There are a lot — an awful lot — of things to criticize Donald Trump for. That he plays golf a lot isn’t one of them.
There are a lot of things to criticize this Congress for. That it takes an August recess isn’t one of them.
First, the president. Yes, he’s a terrible hypocrite (because he spent years attacking Barack Obama for playing golf only to head for the links as soon as he took office). And, far more important, his trips to golf courses he owns are a form of advertising for his properties, and therefore a form of cashing in on his presidency — and he absolutely should be held accountable for that.
But the recreation itself? Presidents need both recreation and exercise, just as anyone does. But unlike most people, presidents can zip through 18 holes quickly, and at any rate, even more than most normal folks nowadays, they bring their office with them wherever they go.
As for Congress, Lee Drutman at Polyarchy has the latest studies, which tend to show that the number of days Congress spends in Washington don’t seem to be related to productivity. Meanwhile, most members of Congress aren’t on “vacation” when Congress isn’t in session. They’re back home in their districts, communicating with their constituents, in ways that are quite important to healthy representation. Or they’re off on fact-finding trips — and while some of those junkets are thinly disguised perks, there’s almost always real education going on as well for the people who, after all, are responsible for the world beyond the borders of their districts.