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The White House Beer Bash

by @ 10:02 pm on July 30, 2009. Filed under Barack Obama, In The News, Politics

Beer Bash

So, yea, well this happened:

Two weeks after a noted black scholar accused a white police sergeant of racial profiling for arresting him at his home near Harvard University, the men hoisted mugs of beer Thursday evening at the White House with President Obama and Vice President Biden.

Henry Louis “Skip” Gates Jr. and Cambridge police Sgt. James Crowley sat at a round table in the Rose Garden with Biden and Obama talking, sipping beer and munching peanuts and pretzels out of silver bowls. News cameras and reporters were kept 50 feet away and allowed to view the meeting for less than a minute before being shooed away as the men began their conversation.

It was an extraordinary scene that Obama’s aides hoped would convey a hopeful message about race relations and end a controversy that has ballooned into a major distraction for a president pushing an ambitious agenda.

After the meeting, Crowley and a lawyer speaking for Gates said the two men were satisfied with the tone of the discussion. Speaking to reporters at a brief news conference, Crowley said that while there was “no tension” at the meeting, no apologies were offered either. “Two gentlemen agreed to disagree on a particular issue,” he said.

And, of course, the cable news networks were all over it:

I’m not quite sure why Biden was there, except maybe to lighten the mood with some of those jokes that he’s famous for.

Anyway, for all the needless hype that was given this thing, it’s pretty clear that nothing was accomplished based on the statement that Officer Crowley made:

WASHINGTON – The police officer at the center of a national dispute over race and law enforcement says a much-anticipated meeting at the White House was productive and all parties are looking forward.

Cambridge, Mass., police Sgt. James Crowley spoke after meeting with President Barack Obama and Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., along with Vice President Joe Biden. Crowley described himself and Gates as “two gentlemen who agreed to disagree” about the confrontation that led to Gates’ arrest.

He said that the conversation centered on moving forward, not reliving the events of the past two weeks, and that they plan more meetings.

Gates’s statement was similarly ambiguous:

Sergeant Crowley and I, through an accident of time and place, have been cast together, inextricably, as characters – as metaphors, really – in a thousand narratives about race over which he and I have absolutely no control. Narratives about race are as old as the founding of this great Republic itself, but these new ones have unfolded precisely when Americans signaled to the world our country’s great progress by overcoming centuries of habit and fear, and electing an African American as President. It is incumbent upon Sergeant Crowley and me to utilize the great opportunity that fate has given us to foster greater sympathy among the American public for the daily perils of policing on the one hand, and for the genuine fears of racial profiling on the other hand.

Let me say that I thank God that live in a country in which police officers put their lives at risk to protect us every day, and, more than ever, I’ve come to understand and appreciate their daily sacrifices on our behalf. I’m also grateful that we live in a country where freedom of speech is a sacrosanct value and I hope that one day we can get to know each other better, as we began to do at the White House this afternoon over beers with President Obama.

And, that, Dear God in Heaven I hope, is that. Let this be the last we hear of Henry Louis Gates, Thomas Crowley, and Cambridge, Massachusetts. And it’d probably be a good thing to shelve the ridiculous pagentry of “beer summits” as well.

H/T: Hot Air for the video

5 Responses to “The White House Beer Bash”

  1. “Ale To The Chief”: Obama’s Beer Summit Wasn’t Pour…

    THIS JUST IN! Forget Iran, forget health care — what the world REALLY wants to know about is: how did that “beer summit” called by President Barack Obama featuring himself, a prominent African American Harvard professor and the polic…

  2. [...] I suspect the answer will differ by gender. Real men drink beer with Clint Eastwood, not Bud Light with Obama. After all, Barack Obama is a tea-tottling and quiche president who was elected on the strength of a woman’s right to vote. Girls wet their pants for our president, don’t you? Foreign beer is cute and sexy. But what do you think of this.? [...]

  3. Vast says:

    I’m wondering how long it takes for those Mugs to either end up on Ebay or in the Smithsonian.

  4. Chris says:

    I respectfully disagree. I would much rather Obama spend time dealing with this than trying to sell his healthcare plan.

  5. Bob says:

    It seems Gates gets a bit self important when he drinks. That sounds like me after about 7 beers. You sure he had just one?

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