So America has a new, or actually the same old, president, elected by very, very slightly more than fifty per cent of the country’s voters. Democracy! “The worst form of government except for all the others that have been tried,” - Winston Churchill.
Shortly before the election Barak Obama was seen in public with a beer in his hand, not for the first time, but since it was in a sports bar in Orlando and he seems to have been surrounded by children you have to assume it was a carefully thought out photo op. Also in the picture below it does look as though he might be lunging for somebody else’s beer, but surely that can’t be the case.
Today’s politicians seek the popular touch whether it’s natural to them or not. Ronald Reagan, embracing his Irish ancestry, seems to have been photographed in any number of bars, looking like he’s actually enjoying it, though he was, of course, an actor.
But sometimes the populism can go too far. Is there really any need for a president to be seen bottle of Bud in hand with his arm around some sweaty tattooed bare-chested guy?
I think we can safely say that FDR wouldn’t have done it. Equally I think we can safely say that today’s electorate would never choose a man who smoked using a cigarette holder.
In Britain we tend to assume that most of our leaders are boozed up most of the time, and in the case of Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher it was a pretty fair assumption. Even Tony Blair admitted he used alcohol as a “prop.” This was one of the few things that made him likeable.
The reason we like drinking politicians? Because it makes us feel they’re just like us. And that’s one of the reasons David Cameron is so thoroughly despised. He’s regularly seen with a pint of beer in hand, trying and completely failing to establish that he’s one of the lads. We know he doesn’t mean it. We know he’s not one of us, and everyone would be much happier if he just admitted it.