Analysis: Rothfus uses golf as a wedge issue (get it?) | Blogh

Analysis: Rothfus uses golf as a wedge issue (get it?)

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So it has come to this: Republicans -- who are led by the chameleon-like Mitt Romney -- have made the ultimate flip-flop. They are now against golf.

Or so it would seem, based on the latest TV ad from Congressional candidate Keith Rothfus, which begins, "As President, Barack Obama has played over 100 rounds of golf. Keith Rothfus has played one round -- of miniature golf."

Obviously, this is part of Rothfus' ongoing effort to convince western Pennsylvania voters that he is not a cyborg. Like his first TV ad, this spot asserts that Rothfus is a "regular guy," which in itself raises some questions. How many "regular" guys want to run for Congress -- and are capable of raising nearly $900,000 to do so? And how many times can a person insist he's "just a normal guy" before you start to suspect that there's something deeply, deeply wrong with him?

But the real question here is: What does this alleged "regular guy" have against golfers?

It's true that President Obama likes golf. A lot. Some have cited that fact to suggest he's not working as hard as he should. (Though you have to wonder: Would Republicans really prefer that Obama put in more hours at the office? Wouldn't that just lead to ... even more socialism?)

Even so, it's shocking to see a Republican attack Obama on that basis. The GOP, after all, invented Presidential golf outings: Republican William Howard Taft was famous for his love of the game. Nor was he alone: Dwight Eisenhower's contributions to the game's popularity landed him in the sport's Hall of Fame. And let us not forget the legacy of George W. Bush, whose middle initial practically stood for "Watch This Drive."

As we saw with "Obamacare's" individual insurance mandate, when a Democrat starts governing based on Republican ideas, Republicans act as if they'd never heard of such an outrage.

But of course, Rothfus isn't actually running for President. So it's sort of a mystery as to why he's bringing it up. What's more, from what I can tell, his lack of golf skill is the ad's only evidence of his "regular-guy" credentials. Maybe that's all that was left after his first ad, which touted his ability to mow lawns, drop kids off at school and fix bicycles. Maybe these behaviors, along with not-golfing, exhaust Rothfus' repertoire of convincingly human behavior. If his next ad says something like "Once Keith Rothfus fastens his mandibles on a Doberman, he can exsanguinate it in under 5 minutes," we'll know the "regular guy" pitch has pretty much run its course.

But that's not the only danger of this approach. After all, if not-golfing is part of what makes Keith Rothfus "regular," does that mean he thinks there's something wrong with those who golf avidly? Is he suggesting that people who golf a lot are out of touch with the concerns of "regular" people, and shouldn't be trusted with positions of leadership? 'Cause if so, he's really at risk for alienating his party's base. Not to mention a few campaign contributors.

I mean, what next? Keith Rothfus asserting that there's something a little "off" about people who have nothing better to do than stand around Planned Parenthood clinics, holding pictures of bloody fetuses? Maybe we'll soon be treated to an ad in which Keith Rothfus looks at the camera and says, "You know, there's just something ... pathological ... about a billionaire wanting to make even more money by cutting the capital gains tax."

Of course, there's nothing new about Republicans campaigning as anti-elitists ... and then bowing and scraping to the privileged once they get into office. If that's Rothfus' goal, he better hope this gamble pays off. Because after this ad, not too many rich guys are going to want him as their caddy.

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