Drunk Politics 101

John Schlimm Contributor
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Can you hear the clock ticking?  You can if you’re a candidate.

While most of the general public isn’t even aware that November 2nd has any significant, life-altering meaning, just about every campaign staff across the country is embroiled in an anguishing debate at the moment:  What dog and pony show will ensure our candidate stands out in this mid-term campaign?

This is the point when I lean in and offer, “I have the answer for you!”

“Really, what is it?” They ask in anticipation.


Let’s go back to 2008 for a little sudsy refresher course.  It was a year known for many historic achievements on the campaign trail, but perhaps the biggest coup that year belongs to my dear friend, the Golden Rock Star (as I like to call beer).  It was the year beer became the ultimate running mate on the campaign trail.  Forget kissing babies and all that other old fashioned (and potentially contagious) stuff.  Beer became the new baby.  Talk about a game changer.

The primo photo-op for every candidate who wanted to bring their egos back down to earth for a moment and woo working class folks:  Find a bar, buy a round, and chug away.

Hillary did it a couple times that year, most notably with that whiskey shot and beer chaser.  Bottoms Up, Girl!  Barack, on the other hand, sipped his beer (A little too refined for some, but, hey, it worked!) and he wasn’t quite sure how to pronounce Yuengling (Tsk. Tsk.).  And, lest we forget, John McCain just happened to be married to one of the country’s wealthiest beer heiresses, Cindy Hensley McCain (He should have tapped into that resource a little more).

Now it’s 2010 and beer is once more up for the challenge.

All you CANDIDATES and CAMPAIGN MANAGERS throughout this great nation of ours, consider the sheer embarrassment of riches beer has to offer you:

One. Instant name recognition around the world for more than 7,000 years.  Nothing says “Main Street” or “international diplomacy” like an ice cold one.

Two. Beer has millions of die-hard fans across every voting demographic, from the dirt road to the Park Avenue crowds.

Three. It appears regularly at bars, restaurants, ballparks, frat houses, picnics, La-Z-Boy recliners, card clubs, camp fires, quilting bees, and some funerals (at least if you’re in my family) 24/7 with no need for an entourage.  (It even has its own patron saints, for heaven’s sake!)

Four. Beer can be very, very persuasive after a while, getting voters to do just about anything.  Public opinion is on beer’s side.  Polls asking voters which presidential candidate they’d rather have a beer with have proved prophetic in the past.

If beer helps in presidential elections, let your mind run wild with what it could accomplish this year in a mid-term election for the House, the Senate, governor, mayor, county commissioner, dog catcher, you name it!  Beer can even make a race for tax collector look fun.

Five. Beer comes with the mother load of endorsements: Patrick Henry, Thomas Jefferson, Samuel Adams, and James Madison were all fans.

Jefferson had his own private brew house, and George Washington had his own brewery.  Teddy Roosevelt took it with him on African safaris.  The pilgrims even stocked up on beer before cruising the ocean blue on the Mayflower.  It’s even believed that Jesus turned that water into beer, not wine.

And the crème de la crème — Abe Lincoln’s endorsement of beer: “I am a firm believer in the people…The great point is to bring them the real facts, and beer.”  BOO-YAH!

Just kick back a moment and picture your campaign trail paved with pure liquid gold.  Ahhhhhhh.  Beautiful, isn’t it?

So, my fellow political junkies, who’s going to extend a hand across the keg to voters and put the Golden Rock Star to good use this fall?  Make plans now, because time is running out!

For starters, any one of you can begin at one end of your town, county, or state, and work your way back and forth, up and down, visiting one microbrewery and dive bar after another.

Next, if you really want to polish off your opponent from the get-go, then pimp-out your campaign ride by putting some of those campaign funds to really good use.  Turn the luggage compartment of your bus into a traveling bar with the tap sprouting right out of the side, ala the Eternal Tap.  (BTW, eco-friendly cups with your campaign logo would be a nice touch.  Details, details!)

Don’t waste another minute.  Whether you have the oldest brewery in the country right in your backyard or the hottest new microbrew, work with what you have!  Only don’t make the same mistake Candidate Obama did, be sure you know how to pronounce your local brew correctly (i.e., “Ying-Ling”).

Oh, and all you Tea Partiers, no one ever said those tea cups had to be filled with tea!

CANDIDATES and CAMPAIGN MANAGERS, you have been forewarned and duly advised: While “It’s the economy, Stupid!” still holds true, in this year of endless neck-and-neck races, the only neck any of you should be focused on is the frosted bottleneck in your hand as you offer the ultimate reason to thirsty voters for checking your name at the ballot box.

John Schlimm is a member of one of the oldest brewing families in the United States, meaning he sees life through sudsy, gold-colored glasses. A former celebrity publicist, educator, and artist, John is the award-winning author of several books, including his latest, Harrah’s Entertainment Presents…The Seven Stars Cookbook as well as The Ultimate Beer Lover’s Cookbook (named “Best Beer Book in the U.S.” and “Best Beer Book in the World” by the international Gourmand Awards).