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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Should Obama Golf?

Michelle Cottle has a nice holiday diversion post over at The New Republic suggesting that President Obama is embracing the wrong hobby in spending time golfing.
I have to admit I was surprised by the statistics she cited about the decline of interest in golf among Americans over the last decade. With (at least up until the latest bout of local government fiscal crises) public courses now fairly common, and with anecdotal evidence that a significant number of professional women are taking up the game for networking purposes, it’s not clear why the numbers are going down sharply. And while golf remains largely a white folks’ past-time, it’s hardly the preserve of the upper classes anymore (as the pursuit of the game by many of my non-college-educated relatives attests).
As it happens, I personally share Cottle’s old-school populist aversion to golf culture and fashion. I once told an upper-crust acquaintance who asked about my own golf and tennis habits: “I don’t play any of those Republican sports; I bowl.” But then again, I grew up at a time and place where country club membership was largely a prerequisite for hitting golf or tennis balls.
The incongruous thing about this sudden interest in the President’s golf addiction is that it’s happening right in the middle of, well, you know, a certain scandal involving a certain golfer. Maybe America really needs a new half-African-American golfer they can believe in, even if he’s just a duffer.

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