Billigans

Tonight, I caught a few minutes of an interview Tim Russert did with Don Van Natta, author of a book about presidents and golf called First Off the Tee. Russert played an old interview of Bill Clinton on Meet the Press in which he asked the then-president how many mulligans (do-over shots) he took in an average round. Clinton, looking shiftier than even at the height of the Monica affair, replied “one.” However, Van Natta told Russert that when he played golf with Clinton, Slick Willie took at least 100 mulligans (it took the two of them six hours to complete the round). Clinton did this even though he knew that Van Natta was golfing with him for the primary purpose of counting his mulligans.
According to Van Natta, one of Clinton’s preferred tactics is to take “practice shots” after his first shot. He then asks his playing partners which ball was his first shot. Invariably, they tell him it’s the ball closest to the green. I suppose it depends on what the meaning of “first” is.
Van Natta, a New York Times reporter, attributed Clinton’s cheating to his obsession with John Kennedy. JFK could shoot 80 (it is said), and Van Natta claims that Clinton was desperate to match Kennedy. This seems like spin to me. I think the better explanation is that, JFK or no JFK, Clinton is pathologically dishonest.

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