Politicians tend to be forgiven for any number of vices -- playing a lot of golf is not one of them.
After months of watching Republicans hammer President Obama for hitting the links on a weekly basis, Democrats are turning the tables. In an ad launched Monday morning, a duo of progressive groups go after House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) for a golf addiction rivaled by few others.
The spot, paid for by Blue America and Americans for America and drawing heavily from the MasterCard commercial theme, is airing in Boehner's home district on behalf of his Democratic challenger: attorney and West Point graduate Justin Coussoule.
"Rounds of golf: 100 plus. Golf expenses: $83,000. Membership at all male club: $75,000. Special interest travel including golf junkets: $159,000. Raising the retirement age to 70 and voting to end unemployment benefits: priceless. For those who want an out-of-touch pro golfer for a Congressman, there's John Boehner. For everyone else, there's Justin Coussoule."
The White House, when pressed on Obama's frequency on the links, has argued that it's a productive way for him to find some relief from the wear and tear of the job. Boehner isn't known as a particularly hard worker. And when asked about the more indulgent expenditures he has made through his political action committee, the response has traditionally been that it's for the benefit of positioning the party for 2010. Golf, while a hobby, is also way to entertain donors and raise money.
Coussoule's hope is that voters find the contrast between the lavish fundraising and the policy positions (raising the retirement age and opposing unemployment insurance) too objectionable -- though considering the conservative makeup of the Ohio district, he has an uphill task.
The ad is not some cheeky effort for additional media recognition. It will be airing in Butler County on CNN, MSNBC, Fox (though not the Glenn Beck program) and Comedy Central and will be bolstered by a fundraising drive to keep it on air.