Drunk on power?

As an unrepentant lover of puns, I would have noted this piece in The New York Times just for its headline: “The Wrath of Grapes.”

It’s a provocative examination of whether a president’s attitude toward the consumption of alcoholic beverages has any bearing on his success in office. Some cases in point: Jimmy Carter, Herbert Hoover, William Howard Taft and George W. Bush, all abstainers (at least while in office, in that latter case); George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and FDR, all fond of their drink.

“Franklin D. Roosevelt was a martini drinker, much to Eleanor’s displeasure, and an extraordinary president,” Timothy Egan writes. “Again, was there a connection? Solving a Great Depression and crushing the Nazi war machine — aided by the oft-besotted Winston Churchill — is a pretty strong brief.

“In his younger days, F.D.R. knew how to plan ahead. He had four cases of Old Reserve delivered to his town house on East 65th Street just before Prohibition went into effect.”

Mitt Romney’s faith prohibits drinking alcohol; in 2009, Barack Obama held a Beer Summit with Henry Louis Gates Jr. and police Sgt. James Crowley. Does any of this have any bearing on the upcoming presidential election? Probably not. Then again, people have certainly been known to base their votes on dumber factors.

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The Bourbon Babe

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