Alcohol

Wet Vs. Dry Leaders

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Ron Hart notes in a recent column about Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama:

It was revealed by [Al] Gore only recently that Bill Clinton does not drink. This is troubling to me as it means he was stone sober when he hit on Paula Jones.

So in summary, here are the leaders who do not drink: Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden, all al-Qaida leaders, Hitler, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter.

By contrast, here are leaders known to drink: Winston Churchill, Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin, Ronald Reagan, Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Jeb Bush and Jesus.

There's at least a few of things wrong with the above (and that's not including the vague implication that if Clinton had been soused, he might have deserved a pass on the Paula Jones incident): Nixon famously boozed it up during his tough times in the White House (though in his defense, wouldn't you need to be drunk before talking to Brit PM Edward Heath?). And, when it comes to political leadership, it's not clear that Man from Galilee had more control over his apostles than, say, another J.C. had over Hamilton Jordan. And if Clinton didn't get his gin-blossoming, W.C. Fieldsesque schnozz from gin, where they hell is it coming from? But the main point is well-taken nonetheless; we all want a leader who can relax with an occasional beer. Or in the case of Winston Churchill, the continuous "Papa Cocktail."

Whole story here.

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  1. And if Clinton didn’t get his gin-blossoming, W.C. Fieldsesque schnozz from gin, where the hell is it coming from?

    Rosacea.

  2. This is troubling to me as it means he was stone sober when he hit on Paula Jones.

    This is troubling to me as it means he was sober when he hit on Hilary Rodham.

    But that says nothing about the women’s sobriety.

  3. Kinda worthless post. Wouldn’t a more interesting angle be to discuss the teetotalers who constantly advertise and moralize about their decision to give up the sauce versus those who just quietly gave it up? I’m just trying to punch things up a bit.

  4. Conservative Christians just don’t get it! Jesus drank wine for precisely the same reasons we drink wine today: to bond socially with those close to him. Jesus apparently didn’t hit on women [or men] when drunk. There is no indication that he ever drank to excess or did other stupid things under the influence [although Peter’s rash severing of the ear might have been alcohol related].
    Obviously, alcohol and other drugs are not “mind altering”. They never changed Jesus’ inherent nature nor of any person we know about. Alcohol and other drugs seem to be a favorite scapegoat for criminal behaviors as is the bad behaviors of others surrounding miscreants: “He made me crazy”. We should have a lot less tolerance of bad behaviors accredited to drugs like alcohol and emphasize personal responsibility. Once we stop treating drunken sex any differently than sober sex, people might start thinking differently once they come under the influence.

  5. Does anybody really believe that bon vivant Bill Clinton, with his rather well documented impulse control issues and hedonistic leanings, is a teetotaler?

  6. “the vague implication that if Clinton had been soused, he might have deserved a pass on the Paula Jones incident”

    Nick,

    It’s an “ugly chick” joke.

    Chill.

  7. Saddam didn’t drink? Really? He had a pretty swanky Scotch collection or a guy who didn’t drink.

    Of course, the statement “Saddam *does* not drink is literally true, and had been for the last month or so.

  8. Remember when Clinton was staying at Greg Norman’s house and hurt his knee or ankle in a late night fall? All of his minions rushed out to advise the world that he had not been drinking, which of course caused everyone to suspect that he was well and truly pickled. I doubt the guy is a roundhouse drunk, but I bet he has drink now and then.

  9. Also, most biographers say Reagan wasn’t much of a drinker. Probably a glass of champagne at formal dinners and a beer (read: ONE) with the guys every now and then. Why? His dad was the town drunk of Dixon, Ill. As a boy, Ronald once had to drag him into the house after he passed out on the porch.

  10. sean:

    I always thought he was stoned at the time.

    Same idea – the protests of his myrmidons encouraged that line of though…

    Go Bears!

  11. If Al Gore said it, it can’t be true.

  12. I thought Saddam-like many Muslim elites-was a wine drinker.

  13. This thread is begging for a link to here. Which of course begs for an explanation of why this article is no longer available on Reason.com.

  14. Saddam Hussein drank, for sure. Whisky and cognac.

    But the whole article’s a bit of a hack job – any excuse to slash at Clinton and Carter again. Or, more unpleasantly, to imply that those famously-teetotal Muslims are all untrustworthy and not worthy of leadership.

    Genghis Khan, Caligula, Nero, Kim Il Sung, Stalin, Mao Zedong, Tojo and Mussolini all drank; the Dalai Lama and Mahatma Gandhi were teetotallers.

    A more telling test would be – which leaders drank to excess? That rules out Churchill, who was never incapably drunk, but brings in W and a lot of the tyrants…

  15. Great article Nick.

    BTW, my grandfather, the Mean Old White Man, never drank at all and his nose looked just like WC Fields. He coulda used a drink now and then too.

    This is troubling to me as it means he was sober when he hit on Hilary Rodham.

    I love talking trash about Hillary but I’m also interested when people claim that Hillary barks and chases cars. For Christ’s sake guys she’s gotta be pushing sixty years old, she’s just not going to be posting at Suicide Girls.

    Disclaimer: Aside from Boxer and Meathead I can’t think of another human being higher on my list of people I don’t like.

  16. I was going to make a vague reference to those who should be dispatched when the Night of the Long Knives comes, but I’m way too worried about getting a visit from the Secret Service. I don’t think they would realize it was hyperbole. Besides, I meant dispatched to Leavenworth.

