.”
And enhancing such traits in this — or any other — president is in the national interest.