President Obama has been playing golf at a furious pace this year – already heading out more times than during any year of his presidency – but the government shutdown raises the prospect that his favorite leisure activity is about to be suspended.
It’s unclear how a presidential golf outing could be justified as “essential,” which is the general standard for government activities that continue during the shutdown.
When Obama is in Washington, he plays at one of two publicly funded courses – either the links at Andrews Air Force Base or at Fort Belvoir. His rounds are paid for out of the public kitty.
What’s more, the public must pay for the nearly half hour trip by the large motorcade that shuttles the president to his golf destination, costs that involve the logistics of the movement as well as staff and Secret Service who must accompany Obama.
But beyond the actual costs, a golf excursion by Obama when the government is supposedly trimming costs and while furloughed federal workers are going without pay would be extremely bad public relations for a president waging a shutdown public opinion war against Republicans.
Obama generally plays every Saturday, most recently this past Saturday when he went out even as the government headed toward a shutdown. It was the 35th time he has played this year, eclipsing his 2011 record of 34 outings.