There’s drinking at the White House again as President Obama has brought back the cocktail party that was missing during the Bush Era.
President Bush did not serve alcohol at the White House because of his religious beliefs. That is changing as the Obama Era begins.
On January 28 Obama sent out invites to Congressional leaders for drinks at the Red, Blue and Green Rooms of the White House.
Obama has been compared to the Kennedy and Roosevelt administrations. I doubt that those comparisons had anything to do with what was in the liquor cabinet but both of the former presidents enjoyed socializing.
Slate reports on Roosevelt’s martini times in the Oval Office.
“He mixed the ingredients,” recalled author Robert Sherwood, “with the deliberation of an alchemist but with what appeared to be a certain lack of precision since he carried on a steady conversation while doing it.”
Kennedy wasn’t a big drinker but there were many cocktail parties in the White House during his time there. What was most important during these get-togethers was the business that was completed because of the more relaxed atmosphere.
“Every party had at least a few senators or cabinet officials and a few big-time press people. It was all off the record and a lot of business got done,” Fred Harris, a former Democratic senator from Oklahoma, recounted to me. “The war on poverty and federal aid to education and civil rights, we hadn’t had yet the urban riots and the war in Vietnam was no bigger than a man’s hand. There were new and exciting programs and new and exciting people.”
Richard Nixon though shows how drinking at the White House may not be the best idea. Having some of the press over for cocktails when a president is overindulging is never a wise move.
As for Obama the Wednesday night cocktail party is just the beginning. Tonight he is hosting some Democrats and Republicans over to enjoy the Superbowl. There is no word as to who is on and who is not on the list.
Let’s hope it’s tamer than Congress.