December 31, 2009

Obama's mental health breaks

In The New Republic, Michelle Cottle gets herself worried about the political imagery of the President's golf habit:
Bunker Mentality
Barack Obama's dangerous obsession with golf
During the 2008 race, Obama’s golf outings drew less notice than his battles on the hard court. But, now that he’s firmly ensconced in the Oval Office, the sticks have come out of the closet as Obama constantly looks to squeeze in a few holes ...

But just because other presidents have done it doesn’t mean there aren’t political risks involved. In the popular imagination, golf is the stuff of corporate deal-cutting, congressional junkets, and country club exclusivity. And, unless a president is very careful, a golf habit can easily be spun as evidence of unseemly character traits ranging from laziness to callousness to out-of-touch elitism.

I've mentioned before how most careers in 21st Century America are more or less in marketing, and how journalism is slowly turning into Marketing Criticism.
Various explanations have been floated for Obama’s embrace of golf ...

The most reasonable is mine: that Obama has made it to the top, so now he's doing what men who have made it to the top in the Anglosphere and the Far East frequently do: play a lot of golf. (Why men like to play golf I've explained at length here.)

I would guess that he'll become more addicted to golf as he plays more great golf courses. Right now, his taste in golf courses appears to be rather indiscriminate, happily playing whatever lame layout is at hand. But eventually, like Bill Clinton, he'll learn that some golf courses are better than others, and then the Presidential helicopter will be descending upon Ballybunion (the small town on the west coast of Ireland that is home to Bill Clinton's favorite golf course and the world's first statue of Bill Clinton -- the other Clinton statue is in Kosovo), Sand Hills in remote Mullen, Nebraska, the National and the like.

The more interesting speculation about Obama and golf is that, like George W. Bush, he sure seems to take a lot of mental health breaks, such as when he disappears for a smoke.

Bush is an alcoholic, so that's one explanation for his constant exercising: to stay on the wagon. But what's Obama's reason for his schedule?

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

33 comments:

Kylie said...

"Bush is an alcoholic, so that's one explanation for his constant exercising: to stay on the wagon. But what's Obama's reason for his schedule?"

I suspect that Obama is a hothouse plant who thrives on adulation and wilts under pressure or criticism. The way he'd lift his head and half-close his eyes while absorbing the applause during campaign rallies was very telling. And he's obviously thin-skinned, as his ill-conceived "War on Fox News" indicates and therefore tends to retreat to lick his wounds and nurse his grudges.

Also, I think he's somewhat introverted, in which case sustained interaction, however good he is at it, would tend to drain him psychologically and require he take a fair amount of "down time" to recover.

Anonymous said...

We get it Steve--this is about race again

And , the subtext of every single one of your blog entries are about how you want Affirmative Action for white Americans.

WE get it.

l said...

Daddy Bush was told by his pollsters that his motorboating and playing golf during the Gulf War would be reassuring to the couch potatoes: If the prez is relaxed enough to have some fun, there must not be anything to worry about.
I'm guessing Obama's handlers likewise want him to be seen as not-too-worried about AfPak and the goddam ecomomy. Also, Obama tends to come across as a bit too self-impressed. You can tell he thinks he's a real smarty pants. Playing golf and shooting hoops shows he's just a regular guy.

bgc said...

Having read your article on golf architecture, I begin to see why 'the other Bruce Charlton' http://www.rtj2.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=143&Itemid=78 - who is almost exactly my age - gets so much internet coverage (i.e. because he is a senior partner at Robert Trent Jones).

Bruce (G) Charlton

Dennis Mangan said...

Christopher Hitchens once asserted that Bush was in no way an alcoholic. His (Bush's) "conversion experience" came after a night with 3 drinks (or something). Hitchens is probably a good judge here too.

Richard Hoste said...

the other Clinton statue is in Kosovo

Of course!

Some founding father. Maybe they can put up a statue of Albright too.

Glossy said...

Unlike, say, Bill Clinton, Obama isn't a talented workaholic who clawed his way to the top all by himself. He's more like that freakishly tall gay guy whom Steve mentioned a few days ago and who hated basketball, but got recruited into a pro basketball team anyway, solely because of his height. The political establishment had been looking long and hard for someone who's significantly black, but doesn't act like Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson. Once they found him in Obama, they carried him on their shoulders to the White House.

