Despite the carping by critics, I’m glad the president went on vacation because one of the most useful things he could do right now is play golf — a lot of golf — but not that friendly foursome thing with his aides that he usually does. No, real golf: Match play, head to head, with real money on the line. Match-play golf is a great teacher. As any good golfer will tell you, the first rule of match play is this: Never play not to lose. Do not wait and hope for your opponent to make a mistake. Always play the course, always play to win and always assume your opponent will do well — will make that long putt — so you have to do better.Obama refuses to divulge his golf scores (probably for good reason), so you think he'd actually wager money going head to head against anyone?
For months now, Obama has been playing not to lose, keeping his own plans for a “Grand Bargain” on debt, deficits, taxes, jobs and investment vague, while waiting for the Republicans to say crazier and crazier stuff — like promising the return of $2-a-gallon gasoline, or insisting that climate change was made up by scientists to get research grants (but politicians taking millions from oil companies can be trusted to tell us the truth on this issue), or that Texas has a right to secede. But while the G.O.P. candidates have been obliging the president with their nuttiness, it has not helped Obama’s poll ratings.So Republicans are all nuts, but the man running up trillion-dollar deficits is the one to be trusted.
Many Americans can see that most of these G.O.P. candidates are closer to professional wrestlers than politicians — with their fake body slams and anti-Obama bluster. All they are missing are the Tarzan outfits. This is the silly season.Tarzan outfits? Um, what if someone suggested putting Obama in a Tarzan outfit? How well would that go over with the delicate sensibilities of the folks at the New York Times? Hey Tom, what if someone Photoshopped Herman Cain into a Tarzan outfit? Wouldn't that be raaaaacist?
Friedman then delves into some fantasy world where Obama hasn't properly presented his "Grand Bargain" to the great unwashed, to which we ask, what Grand Bargain? Tom, I hate to break this to you, but there isn't any plan. Obama has no idea what he's doing, other than hoping idiots like you continue holding his jockstrap for him.
It’s all nonsense. Obama is smart, decent and tough, with exactly the right instincts about where the country needs to go. He has accomplished a lot more than he’s gotten credit for — with an opposition dedicated to making him fail. But lately he is seriously off his game. He’s not Jimmy Carter. He’s Tiger Woods — a natural who’s lost his swing. He has so many different swing thoughts in his head, so many people whispering in his ear about what the polls say and how he needs to position himself to get re-elected, that he has lost all his natural instincts for the game. He needs to get back to basics.So he's Tiger Woods now? You mean a guy with a carefully crafted public image who turned out to be a cheating lowlife?
It’s crazy what’s happening in America today: We’re having an economic crisis and the politicians are having an election — and there is almost no overlap between the two. The president needs to bring them together. But that can only happen if he stops playing not to lose and goes for broke himself. Our problems are not insoluble. We need a Grand Bargain — where each side gives something on spending, taxes and new investments — and we’re on our way out of this.Oh, it's that simple? Obama presents his Grand Bargain, the GOP simply goes along and we're on our way out? Why hasn't someone thought of this already?
Run on that, Mr. President: At best you’ll generate enough public pressure (now totally missing) to shame sane Republicans into joining you, and we’ll get a deal, and at worst you can run in 2012 on a platform, which, if you win, will actually give you a mandate for the change the country needs.Um, what happened to that mandate for change he had after winning in 2008?