Barack Obama played golf — twice! — this week on Martha’s Vineyard, and pundits all over the place are recoiling in horror. One of them was Mike Lupica, who has twice been the subject of our site’s interviewees’ ire (Jason Whitlock and Mike Vaccaro) for the way he treats other people. In the New York Daily News, Lupica writes:
This is not to trivialize the apparent murder of James Foley at the hands of terrorists, but there is literally always something terrible happening in or involving America for which one could say the President should not be playing golf.
Addressing the sentiment of Lupica’s column and others’, Ezra Klein rebutted the criticism (emphasis is mine):
Something is always going wrong in the world. At the same time, presidents, like all human beings, need to rest. We call it “vacation,” but the case for it goes beyond just pleasure: research shows this kind of rest actually makes people better at their jobs. But pretty much whenever a president tries to take a vacation there will be a few issues that make the presidential vacation look ill-timed. And so the other party will criticize the president for taking his vacation. Democrats did it all the time to President Bush. Republicans do it all the time to President Obama.
Klein advocates for presidents to take real vacations, and for the VP to be in charge during them.
As for the golf, Dwight D. Eisenhower played almost 800 rounds during his presidency. It’s not like President Obama is disconnected from the world on his vacation — he’s not camping in the remote wilderness without access to his aides or the Internet — and we should want everybody in our government to have some leisure time to re-charge their batteries. Regardless of how one perceives President Obama’s record in office, this is a dumb controversy.