Staff Columnist

Beer, war and socialism in the Iowa caucuses

U.S Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) greets the overflow crowd before a roundtable discussion in Storm Lake, Iowa, U.S., January 5, 2019. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
U.S Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) greets the overflow crowd before a roundtable discussion in Storm Lake, Iowa, U.S., January 5, 2019. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

It’s about time we had a major presidential candidate who prefers light domestic beer.

U.S. Sen Elizabeth Warren — who visited Iowa last week to launch her presidential exploratory committee — was widely criticized after she was seen drinking beer on New Year’s Eve Instagram video. Naysayers accused the Massachusetts Democrat of pandering for cheap political points.

I, for one, welcome the Michelob Ultra drinker to the national political stage.

President Donald Trump says he has never had a drink. Barack Obama once visited a Budweiser stand at the Iowa State Fair and reportedly drank Bud Light during his famed “beer summit” in 2009, but he’s best remembered as a home-brewer after his administration published the recipe for White House Honey Ale. George W. Bush is said to have quit drinking in his 40s.

I admire the those who abstain and I don’t have anything against beer hobbyists, but Americans stand firmly with light brews. Non-premium beers dominate the list of the country’s most-consumed alcoholic beverages. Anheuser-Busch InBev, which makes Michelob Ultra, maintains nearly half the U.S. beer market, according to the National Beer Wholesalers Association.

To be clear, I don’t think anyone should care much about politicians’ drinking habits, but Warren’s brown bottle controversy is the product a more substantial issue. Critics cast politicians as radical elitists, even when there’s little evidence thereof. And it must be said that women in politics are unfairly slammed with such criticism more often than men in the same position.

I don’t plan to participate in the Democratic caucuses next year and I’m not sure if I could vote for Warren in a general election, but she is far preferable to several of her likely competitors. Presidential nominating contests dictate the direction of political parties. At a moment when activists and even some politicians are openly embracing socialism, conservatives and moderates should hope someone like Warren emerges victorious.

Last year, Warren said “I am a capitalist to my bones” to a gathering of New England business leaders, according to a State House News reporter covering the event. Even as she calls for more regulation and redistribution than I would prefer, she also understands the obvious value provided by markets and private property, something I can’t say of some other high-profile Democratic hopefuls.

On another key issue, Warren recently found common ground with Trump. During an interview this month on MSNBC, host Rachel Maddow tried to coax Warren into bashing the president’s move to withdraw troops from Syria and Afghanistan.

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Instead, Warren plainly said pulling troops out is the right move, even if she quibbles with Trump announcing his decision on Twitter.

“It is not working, and pretending that somehow in the future it is going to work ... it’s a form of fantasy that we simply can’t afford to continue to engage in,” Warren said.

So it turns out Warren is an avowed capitalist who shares Trump’s healthy skepticism of endless military adventurism, not the east coast leftist she’s often depicted as. I’ll happily raise my bottle to that.

• Comments: (319) 339-3156; adam.sullivan@thegazette.com

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