On-line Opinion Magazine…OK, it's a blog
Random header image... Refresh for more!

Of Course He Plays Golf

Michelle Cottle of The New Republic has an opinion piece, Obama’s (Politically) Risky Golf Obsession, that misses the obvious – all Republicans golf.

Eisenhower had a putting green built at the White House. Nixon, Ford, Reagan, the Bushes – all golfers. As a frequent attendee of the “Let’s All Park On Interstate 5, So Dan Quayle Can Play Golf At Torrey Pines” meetings in San Diego, even Vice Presidents golf.

There was no reason to assume Obama would be any different, just because he calls himself a Democrat – you elect a Republican, you get a golfer.

Golfing is the only time Republicans get to meet their bosses, the corporate CEOs.

7 comments

1 Kryten42 { 12.30.09 at 10:01 pm }

As I was informed in a briefing one day in the 80’s, the reason they all play Golf is that even with sophisticated listening gear, they can easily have a quiet chat they know will stay secret, and it’s a given to everyone that it’s normal to play Golf. The majority of the public may get annoyed that their Leaders spend time on the Golf course, whilst they are struggling to have any time to even contemplate playing anything, but they are mostly clueless about the real reasons. We found a trend, whenever elected leaders and any corporate leaders played Golf, there was sure to be some deal and an announcement having to do with some common interest within a week or two. Some of them even actually enjoy Golf! Some struggle to hit the ball anywhere down a wide fairway, but they still play… when they need a quiet chat.

It’s easy to bug a room, much harder on a Golf course (but getting easier!) 😉

It’s like State Funerals. It gives the leaders of Nations an excuse to *put aside differences* without pissing off their other members and their respective public, and have a good chat about *whatever*. It was whispered that at one time some decades ago, that when Leaders needed to meet, a State Funeral was *arranged*. MI5 was particularly good at it during the 60’s/70’s (or so it was hinted). 😉 I doubt they could arrange it today without getting caught out. 🙂 They, like most services now, are mere shadows of their former selves.

Do you know the story of ‘John Alexander Symonds’ (SKOT)? I still have a copy of the dossier (unofficially, of course) and read it occasionally when I need a good chuckle at the rampant incompetence of virtually all Intel services the World over! 😆 But he managed to undermine the British and USA agencies the most. It’s a great story. 😀

Be happy to give you a copy, if you like. 🙂

2 Jack K., the Grumpy Forester { 12.30.09 at 11:43 pm }

…”now watch this drive” probably did more to destroy the idea of golf for progressives than even the most adventurous off-course Tiger Woods dalliances could hope to accomplish. I will confess that there have been times in my life when the idea of taking up golf has seemed ineluctably attractive. The special attraction of the smell of newly-mowed grass in early March at some public course in the southern Willamette Valley where a multi-agency meeting was being held a couple of decades ago made me think seriously about what I might want to do with my retired life…

Cottle’s piece strikes me as little more than just another strange effort to attribute manufactured nuance to an otherwise un-nuanced activity. I may suffer from a lack of sensitivity to this subject because I live in an area that has spawned an unseemly number of golf resort communities and courses, given the normal weather patterns and actual population. Yes, I know that the power-mongers use golf as a tool, but I have several blatantly progressive friends and coworkers who engage in this dangerous hobby and, as a result, don’t necessarily take Obama’s taste for golf as a warning for the outcome of this presidency any more than I would any other Democratic presidency. Obama is a fierce, big time basketball player, too; maybe I need to be just as worried about influence peddlers who have a good left-handed move to the basket…

3 Bryan { 12.30.09 at 11:51 pm }

That is why an intelligent individual would do, but we are talking Republicans here, so let’s just go with “they like to play games”. Most of these guys have never grown up. Highly directional “shotgun” mikes, and long range movies shown to lip readers make these things less private than they may once have been.

There have been a lot of deals made on golf courses, which is why they teach golf at all of the elite universities. It’s probably a core requirement for business majors.

Everyone prefers to cut private deals which really screws up foreign policy. I get flashes of episodes of Yes, Prime Minister whenever I hear about a new one, Most world leaders don’t actually understand the issues they discuss. Reagan was dangerous in a private meeting. A bunch of bloody amateurs.

Ah, yes, Mr. Symonds, that no one believed when he confessed. It was one disaster after another during those years with double agents and moles everywhere. With all that going on they were harassing guys in my unit for drinking at a bar owned by an avowed Communist. No records showing that the bulk of the conversations centered around the owner oppressing the workers by charging too much for beer and wurst, which he was happy to sell to the running dog lackeys of imperialism. Although it is just as well they didn’t record the night we discussed helping him realize his dream by driving him to Potsdam. Fortunately nobody had enough fuel in their car to make it to the first open gas station on the autobahn, or we really would have been in trouble. The plan sounded perfect that night.

