Although I’m a DC-based blogger (well, technically DC metro-based as of recently – a fact I’m still getting used to), I’ve worked to steer clear of politics since The Hip Flask’s beginning. Some visitors are surprised to learn that much of life here doesn’t revolve around politics or politicking.
Unfortunately, DC’s unique status as our national capital sometimes results in politics being injected into the most random places. In this case, it’s beer. So while this post does discuss politics, it’s more about beer - or more specifically, the politicization of beer.
An article in Tuesday’s Washington Post led me to this conclusion, one titled “Obama plays up love of beer to ferment coalition of the swilling.” Now, I am admittedly not a fan of The Post on most days, which likely explains why (a) I only learned of this article this morning, and (b) I thought this article’s title was a particular groaner.*
The article explains the President’s use of beer (drinking and home brewing) to “connect with voters… the very voters that Obama and Romney are fighting over: middle-America independents.” So that humble beverage, the lowly pint of beer, has now become a tool with which to appear down to earth.
The Post’s story continues along this thread: “Political strategists have long applied a ‘Who would you rather have a beer with?’ test to contests as a shorthand for which candidate is more approachable… [However] discerning Obama’s true level of passion for beer is difficult, given that all his recent comments and purchases occurred at orchestrated campaign events.”
But it’s wrong to single out The Post regarding this beer-centric line of reporting; the President’s recent stop at the Iowa State Fair was covered by many news outlets. So I did a quick Google News search to see how popular this story was. As of about 9:30 am this morning (Thursday, August 16), an obama + beer search (no quotation marks) produced approximately 83,200 articles.
My point isn’t to criticize the media, or even the politicians themselves. No, it’s simply to lament the fact that another simple part of life, that common glass of beer enjoyed by so many folks – blue-collar, white-collar, whomever – is exploited as just another prop in the race for power. Sad really, but not that unexpected. Not in this town.
Is nothing sacred?
* Linked from the article was a series of photographs of the candidates stumping called ”Hoppy Days are Here Again.” Yuk, yuk, yuk, Washington Post.