President Trump got himself in difficulty again this week, by pre-emptively tweeting on Christmas that the next day, he’d be getting” back to ran “– and then proceeding to play golf on December 26 and December 27, where reference is stands accused of having hired a truck to strategically locate itself so as to block reporters’ shoots of him putting.
Predictably, this all kicked off rounds of liberal howling. On the front page of DailyKos, there was a post calling him a “full-time professional golfer, sponsored by U.S. taxpayers ,” and “easily the laziest president in modern history .” He also earned a critical post from ThinkProgress, a sarcastic tweet from Think Progress’ editor, and a Rachel Maddow blog post calling him out for hypocrisy, broken promises, lying about his leisure activities, and self-enriching by playing at Trump properties.
But fair as those charges may be, the massive pile-on over presidential golfing remains is as stupid as ever, and should largely serve to remind us that it’s time to retire” he golfs too much” as a partisan attack line.
Oh sure, there are signs it’s effective; the strategically-placed truck is just the most recent hint that the White House sees as damaging claims that Trump expends too much time walking around golf greens and too little time” presidenting.” Fans of President Obama received the same charges against him unfair, but damaging, too; more than one Democratic consultant I know has quietly acknowledged they hated attention focused on Obama’s golfing habit, because they “ve felt it” tied in with stereotypes some detractors were keen to advance of African-American humen being insufficiently hardworking.
It’s also comforting to those leveling the charges, since partisans on both sides have long volleyed golf-focused attacks on Chairmen of different philosophical persuasions and partisan affiliations. Everyone can recollect the opening of Fahrenheit 9/11, which seemed to suggest President Bush cared more about golf than actually safeguarding the homeland. Obamanians remember Obama/ golf memes posted by Trump and his supporters on Twitter. Now, Trump advocates get to see their guy poked and prodded by people who supported the guys previously subject to the poking and prodding. For those doing the haranguing, it’s fun, and feels somewhat vindicating.
But it’s still juvenile and nonsensical, and could even end up being counter-productive if it baits Trump into putting in more period at the office.
Let’s recognise first of all that everyone needs both downtime and exercise in order to function properly as a human being — and the fact that whether you love it or detest it, golf undoubtedly provides its players with both. Typically, it involves some walk-to, some sway, some bending and crouching, and people who love it say it helps clear and calm their minds. No wonder, then, that it has been a favorite pastime of multiple presidents.
No one can be on the job 24/7/ 365, whether it’s a Starbucks barista, an assembly-line worker at a Ford factory, or an American chairperson — which is arguably the toughest, most stressful and most-strapped-to-an-office-chair-and-a-phone job around. If there’s anyone for whom get in rounds of golf would seemingly be important, it’s our successive Commanders-in-Chief.
And for Trump, especially, there are particular reasons why people should be satisfied , not repulsed, at his pursuit of the sport.
First, Trump is no spring chicken. He is the oldest chairman we have ever elected. While he preserved during the campaign that he was a model of health, photographic evidence suggests otherwise. He is clearly overweight. His scalp is in poor condition( often a sign of excess stress and unhealthy habits ). He cheerfully admits to food options that would build your median nutritionist shrieking in horror. And he occupies arguably the most important chore in the world, where in any given minute, he could take literally life-or-death decisions affecting millions, perhaps even billions of people. This is a guy who from a basic, physical health standpoint, is bound to need more breaches than we might be inclined to give him.
To further country the obvious, Trump is not a guy who came to the presidency with an intricate working knowledge of policy, and how tweaks to it can have massive ramifications across American society, the economy, and foreign relations. He’s facing perhaps the toughest challenge any chairwoman has faced in a decade or more in North Korea. He patently lacks the staff necessary to do the best possible task on any given day. If there’s one thing we should all hope for, even if we dislike Trump and think he’s wholly unfit to be President or simply wrong on policy, it’s that he should have ample opportunities to collect his thoughts, reflect, pause and clear his head so he can make the best possible decisions. Severely, there’s a lot riding on this.
But let’s also be more practical. Set aside the hypocrisy of people who defended Obama against charges of too much golfing now turning around to level those same accusations at Trump( yes, yes, he golfs more than Obama did, but as noted, he might need to golf more than President 44 ). If Trump takes these people’s advice, won’t they have procured a situation in which they get loads more policy outcomes they hate in exchange for what is often fairly petty trolling and smart-ass tweets?
The truth is, the more hour Trump spends in the Oval Office, signing executive orders and meeting with key personnels, the more likely it is that he’s going to move the country in a direction that the #resist movement, their friends, friends and fans loathe — and those of us who are no fans of Trump or #resist are going to get screwed along the way, too.
Bottom line: Would you rather have him playing golf or cooking up schemes to start a trade war with China? Would you instead have him debating between different irons on the links or signing more executive orders that limit immigration and upstep mass deportations? Would you rather have him riding around in a golf cart or talking to basically any foreign leader you could choose out of a hat on the phone, given his limited ability to adhere to a script and the current challenges the world is facing?
I’ll take the golfing. The more of it, the very best. Yes, for a few more years, all of us taxpayers will be on the hook for costs that seem to do little to immediately ensure a most competent federal government. That sucks, but it’s a rounding fault in the strategy of things.
Quit the sniping, and let Trump golf. Then, let his successor golf. It’s for the good of the country, and at this phase, maybe even humanity.
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