The best golfers in the world are at Congressional for the U.S. Open, but the most powerful ones played a few miles south at Andrews Air Force Base.
About 9:30 on Saturday morning, President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner teed off for a friendly round of golf that also included Vice President Joe Biden and Ohio Governor John Kasich. Four hours later, the Obama-Boehner team beat the Biden-Kasich on the 18th hole, claiming an enormous $2 bounty.
The purpose of the outing wasn't to solve any of the many problems facing the nation's top leaders; no, it was simply to break down a few walls and calm a little of the overheated rhetoric that dominates when politicians pound at each other via sound bite, not face to face. Whether Obama and Boehner discussed anything of note is between them, though they did share a golf cart. (Obama drove.) No word on who paid for the beers and hot dogs at the turn.
Boehner is by far the superior golfer, with a handicap of about 8.6. Obama, on the other hand, plays to about a 17.
Now, this outing will certainly prompt cries of "he should be focusing on the economy!" and the like; every president who's ever teed off has faced the same criticism. We could tell you that it's probably a good idea for the most powerful man in the world to blow off a little steam now and then, but chances are your opinions on this president or the Republican leader of the House, pro or con, are already set in stone. Which is why you weren't invited.
So all players left the course with smiles on their faces. Best-case scenario: they realize the other side isn't the devil and work toward mutually acceptable solutions. Worst case: whenever they sit down at the negotiating table, they bore the heck out of everyone else by trading stories about their round.
- John Boehner
- President Barack Obama
- Andrews Air Force Base