The bill has come in for President Obama's recent golf getaway to The Floridian, where he played with Tiger Woods earlier this month, and it ain't cheap.
Local television station WPTV estimates that local law enforcement costs from St. Lucie and Martin counties for protecting the president ran about $78,205. That's in addition to the standard Secret Service and travel charges.
The president spent Feb. 15-18 at The Floridian, and during that time more than 110 officers from the two counties, as well as Port St. Lucie, provided security. They covered 16 golf holes, multiple access gates, and traffic control.
But if law enforcement officials were upset about the charges, they didn't speak of them on the record. “It doesn’t matter what party you are. If you are a resident of a county that is visited by a VIP, that requires security detail, and this is the service that we provide,” St. Lucie County Sheriff Ken Mascara told WPTV.
“We don’t resent doing this,” Martin County Sheriff William Snyder said. “This is part of what we do. He’s the president of the United States of America. It was our obligation to provide the security necessary for the president of the United States.”
Now, this is one of those stories that you know a section of the American readership will devour like red (pun very much intended) meat. THE PRESIDENT'S PLAYING GOLF?!? DURRR GO RUN THE COUNTRY OBUMMER!!! Anything Obama does will be viewed in the worst possible light, as if no president before him squandered a single dollar and he's fanning himself with literal taxpayer dollars that he stole from kids' piggy banks. Or, as one government official put it: "At a time when we are desperately trying to put every dime we can into securing our country ... the president needs to explain why he thinks taxpayers should foot the enormous bill for him to gallivant across the country." Yeah. YEAH! Oh, wait, sorry ... that wasn't about Obama, that was a Democratic official speaking about President Bush in 2002.
Point being: sure, it's a huge expenditure, and in the grand scheme of things an unnecessary one. But neither side has any monopoly on the smug self-satisfaction that comes from pointing out how wrooooong it is for a president to be spending so much money on non-governmental activities. You know the saying about not hating the players. But then, if we actually worked together to fix the political game, what would people have to complain about?
All right, enough bloviating. Back to golf. Without presidents.
-Follow Jay Busbee on Twitter at @jaybusbee.-
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