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Good morning, all,

I’ve always thought the beer buddy threshold was nonsense. Still, it’s worth considering what a White House without a tippling tenant would be like. Sobriety, laudable in many respects, does imply rigidity of thought. The best presidents were open-minded, and generally open to a drink. The nondrinkers, at least over the last century or so, were terrible presidents. - Timothy Egan, The New York Times

Whatever your preferred libation - I myself vote for an espresso as I watch the sun rise in the morning (as I'm doing now) and a glass of red wine as I watch it go down at the end of the day - the The Wrath of Grapes, is a sober (no pun intended) and thought-provoking assessment of the success/failure of American Presidents based on their proclivity or opposition to...ahem...shall we just call it Drinking?

At first I thought it was merely an amusing analysis, and then I started to think about it. Although it might be a tad bit of an exaggeration (What, me exaggerate? Never!), often a certain degree of creativity or thinking outside of the box does seem to go hand-in-hand with having...how shall I say it?...an appetite for pleasure, and for those I know who do enjoy wine, well, they always refer to it as one of life's great pleasures.

Speaking personally, I cannot imagine my life without my evening ritual of pouring my husband a glass of wine while I fix dinner, or him having one ready for me when I return from a dance class or Pillates if he is the one fixing dinner.

So, lest you, too, think the article merely amusing, without an alcohol's grain of truth to it, think about this: According to Daniel Okrent, author of “Last Call,” Herbert Hoover once had a large wine cellar. His wife gave it all away before Hoover’s disastrous single term. Hmmm.

I wish you all the very best of Tuesdays, enhanced and saluted by your favorite "pour" at the end of the day, even if it's tea!

Cheers,
Giselle
The best presidents were open-minded, and generally open to a drink. The nondrinkers, at least over the last century or so, were terrible presidents.
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Gary Stockton's profile photoMatthew Graybosch's profile photoGiselle Minoli's profile photoDavid Clark's profile photo
18 comments
 
An endorsement for modest indulgences, then... < winking >
 
+Giselle Minoli Morning :O) I'm with you on the Sun rising espresso and a bit of grape watching it go down again ;)
 
Good morning +Giselle Minoli and thanks for the entertaining article. I also can't imagine life without the ritual of wine shared with my wife each night. But what I really can't imagine is prohibition... what were those people thinking??
 
+Brian Titus I think one of the messages I got out of Ken Burns' PBS series on Prohibition is: Be careful what you wish for -- because you won't know what it entails. Alcoholism was a very significant problem at one point in U.S. history, but Prohibition was a "cure" that had unrecognized, deadly costs. Then, as now, when political positions argue for "extreme" solutions, be afraid. Be very afraid.
 
Denial denial denial +Brian Titus. Ban the stuff...and then one doesn't have to be in control of oneself. And absolutely +William McGarvey Be afraid, be very, very, very afraid of extreme solutions. Repression, denial...it all leads down the same slippery slope, everything pushed under the rug eventually grows into a White Elephant in the middle of the room.

Adding this on after the fact: when I lived in San Francisco I met the son of a couple who'd led a rather wild, free-loving hippyish life in California during the 60s. The son was rather straight-laced compared to his parents and in a casual conversation one night at dinner I asked him why he "seemed" so different than his parents. He said that they were very open and accepting people and that, within a certain framework, anything was permissible, such that there really wasn't anything to rebel against...so he didn't. Loved his parents. I remember wondering if their "wisdom" in raising him was intentional (conscious) or accidental. Never got the answer to that, but I've never forgotten his response.
 
Moderation is the distance between the arcs of tippng glasses. Finding that sweet spot is the plight of humaness. Can the quality of a presidency be prognosticated by abstinence or overindulgence? Many dark secrets have been sealed in the oval office. Would you prefer a president who limited their drinking to one or two per day or one with a cast iron belly who can drink their counterparts under the table? Wouldn't it be fun to settle trade disputes with a game of beer pong? I suppose I would draw the line at jello shots.
 
Speaking as an American--- this is so very American.

In fact, it's possible the attitude towards drinking in a President is as important as the drinking itself.

I've been fortunate enough to have travelled through several countries from northern Europe south to northern Africa, from islands in the eastern Atlantic to the Persian Gulf.

With the exception of the Muslim nations with mullahs (call it direct religious involvement in political-power), I have never run into a nation or culture that treats alcohol the way we do.

In Spain, Italy (and Sicily*), Greece, France, Sweden, Iceland, Germany, England (the latter four DESPITE the influence of assorted temperance loving religious movements) - and a half a dozen other countries- having a glass of wine or a beer- or a brandy- just isn't a big enough deal to even notice. The thought processes that go into even considering drinking as "bad" are absent. (and, many argue, the level of alcoholism defined as damaging-to-quality-of-life is lower)
 
That's a great tip Giselle, pardon the pun. We were lucky to catch a talk at the Ronald Reagan Museum one night with Chris Matthews a few years ago where he spoke about the strong friendship Ronald Reagan developed with then house speaker Tip O'Neil. Matthews had apparently worked for. Chris walked Nancy Reagan into the room, it was very rare public appearance. Chris told us many anecdotes on Reagan, and made it clear, Reagan was very much of the mind that everyone was friends after 6. How sad those days are over in politics today.

Also, I was surprised to learn of how George Washington's whisky distillery (http://www.mountvernon.org/visit-his-estate/plan-your-visit/distillery-amp-gristmill) was unearthed, and then hushed by the government years ago when the burning remains were discovered on his farm near Mt Vernon. Apparently it was a Scott who talked President Washington into the whiskey business, and once he saw how quickly the stuff sold, he ramped up production, made a lot of money on it. The distillery was rebuilt a few years ago, and it was impressive to see it all working, the vats were scolding hot, and the guy who worked there told us that he has many people who put their hands in there. I guess we are so used to seeing fake everything, it would be hard to imagine a steaming distillery as being real (wink).

Personally speaking though, I do love a cold glass of beer after work, preferably Samuel Adams or the odd Guinness, but I have been known to drink Heineken, and the odd glass of wine. Unfortunately, my acid reflux doesn't agree with the stuff, but I do love it.

It's always nice to see a new post Giselle, Cheers!
 
Considering that George W. Bush is a recovering alcoholic, who probably never touched the stuff while President, I wouldn't be surprised if there was something to Timothy Egan's article.
 
Well, +Gary S Hart the extremes of anything can be frightening. I don't have a problem with Jimmy Carter not drinking. But perhaps his difficulties as President stemmed, in part and deeply unconsciously, from foisting what he believed on others and therefore he was out of touch? The White House, after all, wasn't his house. Somewhat disturbingly, Teddy Kennedy might very well have been disconsolate at not being allowed a drinkypooh in the White House parlor. Carter wasn't a good Presidential driver and Kennedy's driving killed a woman.

As for Bush, Jr. he always seemed to me to behave like a dry drunk. He might well have given up the spirits, but the spirit of the spirits imbued him long after he stopped with considerable anger.

Extremism is trouble and troubling.
 
+Christof Harper it's easy to forget, isn't it, that we are a very young country comparably. We have a lot to learn. Extremism leads to repression and repression leads to obsession and obsession leads to, well...trouble in river city...
 
Sorry it's taken me so long to get back to this...Yikes...long day. +Matthew Graybosch Dubbyah, to me, is the epitome of a repressed extremist. Alcoholic, yes. Recovered? Hardly. What a mess he made.
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