I had let my guard down earlier this week when I found myself feeling sorry for Ron DeSantis.
The Republican governor of Florida, DeSantis is currently campaigning to win his party’s nomination to run for president in 2024. It’s been noted (if only by me) that I would have a better chance at winning the Republican nomination unless we hear that Trump has reported to one of the private prisons owned by his biggest donors.
Cell Block 17 has an ominous sound no matter where it’s located.
Why I feel badly for DeSantis is because he couldn’t throw together a successful fund-raising beer bash. In fact, he couldn’t raise more money than a Brigham Young fraternity could, given the chance. This non-event offered a chance to buy a $50 ticket to drink beer with one of America’s newest autocrats. It was to be a red-white-and blue kegger; a town hall with a brand undecided—somewhere between the gay Bud Light and an artisanal brew whose brew meisters aren’t “woke.”
This event was to take place somewhere in New Hampshire. Had it only been a little closer (like in Vermont) I’d have tossed in the fifty and grabbed a seat at the end of the bar.
It also would have helped if I had known about this most-August event before the campaign had to lower its expectations. The event so foundered that DeSantis was left offering a $49 discount. A buck a beer is a bargain that even I—pretty much a non-beer guy—could recognize. Apparently, fewer than a dozen could.
“Fewer than a dozen” is a line that only a publicist could say with a straight face. After all, one out of twelve is fewer than a dozen.
I probably wouldn’t have much satisfaction from meeting DeSantis. I was at a party once that Steve Daines, then a candidate for the U.S. Senate, was also attending. The host asked me if I’d like to meet Daines. “I’d love to, but I’m sure he wouldn’t want to meet me.” We let the moment go to avoid creating a scene.
Like most of this season’s slate of Republican candidates, each is deferring to Trump’s political genius and is advancing the former president’s agenda. Well a couple of them aren’t. Yet.
Chris Christie, the former New Jersey governor, is currently piloting the anti-Trump tugboat. Joining him is Asa Hutchinson, the former governor of Arkansas. As drinking buddies, Asa and I would sit on the front porch of clapboard house and sip Southern Comfort neat while we chatted about the important role men play in the maintenance of women’s health issues.
Christie would have some staffer pouring us cranberry juice (a big industry in the Garden State) with Tito’s Handmade Vodka, the biggest seller from Texas. Rolling Rock is widely available.
I don’t think America is ready for a president named Asa. And Christie is just downright unlikeable.
The $1 beer bash pales in comparison to Doug Burgum’s fundraiser. The governor of North Dakota, whose most popular alcoholic beverages are Busch, Coors Light, and Boone’s Farm Apple Wine, Burgum has built a fortune in his home state and for a dollar donation to his campaign, he will give you a $20 gift certificate. Please don’t ask him about his plans for the economy.
Like the aforementioned candidates, Vivek Ramaswamy is anti-Trump. A biotech entrepreneur, he is anti-woke. The Hindi valedictorian of a private Jesuit high school, he is pro fossil fuel. I don’t know what to expect in terms of something to drink. The Rigveda, which I think is a religious text, says “Those who consume intoxicants lose their intellect, talk rubbish, get naked and fight with each other.”
I promise I’ll stop after one Martini.
Glenn Youngkin, the governor of Virginia, and Nikki Hailey, the former ambassador to the United Nations, are long shots because they’re just killing time until that time is just right to jump in. Nominally anti-Trump, they’re playing these early stages of the campaign close to the vest. Nobody knows for sure what might emerge as a game plan.
Youngkin went to Rice University on a basketball scholarship and earned an MBA from Harvard. He made a fortune leading a global investment firm before turning to politics. Presumably, he likes George Washington’s Rye Whiskey, which started in a distillery in 1790.
Hailey served as governor of South Carolina—a resort state known for golf and hurricanes. It would be sad should she become America’s first female president.
Mike Pence somehow is part of the 2024 campaign. Something of a Jesus freak, Pence is unsure of his place in the history books. He is the most hesitant man alive, fearing to stand further than a single pace from his wife whom he calls mother. It seems unlikely that he might indulge, but if spotted at a bar in the entirely blue city of Bloomington, Indiana, he might be coerced to drinking a “Hoosier Heritage,” a cocktail made with Knob Creek rye whiskey in honor of Abraham Lincoln, who moved to Indiana in 1816.
Tim Scott doesn’t drink.
Neither does Trump, but he’s convinced his followers to drink the Kool-Aid.
Photo illustration by Courtney A. Liska
The martini is a cocktail made with gin or vodka and vermouth, and garnished with an olive or a lemon twist. Over the years, the martini has become one of the best-known mixed alcoholic beverages.
- 1/2 oz (1 part) dry vermouth
- 3 oz (6 parts) gin or vodka
Pour ingredients into mixing glass with ice cubes. Stir well. Strain into chilled martini cocktail glass. Squeeze oil from lemon peel onto the drink, or garnish with olive
Serve straight (or on the rocks)