A Good Time to Have a Beer

by Charles C. W. Cooke

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.