The Corner


1) People are saying that President Obama is “tone-deaf” for playing golf as the world burns (and Islamists chop the heads off innocents). (Of course, if you waited to play golf until Islamists stopped chopping the heads off innocents, there would be no golf.)

I wrote a piece four years ago called “Hail to the Golfer-in-Chief.” As the title suggests, I defended Obama against his critics: against those who knock him for his golf habit. I think playing golf is usually just about the most innocent thing Obama could be doing.

George W. Bush loved golf. But he stopped playing altogether in August 2003 (for the duration of his presidency — which went until January 2009). He did not announce he was doing so. He just did. Years later, he explained, “I didn’t want some mom whose son may have recently died to see the commander-in-chief playing golf.”

In my 2010 piece, I did some arguing with Bush, while of course respecting his position. But I must say, Obama is “tone-deaf.” (This is a cliché that began in Washington some years ago, like “kabuki dance.”) He might want to stay off the links for the time being.

If Bush were president right now, he couldn’t get away with playing golf. Of course, he couldn’t get away with vacationing in Martha’s Vineyard or some other swank spot. He went to boiling Crawford, Texas. Swank spots are for Democrats, period.

2) I see that our hero Lord Snowden has wrapped himself in the flag, literally. (Maybe I should specify, because this is Snowden, that it’s the American flag.)

Look, I realize there are important differences between Snowden and Kim Philby. But dammit, here’s one difference: When Philby fled to Moscow, at least he didn’t wrap himself in the Union Jack. He just drank, checked cricket scores back home, and did what he could for the Kremlin.

3) If you feel like a musical interlude in your reading, I have two links for you: here and here. The first is to a review of an event at the Mostly Mozart Festival in New York. The second is to a review of an event at the Salzburg Festival.

I’ll be back with political fulminations later (a warning, not a promise, as a friend of mine would say).

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