My point here is that Obama didn't have to be single-mindedly obsessed with politics to get here. And apparently he isn't. Perhaps he's even bored by politics, like that freakishly tall gay gentleman was bored by basketball. That could explain his relaxed work schedule.

Otis the Sweaty said...

Two things:

1. Anonymous: Steve didn't bring up race in this post and has never advocated for affirmative action for white Americans. Unlike NAM's, whites don't need handouts.

2. Steve, don't let people post anonymous comments. It's really annoying. It isn't too much to ask that somebody making a comment take 2 seconds of their time to come up with a stupid moniker.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure that Obama's being thin-skinned is an adequate explanation for the war on Fox news. It certainly is not a complete one.The attacks on Fox news (including the clumsy attempt by the Obama administration to get the other major TV networks to agree that they would shun Fox) was closely followed about 5 weeks later by Sen. Waxman's observation that the media needed financial help and that government help was a good idea. I have never seen such a blatant example of the brandishing of the stick, followed by the offer of the carrot. Why now? The Obama administration is doing this because without the active support of the media, they simply cannot achieve the restructuring of the country that is so important to them, and for the first time in my memory, the major media are weak enough to be bullied.
This is scary stuff.

Gerard said...

If you indeed "get it" get with it.

Mr. Anon said...

"Anonymous said...

We get it Steve--this is about race again

And , the subtext of every single one of your blog entries are about how you want Affirmative Action for white Americans.

WE get it."

No. We don't get it. I have no idea what you are talking about. If you don't like Steve's posts, why not just type in a new URL, and disappear.

albertosaurus said...

Bush is an alcoholic, so that's one explanation for his constant exercising: to stay on the wagon. But what's Obama's reason for his schedule?

What has golf got to do with exercise? Strolling around a large flat lawn while some servant carries your golf bag isn't exercise.

BarryO- said...

Steve baby - there's too much stuff to do in D.C. I need to take the pulse of the people by walking on the beach in Hawaii and catching up with the iSteve blog. By the way, your "Half-Blood Prince" book was ok, but it could have used some 'editing' from Billy Ayers. If you need help with your next book, I can put him in touch. Peace out, bro-

John Seiler said...

I'm all for keeping our presidents happy and relaxed -- through cigs, golf, bourbon, medical marijuana, whatever. That way, they might invade fewer countries.

Sport said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...

We get it Steve--this is about race again

And , the subtext of every single one of your blog entries are about how you want Affirmative Action for white Americans.

WE get it.


I don't get it.

Paleo Truth Squad. said...

"We get it Steve--this is about race again"

We get it? No, "WE" don't get it. This is about Obama and his golfing habits.

Subtext be damned.

On the other hand the subtext could be that Obama has ditched his former tactic of posing as a race man and embraced the trappings of priviledge.

ricpic said...

My guess is that Zero has next to no zitsfleish.

There is absolutely no work ethic because there has never had to be a work ethic. Flying away at the drop of a hat, making speeches, none of that constitutes work. Work means chaining yourself to your desk and grinding. Utterly foreign to Zippy.

Of course Gerald Ford had no zitsfleish either. But then he wasn't hellbent on destroying the country. Destroying the country does not take work. All it takes is issuing directives to congress to spend and spend and spend and spe........

ricpic said...

Although there's no arguing with Sailer's assertion that the human preference is for meadows with stands of trees and the presence of lakes or streams, my problem with golf courses, and I spent a lot of time on them as a yute, is that the "meadows," the fairways, are too manicured, too neat, too perfect. There's something faintly ennervating about the super niceness of the golf course environment. St. Andrews in Scotland on the other hand, which I've never had the pleasure of playing, has just enough shagginess to it to overcome that overdomesticated look, and I'd hope some future golf architect would bring something like that look to the States.

Kylie said...

Anonymous said: "I'm not sure that Obama's being thin-skinned is an adequate explanation for the war on Fox news."

Agreed. I mentioned it only as an example of his being thin-skinned. Sorry if I wasn't clearer.

"The Obama administration is doing this because without the active support of the media, they simply cannot achieve the restructuring of the country that is so important to them, and for the first time in my memory, the major media are weak enough to be bullied.
This is scary stuff."

I agree that the Obama administration needs the active support of the media but am not sure your characterization of the latter as "weak enough to be bullied" is accurate. To me, it seems more like the media is far left enough to be led by those pushing a leftist agenda. Yes, very scary stuff. But it could be scarier. It could be unfolding without our having the Internet access that allows us to know what they don't want us to know.

