It’s just a friendly game, but Democrats and Republicans are managing expectations for Saturday’s golf summit between President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner like the high stakes political theater it actually is.
The White House spent much of the week downplaying the president’s skills (Golf Digest has him, charitably, as a 17 handicap), while talking up the possibility the round will ease the way for an eventual bipartisan deal on the deficit.
House Republicans, on the other hand, have projected a quiet confidence in the speaker’s polished mid-80s golf game. At the same time, they’ve dismissed any suggestion the fairway encounter will have long-term political significance and laughed off predictions the round will be the beginning of a beautiful new friendship between the pair.
That’s led to an enthusiasm gap about the whole exercise, with Obama aides investing it with significance and Republicans giving a “whatever” vibe on a day when the pros will be tearing it up at the U.S. Open at nearby Congressional Country Club.