President Barack Obama brewed his own beer in the White House. Franklin Roosevelt stayed up late with Churchill, slugging brandy and smoking cigars. A monkey poured bootleg booze all over Warren Harding’s white suit at a party in the midst of Prohibition. American political history is truly loaded to the gills with stories like these.
Choosing a candidate based on whether or not you’d like to have a beer with him or her is an evergreen populist test for electability. Thus Hammond Mayor and Democratic Senate candidate Tom McDermott’s decision to show himself sharing a joint with supporters in a campaign ad can be understood as just the latest incarnation of a long-standing political tradition in which those who seek our favor do so through their willingness to get high in public.