  17. Jesus drank and Ronald Reagan drank, but as Camus said, a weak heel makes no man an Achiles. With or without the sauce, Reagan was a moron.

  18. Jimmy Carter drank in his heart.

  19. “For John came neither eating nor drinking; and they say: He hath a devil. The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say: Behold a man that is a glutton and a wine drinker, a friend of publicans and sinners.”

    The moral: You can’t win no matter what you do.

  20. I think it means Bill didn’t drink with Gore.

    Though I never remember him drinking, He was known for partying as the Gov.

  21. Jimmy Carter did repeal the federal laws against homebrewing, though, so I’ll always be a bit fond of him.

  22. Aside from Boxer and Meathead I can’t think of another human being higher on my list of people I don’t like.

    I assume you mean Babs Boxer, The Most Evil Woman In America? She’s far worse than Hillary. The most loathsome creature ever spawned from hell itself. Perhaps I exaggerate.

  23. ed, It isn’t possible to exaggerate how loathsome Babs Boxer is. The English language is far too limiting to do so.

    Edward, I was kind of fond of Ronnie Rayguns ZAP!

    Lessee, a balancing test:

    In my right hand I hold GWB, in my left, Ronnie.

    Can’t get the visual right on this one but you get the picture.

  24. ed, it was only by accident that I got to the Evil Woman video, that’s great.

  25. Thanks. I’m subtle.

  26. A more telling test would be – which leaders drank to excess? That rules out Churchill, who was never incapably drunk, but brings in W and a lot of the tyrants…

    Uh, ajay, W’s been clean and sober since, oh, 1988, so he hasn’t “drank to excess” since before he was Governor of Texas.

    Unless you’re taking the position of “once a drunk, always a drunk”, which is one that I would associate more with grim-faced Puritains.

  27. “Uh, ajay, W’s been clean and sober since, oh, 1988, so he hasn’t “drank to excess” since before he was Governor of Texas.”

    Just curious, but where do you get your info for this claim? I was in Spain in 2002/2003 and read several articles in El Pais and El Mundo in which Bush was described as relaxing with Aznar over beers as they bragged about the invasion of Iraq. Just thought I’d mention that.

  28. Hitler was not a teetotaler. He didn’t really like liquor, but if the occasion demanded it, he would have a token drink with everyone else, because he was above all a politician.

    Remember that some people got upset that Reagan posed for a photo (that was bestowed as a souvenir) with a glass of wine, in a pose of toasting?

  29. Wasn’t George W. Bush drinking beer during the pretzel incident?

  30. Jimmy Carter drank in his heart.

    Meant to say, that’s a thread winner.

  31. Clinton sipped, but didn’t swallow.

    Narr

  32. Just curious, but where do you get your info for this claim? I was in Spain in 2002/2003 and read several articles in El Pais and El Mundo in which Bush was described as relaxing with Aznar over beers as they bragged about the invasion of Iraq. Just thought I’d mention that.

    Wasn’t George W. Bush drinking beer during the pretzel incident?

    So, drinking a few beers is now “drinking to excess”?

    My understanding is that George Bush gave up the booze completely in 1988. I might have misinterpreted that as having given up all alcohol, when instead he actually gave up heavy drinking.

    Still, my original point stands: If some consider George Bush to be “drinking to excess” because he relaxes with beer, that’s pretty Puritanical.

  33. Penn & Teller don’t drink.

  34. Incredibly. Pointless. Post.

    Ranks in accuracy and importance up there with celebrity profiles. Feeling no guilt that I let my subscription lapse.

  35. “So, drinking a few beers is now “drinking to excess”?”

    Nope, Cap’n. You made it a point to clarify Bush as “clean and sober.” (your words)

    I have never been to an A.A. meeting. Both my parents were A.A. addicts. I can’t remember anyone affiliated with their chapters ever using the money phrase “clean and sober” to mean anything but “not drinking alcohol at all.” I wish it were otherwise, but the cult encourages them all to begin flagellating themselves if they have one drink.

    Stop moving the goalposts mid-kick.

  36. Stop moving the goalposts mid-kick.

    Quit pretending what ajay said was accurate.

    Let’s review:

    ajay claimed George Bush “drank to excess”.

    I replied that he had been “clean and sober” since 1988.

    You said you read an article in Spain which claimed the President enjoyed a few beers with the Spanish president.

    I replied that might be true, but it’s hardly “drinking to excess”.

    You claim that since I originally said Bush was “clean and sober” (which was my understanding) I am now moving the goalposts.

    In summary: ajay was in effect calling George Bush a drunkard. If you have evidence that he is currently a drunkard, then show it. However, if you still think having a few beers is “drinking to excess” and evidence of alcoholism, then you’re the one moving the goalposts, not me.

    But I suspect that you only think that way when we’re talking about W; if it were any other politician, you’d consider moderate drinking with another world leader to be a positive thing.

  37. Actually Cap’n, I was responding to you and not Ajay. You overstated your point by tossing out the phrase “clean and sober,” Ajay be damned. And you suspected wrong about my views on this. Go back and retake Projection 101. It didn’t take.

    My view on this topic goes something like this:
    always be suspicious of anyone who loudly proclaims they belong to the sobriety cult

    How’s that? Who seems to fit into that category? Anyone who does, I tend to find at least a little obnoxious and creepy. I felt that way about my parents for years until they dispensed with that AA nonsense and just quietly stayed sober.

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