Sunday, April 22, 2012

FDR liked his martinis

Timothy Egan makes the connection between consumption of adult beverages in the White House and the competency of the first resident.

Another Oval Office abstainer was William Howard Taft, who made such a mess of his single term that he came in third when he tried to get re-elected in 1912. Food was Taft’s vice; he ballooned to nearly 350 pounds at one point.
Franklin D. Roosevelt was a martini drinker, much to Eleanor’s displeasure, and an extraordinary president. 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.
Which brings us to the Great Experiment, 1920 to 1933, when fanatics outlawed an accepted public behavior that had existed since well before Jesus changed water into wine to keep a wedding party going at Cana. Prohibition, W. C. Fields recalled, was a time “when I was forced to live for days on nothing but food and water.”
According to Daniel Okrent, author of “Last Call,” Herbert Hoover once had a large wine cellar. His wife gave it all away before Hoover’s disastrous single term. Hmmm.
 The connection between Hoover, Carter, and Bush the younger is clear.

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