The Beer Summit of 2009 is tonight at the White House.
The Daily Beast has a photo gallery of past Presidential beer drinking.
John Dickerson in Slate:
There is a rich history of beer at the White House. George Washington drank it after battle. Thomas Jefferson brewed it at Monticello. During Prohibition, “Beer for Prosperity” was the cry of those who saw repeal as a way to create jobs and raise taxes, and Franklin Roosevelt ran on that platform. At the 1932 Democratic National Convention, he pledged to end dry laws “just as fast as the Lord will let us authorize the manufacture and sale of beer.” Eric Felten, author of How’s Your Drink, says that when that happened, breweries delivered their first batches to the White House, where Eleanor Roosevelt had promised to have the newly legal beer served.
During Nixon’s first term, when political aide Chuck Colson was courting the Teamsters union, he invited a host of members for lunch in the White House mess. They ordered beer with their Mexican food and were served Michelob, which happened to be distributed by nonunion labor. Thirst triumphed over politics, however, and everyone imbibed.
In entertaining Gates and Crowley, Obama will probably not be able to match Lyndon Johnson, who also used beer to break the ice in tense situations. Johnson used to take reporters on “speed and beer” drives on his ranch. He’d pop some cold ones and race off into the dust of the ranch. Obama can’t do this, obviously—as spacious as the White House grounds are, they’re no LBJ ranch—but even if he tried, Crowley would have to arrest him. And that’s how this mess started in the first place.
Patrick Gavin in Politico:
As Washington — as only Washington can — turns what would otherwise be a gathering over beers among men into a highly scrutinized summit, several beer companies are using the occasion to make the case for their own products and why their beers should be downed this evening.
“Yuengling is proud to be recognized as America’s Oldest Brewery,” a company spokesman told POLITICO. “Family owned and operated since 1829, we’ve been a part of conflict resolution for over 180 years!”
A rep for Sierra Nevada said: “We believe that we are the perfect fit for the matter at hand, and a great choice to represent and facilitate the resilience and understanding of the American people. Sierra Nevada [can] reinforce the idea that whether black or white, rich or poor, we are all first and foremost Americans. American citizens should support American beer.
Think global, drink local.”
I now officially regret having voted for the President. First, no movement on DADT. Second, bailing out the very people who brought the global economy down. Third, criminally not pushing for an NHS style socialized medicine for the United States. (OK, I am angry about the first, moderately miffed about the second, and employing a sense of humor about the third — although one of the best things about living in the UK is the NHS.)But this is too much. Bud Light? What the hell are you thinking, man?
If you have to prove you’re down with the folk, go for Busch, full on Bud, Old Milwaukee, or in a wink to hipsters everywhere, PBR. But Bud freaking Light?The NYT has an interesting, even entertaining analysis of this debacle, and correctly points out that the Blue Moon has no craft beer cred.
Michael Warren at The Corner:
Blue Moon has an unwarranted reputation for being less manly than your average brew, but leave it to Crowley, the tough cop, to blast that stigma to pieces. Red Stripe is a Jamaican import, which sort of clashes with the patriotic theme of the beer summit. Obama’s decision to have a Bud Light reminds me of Clinton-era polling. Could the president have picked a more middle-of-the-road, poll-tested, non-controversial beer? All in the name of unity, I suppose.
Chris Good at The Atlantic:
Earlier this week, Daily Show “Senior Black Correspondent” Larry Wilmore said, “Alcohol…that’ll end well. Hey, Obama, booze isn’t how you resolve a racial incident, it’s how you start one.” MSNBC’s Domenico Montenaro wondered why they’re not drinking Sam Adams; NBC called it “what may be the most anticipated beer ever.” Too bad there aren’t any polls on it…wait, SFGate’s Zennie62 took one online (“other” was the preferred brew, beating out Pabst, Budweiser, Miller, and Sapporo).
Charles Johnson at LGF:
I hope the President has arranged designated drivers for Gates and Crowley. Wouldn’t want anyone ending up with a DUI after this.
James Matthews Wilson at Front Porch:
Ignoring the many other amusing thoughts that froth up from this story, I would just like to observe how racist and classist it is of our President to invite a white Boston cop over for a beer. Why?! Because he’s a blue collar in Cambridge, rather than a white collar meritocrat? Is our President so blinded by bigotry that he cannot understand police officers are capable of taking pleasure in the same deracinated delectations as the Starbucks and Soy chomping, Thai basil sniffing, California roll chop-sticking, rissotto-insty-pack boiling, advanced-degree holders of our technocracy?
Now, had old George W. Bush made the invitation, we’d know it was sincere. He once asked reporters gathered outside his Crawford ranch if they’d be more comfortable back in air conditioning, savouring their “brie and cheese.” Pleonasms are the soul of authenticity.
Andy Borowitz at HuffPo:
The arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates and the ensuing controversy have now officially “jumped the shark,” shark-jumping experts said today.
Tracy Klugian, an expert who tracks when real-life events jump the shark, said that the Gates case threatened to do so for most of last week but now “it has totally jumped.”
“At first, many of us suspected that the Gates case had jumped the shark when President Obama invited Gates and the cop to the White House for beer,” Mr. Klugian said. “But now I would pinpoint the moment of shark-jumping as when the 911 caller hired a lawyer and gave a press conference.”
UPDATE: Henry Louis Gates at The Root
David Frum at New Majority