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A Good Time to Have a Beer


Perhaps intuiting an advantage lurking in the old adage that the candidate who prevails is the one with whom the electorate would most like to have a drink, in recent days President Obama has made it his business to make sure he is perceived as the Beer Candidate. Campaigning in Iowa, he mentioned the stuff at almost every stop: Out was his 2008 warning about candidates who “come around with TV crews in order to throw back a shot and a beer” in public. (Hello, Hillary!) In was discussion of the president’s own White House microbrewery, which produces “White House Honey Ale”; a craft beer that comes in light and dark and is in stock on the campaign bus, raising the amusing question of whether the President of the United States qualifies as a bootlegger.

Around Iowa and elsewhere, the president has been busy buying beers for supporters — he ostentatiously refused to buy one for a Romney backer, which may or may not have been a joke but made him look small either way — and has been greeted for his efforts with a chant of “Four More Beers!” When, in front of a microphone, Michelle asked him what he had eaten that day, he replied “a pork chop and a beer.” It is unlikely that his new found enthusiasm is an accident. Although the president’s affection for beer is genuine, it has been stepped up in recent weeks — no doubt in order to draw a contrast with Mitt Romney, who does not drink alcohol. This might be key in some states. A recent survey showed that independents are more likely recently to have drunk a beer than both registered Democrats and Republicans.

When Franklin Roosevelt signed the 21st Amendment in 1933, he is said to have remarked, “I think this would be a good time for a beer.” With a campaign apparently in disarray and a revitalized Romney camp, the current president most probably agrees with him.

UPDATE: I meant, of course, that the president signed the The Cullen-Harrison Act, not the 21st Amendment itself.