Symonds was a problem for others, not for us, so we got to laugh from the sidelines. We had our own problems at NSA headquarters. When you pay people as badly as civil service pays, and then require them to work in one of the most expensive areas of the country, you should expect problems.

4 Bryan { 12.31.09 at 12:12 am }

They are games, Jack. Competitive people play games.

I always thought of golf as playing fetch with yourself. You hit the ball, then you have to chase the ball, and hit it again, I had to take a golf course at my first university and was above average in the group, but it just didn’t appeal to me. I would rather just walk and admire nature, than look for the stupid ball.

5 Kryten42 { 12.31.09 at 3:25 am }

Oh, Symonds did quite a bit of damage to the CIA as well US Embassies and Ambassador’s and other agencies. He seduced many a station chief’s wife or daughter and leaned a lot he passed onto the KGB. He also did a lot of damage to Aus interests (hence my involvement).

… On his brief but stunning record so far, it had to be as a Romeo Spy. And that is what he became. Indeed, he went on to perform the role so successfully in so many countries, he became the most successful Romeo Spy in the history of the KGB. For the next seven years, all over Europe, Africa, Asia, the Far East and Australasia, he seduced many western embassy secretaries, ambassadors’ wives, and even the wives of CIA station chiefs, as well as the daughters of super-rich industrialists whom the Russians wished to suborn. In all it was a triumphant progress, but exhausting. Indeed, when once asked during a BBC interview, how it was that his handlers had once reported that he was losing his looks, John replied, ‘Of course I was losing my looks. Seducing over 100 women in the course of duty would take it out of anyone. It was exhausting work, and most men I know would have lost not just their looks. They would have ended up on a stretcher or in a wheelchair’.

When eventually John fell out with Moscow – disillusioned by a change of handlers and some dumb decision-making by the new KGB regime that came in with Andropov’s successor – he took the tough decision to flee his home base in Sofia, leave his devoted but unknowing girlfriend in Sofia, and return to England to face the corruption charges which he had fled eight years before. He was locked up in Brixton prison for a year before being convicted on only one of the charges drawn up against him back in 1972, yet even this one charge – of corruptly receiving £50 from a petty criminal in a car – he continues to deny to this day.

John Symonds believes that he had to be convicted, on no matter how trivial a charge, for reasons of state. And that was because his allegations of chronic and endemic corruption throughout Scotland Yard were just too much for the British Establishment to swallow. There was another reason: many of the officers whom he had first named as corrupt back in 1970 when he first drew up his dossier had risen to high rank by 1980 and continued to rise right up till the late 1990s when most finally retired. If what John said was to be believed, then the Yard was still riddled with corruption over twenty years after he had first been named as corrupt, in an expose in The Times newspaper in November 1969. It was John Symonds who, in tapes secretly recorded by Times reporters, had coined the phrase ‘The little Firm within the Firm’ to describe the corrupt nexus of Freemason police detectives that controlled crime in the capital at the time. The fact that neither the Home Office nor anyone else had done anything to follow up his claims and investigate the officers named in his original (1970) ‘dossier’, handed over to the Metropolitan Police Commissioner by his original lawyer (Victor Lissack) meant that it was another seven years before just twelve of them went to jail and that over 100 more continued to serve in ever higher ranks for decades to come. …

We tried for years to get the Brit’s to take him seriously, but their arrogance was legendary. As the old saying goes “Hoist on their own petard” . Many of his recruits still serve Russia or Bulgaria within the UK, USA, and possibly even here. *shrug*

6 Moi;) { 12.31.09 at 11:59 am }

Hmmm. Why is it that I think he said once that he DIDN’T golf??? And, that his sport was basketball….

7 Bryan { 12.31.09 at 11:33 pm }

Moi, he doesn’t really play golf, expect every time he gets an opportunity and no one is watching. He won’t admit it until he’s at least a respectable club player with a single-digit handicap. It’s a guy thing, and yes, it’s stupid.

That’s the advantage of NSA in the old days – almost all military, many fewer problems. The regular duty rotations make it very difficult to recruit anyone, especially since people tend to spend their time with other military people.

Nobody willingly admits to being had, Kryten. It’s bad for morale, or some other stupid excuse. “It’s old news, and we need to look towards the future.” The Brits, Obama, and just about every other entrenched bureaucrat always offers that as an excuse for not pursuing criminals from the bureaucracy.