Rightbloggers' Long Obsession with Obama and Golf -- And Why It's Finally Paying Off

[Roy Edroso dissects the right-wing blogosphere in this weekly feature]

Maureen Dowd, recently adopted as a "narrative journalist" by the New York Times Magazine, did a Sunday column about how Obama likes to golf even when bad things are happening (that is, anytime). "FORE! Score? And seven trillion rounds ago," the column began, and did not improve thereafter.

But as with her famous pot-candy bummer, Dowd is way behind the curve. Her Obama golf column was preceded by years of rightblogger rages against the President's pastime, which flared again this week as he vacationed in Martha's Vineyard.

The earliest example we can find of a rightblogger criticizing Obama's golfing is Freedom Eden's on April 26, 2009: "The swine flu has the makings of a pandemic. Mexico is in a state of panic. And what does the almighty Obama do? He plays golf."

A more sweeping indictment came on June 22, 2009, from Penny Starr of CNS News: "Media Cheer Obama's Golf Outings; Criticized Republicans' Trips to Course."

"President Barack Obama has gone to the golf course at least 11 times since he took the oath of office a little more than six months ago," reported Starr; "...These 11 rounds played by the president are documented through media reports of his golf trips." And that was just what the White House let slip! Starr also provided a list of "U.S. troops [who] died in Iraq and Afghanistan while Obama was on golf outings."

"Gwaaaahhguh guhguhguhghuh!" (sadhillnews.com.)
"Obama Has Shot 41 Rounds of Golf as President," reported Keith Koffler at White House Dossier in July 2010, "...possibly damaging his ability to portray himself in 2012 as a populist advocate of average folks... Since the April 20 explosion that killed 11 rig workers and started the Gulf oil spill, Obama has teed up seven times... Obama's focus on golf borders on obsession."

In March 2011 at American Thinker, Betsy M. Galliher suggested all Americans were now Obama's "golf widows": "His incessant golfing isn't just insensitive," she wrote. "The baseball cap and shorts don't just reveal his immaturity." (Presumably responsible golfers wear three-piece suits on the links.) "As any golf widow knows, it's the need to escape while those around him cannot, that is so irksome. He either believes his actions have no bearing on what's happening, or he simply doesn't care." We'd love to see how she'd describe Obama watching a funny movie, or having sex.

That same month Japan was rocked by an earthquake and a tsunami, and PunditPawn reacted, "Obama Golfs While Japan Burns." "I think it's particularly inappropriate for Obama to be out golfing not much more than 24 hours after the catastrophic earthquake and tsunami devastated Japan... He appears so detached and self-centered," said Freedom Eden.

Later that year a volcanic ash cloud prevented Obama from flying to attend the funeral of Polish president Lech Kaczynski. This is how Cassy Fiano portrayed this situation at Hot Air: "Obama couldn't blow off the funeral without making it look like the major insult that it would have been," she wrote. "Fortunately for him, the volcanic eruption in Iceland gave him a perfect excuse. He cancelled and he spent that extra time yesterday playing golf instead of mourning with our friends in Poland." What a bastard, taking advantage of a natural disaster like that! "Golf Much More Fun Than A Polish Funeral," headlined Greg Pollowitz at National Review.

"It's time to have a president whose idea of being 'hands on' doesn't mean getting a better grip on the golf club," said fortyfore.com, a Mitt Romney campaign fundraising website in late 2011.

In 2012, U.S News and World Report noted "the conservative American Future Fund," perhaps hoping to amplify Mitt Romney's populist appeal, had created a Pinterest page devoted to the "stunning and exclusive golf courses Obama has played at during his presidency," and that there was also an online Obama Golf Counter, which is extant and features pictures of Obama golfing mixed with slogans like "Defund Obamacare" and "Foodstamp President."

Last year Obama struck a goofy pose on the links; though Fox News' Greta Van Susteren thought this was "staged and choreographed" by the White House for God knows what reason, the photo has since been repurposed by hundreds of rightbloggers who were outraged that Obama spent so much time (and, possibly, was allowed to be) at these fancy golf courses.

In May of this year Breitbart.com breathlessly reported that someone had put up anti-Obama posters in L.A. which "coincided with the PGA Tour and poked fun at the president's multiple golf outings." "The president is on pace to double the 104 days he spent on the links during his first term," reported the New York Post.

And so on, and on. Obama plus golf became rightblogger shorthand for Elitist for when they were tired of calling him a Socialist. They used it without explanation as a casual slur, confident their followers would understand -- for example, here's Jeff Goldstein of Protein Wisdom talking about some damn thing: "Obama has been holding back what he believed to be a trump card for a time when the heat for some of his lawlessness and fecklessness began to pierce his air conditioned super town car and threatened to interrupt his golf outings."

Sometimes the brethren take a break from attacking Obama's golf to attack him for other recreational activities, like skeet shooting or pool. And in general any time he goes on vacation they subject it to microscopic analysis. But when that vacation involves golf, their tiny eyes light up.

Why? Resentment, perhaps. Often they bitterly complain, as Jonah Goldberg did in 2009, about the Liberal Media's "double standard" in covering Bush's time on the greens and Obama's. Which makes this as good a point as any to note that Obama has actually taken far fewer vacation days than Bush did -- as of August 4, 125 days to Bush's 407 days, per Politifact.

But don't tell that to rightbloggers. For one thing, Bush wasn't golfing during his long absences from the office, at least not after a while -- he was "clearing brush," remember? For another, Obama was on vacation -- and golfing! -- just last week, when a lot of shit went down, and in Martha's Vineyard, which is fancy and liberal and the perfect excuse for reviving the trope, in hopes of making the President look out of touch and even cruel in the face of current events.

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