Anne Kornblut of The New York Times looks at the lousy image that golf has acquired in Washington thanks to the Jack Abramoff scandal.
Golf is bad. The ominous warning can almost be heard echoing across the greens of the political establishment, where the game is not only a cherished pastime but has increasingly become a critical cog in the wheels of campaign financing and lobbying. Lavish political fund-raisers are built around golf tournaments. Fact-finding Congressional trips are tailored to cross paths with golf resorts. Candidates and their supporters spend tens of thousands of dollars on golfing costs each campaign cycle - more and more each year, it turns out - as part of the cost of doing political business.
But now, as the Abramoff ordeal in Washington unfolds, golf is acquiring the whiff of scandal, its exclusive fairways and cozy clubhouses redolent of an improper commerce between money and influence.
Until golf entered the picture, the ethics scandal surrounding Tom DeLay was hard for many to fathom. It involved complicated transactions between obscure political action committees.