One of the more successful initiatives in the Obama administration came when President Obama, in response to a contretemps between a citizen and a policeman, invited the two together for beers। The players were Henry Louis Gates Jr, a Harvard professor and race-relations expert, and James Crowley, a police sergeant who chanced to be on the scene. Sergeant Crowley controversially arrested Mr. Gates, thinking he was an intruder. However, the incident was construed by some, including the arrestee, as a racial incident.
President Barack Obama hoped that the occasion of having the two fellows over to drink some beers would promote more interracial harmony.As a good host, he asked the guest their beer preferences. Professor Gates requested Red Stripe, Sergeant Crowley preferred Blue Moon, and President Obama went with Bud Lite.
Apparently, all got along famously; and this could have provided a creative model for constructive political problem solving. For example, would the budget crisis have gotten so bad if Barack Obama and John Boener spent the afternoon with a few beers? Now I'm not suggesting that either or both should drink too much, just mellow out and get things in perspective. What thanks did the President get for his effort? Well, according to the Wall Street Journal, he got criticism from some because he didn't have the participants drink American beer brands! Red Stripe is Jamaican, Blue Moon is Belgian, and Bud Lite is owned by a Belgian consortium. Somehow, I think the critics missed the point.
Anyway, there's a larger issue at hand. Some of us with conservative leanings worry about the systematic erosion of of liberties due to an all-grasping and controlling government and other instititions. What can be more fundamental than the right of a man (even a President) to drink his preferred beer in the privacy of his own home?
Another musing: Suppose Mitt Romney were to be President, and needed to have a beer summit with Harry Reid. Could this possibly be a good choice for the occasion?