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McAdams On: Beer Diplomacy

There was no end to the news this week that the President of the United States intended to drink a brewski with his buddy and the cop who arrested him. The event could launch a new age of beer diplomacy. A new cabinet could be formed, headed up by the Secretary of Beer, whose duties would include explaining why the U.S. Commander in Chief was stocked up on foreign-owned brews.

Obama’s choice of Belgium-based Budweiser fired up a slew of reaction from American brewers, who thought the chief executive ought to down a domestic ale, like Sam Adams, made in Massachusetts. Sam Adams CEO told NPR he would’ve made a special brew for the White House, had anyone bothered to ask. He was drinking a beer at the time.
Beer is what people do on Friday afternoon, at baseball games and in fraternity houses. It’s the ages old institution of chilling out.

Ancient Sumerians, exhausted after a day of inventing the alphabet, had a beer. Visigoths quaffed large metallic tankards of lager after whupping some Roman keister. So why it hasn’t occurred to modern-day leaders to break out the icy cold ones before there’s a war is anyone’s guess. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton should be dispatched around the world in a beer truck. Obama should carry around a six-pack cooler everywhere.
China is worried about the devaluation of the dollar. We say, “C’mon. Have a beer. How about those Cubs?” Kim Jong-Il has an episode? Apply beer. Hugo Chavez? Beer. Vladimir Putin? Many, many beers.

The President, having unleashed the blockbuster beer summit, is surprised by the attention. It’s not a summit, he told the press pool. It’s guys drinking beer. Perhaps that’s the case, but the guys in question include a Harvard professor and the guy who arrested him on the professor’s own front porch. And the President of the United States--supposedly not talking about racism. They ought to be made to sit right there at that picnic table and drink beer until they do talk about it. Then catch a cab home.