ChocolateGodzilla said...

OK, I bit. If that piece indeed describes why most men play golf, you golfers are really fucked up.

What about sailers? Or hockey players?

I need a second opinion.

headache said...

Otis the Sweaty,
My impression of the Anon post was that he was mocking the conventional NYT-wisdom about Steve being some freaked out racist.

Anonymous said...

"...Obama has ditched his former tactic of posing as a race man and embraced the trappings of priviledge."

Posing as a "race man" has been Obama's ticket to the trappings of privilege, of which he's been happy to partake for a long time now.

Anonymous said...

It isn't too much to ask that somebody making a comment take 2 seconds of their time to come up with a stupid moniker.

We get a much higher success rate with Komment Kontrol when we're anonymous.

- LV

Anonymous said...

Keep in mind that "Obama" [the man-child we know variously as Barack Hussein Obama "Barry" Soetoro Dunham, citizen of Indonesia] is NOT the same thing as the "Obama Administration".

The "Obama Administration" is Rahm Emanuel and David Axelrod.

Dutch Boy said...

Some people believe that Dwight Eisenhower was a relatively good president because of all the time he spent on the golf course (thus having less time to misgovern).The appeal of golf has always been a mystery to me - not enough of a WASPiness factor in me, I guess.

Anonymous said...

So it turns out that Obama is really a white male who's been masquerading as black. He doesn't seem to have done anything differently than a white male would have done so far in this administration. The personal psychologies of Clinton, Bush and Obama are different, but that's about it. One could probably make a case that Clinton was blacker than Obama in terms of lifestyle and mentality.

Mr. Anon said...

"Anonymous said...

It isn't too much to ask that somebody making a comment take 2 seconds of their time to come up with a stupid moniker.

We get a much higher success rate with Komment Kontrol when we're anonymous.

- LV"

Maybe you'd have a higher success rate with "Komment Kontrol" if you'd stop spelling it like a retard.

Captain Jack Aubrey said...

So it turns out that Obama is really a white male who's been masquerading as black. He doesn't seem to have done anything differently than a white male would have done so far in this administration.

What would he have to have done to do it like a black guy?

Obama blames all our messes on a white guy (Bush, whom Obama bashes at every opportunity), obsesses about American sins, especially racism (he mentioned race during his Berlin Wall speech but not communism), and throws money around like a rapper. He speaks of himself constantly, as though he were the apotheosis of American civilization.

For Obama, cause and effect mean nothing. The stimulus bill and the health care bill don't need to be proven to work - they'll work because he wants them to.

Egotism, boastfulness, wasteful spending, a race obsession, blaming whitey - Obama is acting as black as a man can act yet still get elected president in this country. If anyone ever needed proof that a large share of personality is genetic, Obama is it.

Anonymous said...

"Capn' Jack" is obviously a visitor from Palin la-la land. If he thinks Obama acts real black then he's never met any actual blacks. The stimulus money program started under Bush. I guess that makes Bush some superfly black in whiteface.

Captain Jack Aubrey said...

"Capn' Jack" is obviously a visitor from Palin la-la land. If he thinks Obama acts real black then he's never met any actual blacks. The stimulus money program started under Bush. I guess that makes Bush some superfly black in whiteface.

Wow, I'm not sure it's possible for you to get any more of your facts or assumptions wrong.

Met blacks? Lived in a black majority city for over a decade.

Don't recall whether the stimulus started under Bush. I suspect you might be referring to the bailout, which was wrong but distinctly different from Obama's $787 billion stimulus monstrosity. Though taxpayers are at least getting some of their money back from the bailout.

And last, I actually listed all the elements of Obama's behavior which strike me as more or less black. Why not actually, ya know, try to refute them?

If Obama isn't acting black, then what kind of black president do we have to elect to get someone who does? Ice Cube? Snoop Dogg? Flavor Fav.

Dan said...

Bush (W) purposely quit golfing so much while president, to not be seen as slacking off. He's now apparently doing it all the time now that he's out of the spotlight. I don't see Obama doing the same after his presidency ends. Quite the opposite; I bet he only sets foot on a golf course for a fundraiser (if that) in 2014.

Truth said...

"Maybe you'd have a higher success rate with "Komment Kontrol" if you'd stop spelling it like a retard."

-Game over

Anonymous said...

OKKKay, you guys win.