Hart: Trump's golf course diplomacy

FILE- In this March 6, 2016 file photo, Donald Trump drives himself around the golf course to watch the final round of the Cadillac Championship golf tournament in Doral, Fla. President Donald Trump's executive order seeking to rewrite a rule that protects small streams from pollution raises new questions about financial conflicts of interest for a president whose business holdings include a dozen U.S. golf courses. It's not clear whether any financial benefits from more lax regulation of waterways on golf courses could violate laws meant to keep politicians from using public office for personal gain, but experts say it adds to an appearance of impropriety.(AP Photo/Luis Alvarez, File)
photo Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., recently played golf with President Trump and may have found more common ground with the president than he had before.
photo Ron Hart

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On Sunday, Donald J. Trump used golf to woo a member of the more conservative Freedom Caucus into seeing things his way and to try to forge an understanding on moving forward on important matters like Obamacare reform. Invitee Sen. Rand Paul tweeted: "I had a great time today with @realDonaldTrump and believe we are getting closer to an agreement on health care!"

Sen. Paul and White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney played golf at Trump National Golf Club in nearby Virginia to discuss such matters. Hopefully, it is "an art of a deal" in the making. There have been rancorous campaigning and debates on issues between Rand Paul and President Trump, but when wealthy WASPs meet to play golf, they are suddenly reminded that much more unites than divides them.

They only played a threesome because of the fear that the "deep state" lingering from the Obama administration still automatically surveils four or more Republicans who gather in one place.

The notoriously frugal Mulvaney and Rand Paul had a good time playing golf with Trump. The only issue was when someone hit a ball toward other golfers. Trump would yell, "Fore!" and Rand and Mulvaney would say, "No, $3.99." Then some women golfers hit their drive into the threesome. The women yelled, "Fore!" and Trump looked at them and said, "No, at best you're all 3's. 3 1/2 tops."

Trump is realizing that success in business does not translate into governing in Washington. Washington is a different world of archaic and illogical structures, egos (not just his) and entrenched bureaucrats. Trump is having a hard time "draining the swamp." But he is serious about it. He even sells golf shirts with little alligators on them in his golf shops to scare the establishment.

Golf has long been the "sport" of the rich and famous. Obama played a lot of golf but rarely for business. Golf is usually played by politicians, government bureaucrats, executives and retired lawyers in their latter years. Golf has done more to needlessly prolong the lives and joy of worthless American men than Viagra.

Obama, the first black president, did famously play with the first orange Speaker of the House John Boehner when they were having their differences. And they did gamble some. They ran up $19 trillion in gambling debts on the golf course but, true to form, laughed as they left the bill for some younger golfers behind them to pay.

Like many powerful people, the former president was given a lot of 3-foot putts on the golf course. Some called them "gimmies." He prefers to call them "entitlements."

Hopefully as he retires we can also retire Obamacare, and Obama now will be able to play more golf. If he ever shoots an even par, it might provoke Trump again - to demand to see his scorecard.

Dr. Rand Paul, an ophthalmologist and tea party darling, has his own Obamacare replacement plan. He and other conservatives feel Trump's bill did not go far enough; they want to fully repeal and replace the 2010 plan. Paul's plan does more to spark competition, and he thinks it is a better plan. He should know - he's a doctor. Rand's dad was an M.D., too. Dr. Ron Paul was a gynecologist and kept trying to retire to become the leading libertarian in Congress. But retiring was slow as there is a lot of demand by women for an older gynecologist, maybe because their hands start to tremble at that age.

It would have been fun to watch Trump and those guys play golf. It would have combined the two most riveting forms of TV: Golf Channel and C-SPAN. It will be interesting to see if anything will happen in the wake of the match. It will probably be like watching golf itself: You kind of expect something exciting to happen, so you watch. And it never does.

Even Bill Clinton famously played, and cheated, at golf. He even said he was playing golf in 100-degree Phoenix when he nefariously met with Attorney General Loretta Lynch on her private jet while her Department of Justice was investigating Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation. When they were caught meeting by a local news crew, Bill Clinton swore they only talked about grandkids and golf. It might actually be true, since her husband was there with them.

Contact Ron Hart, an op-ed humorist and award-winning author, at Ron@RonaldHart.com or @RonaldHart on Twitter.