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Aug-03-2009 12:40printcomments

ABI Asks: Why Would MADD Oppose Obama's Beer Summit?

MADD's Opposition to Beers at the White House Exposes Group's Anti-Alcohol Sentiment.

President Obama with a mug of beer
President Obama with a mug of beer

(WASHINGTON D.C.) - Today, the American Beverage Institute (ABI) criticized Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) for publicly lamenting that President Obama chose to hold a “Beer Summit” in an effort to cool tensions between the gentlemen involved in the recent police incident in Cambridge.

“MADD is no longer an organization that opposes drunk driving, but an anti-alcohol group that has been hijacked by the modern day temperance movement,” said Sarah Longwell, ABI Managing Director.

“That someone in a position of leadership at MADD would criticize President Obama for simply drinking beer, illustrates the neoprohibitionist mentality that now dominates the group.”

Last week, President Obama met with the men involved in the Cambridge police incident in an attempt to diffuse the situation. Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, and Cambridge police Sergeant James Crowley enjoyed cold beers while working out their differences.

But in an interview this weekend, the President of the Delaware chapter of MADD, Nancy Raynor, expressed concern that the event could send the wrong message to young people who saw the president drinking on TV.

“MADD’s position on the ‘Beer Summit’ should remind Americans that the group once dedicated to preventing drunk driving has transitioned into leading the anti-alcohol movement,” said Longwell.

“MADD has even been denounced by its founder Candy Lightner as ‘very neo-prohibitionist.’”

MADD is now focused on preventing any alcohol consumption prior to driving through its support for polices like sobriety checkpoints, which serve to scare drivers who may have enjoyed one drink prior to driving home.

Recently, MADD went so far as to denounce New Jersey’s Flying Fish Brewery for naming its beers after turnpike exits, claiming that the brewery was promoting drunk driving.

MADD even wants to put alcohol-sensors in the cars of all Americans. The federal government is already funding the development of such technology and MADD has asked for $30 million more from Congress to go toward the project (learn more at

The director of that project has admitted that the alcohol sensors would be set below the legal limit, representing the end to moderate, responsible consumption of alcohol prior to driving.

“MADD should return to its original mission of stopping drunk driving,” said Longwell.

“The more time and resources the group spends pushing an anti-alcohol agenda, the more irrelevant it becomes.”


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Anonymous August 4, 2009 7:39 pm (Pacific time)

dj and carpediem12: You're losing sight of the context. Tens of millions of people (at work) every day meet others for coffee, sometimes having such meetings two or three times a day. People have "coffee breaks". How often do people get together for a beer? (beer break?) Some weekday evenings and fri/sat eves most common. I'm not for or against beer--in moderation.

carpediem12 August 4, 2009 5:10 pm (Pacific time)

MADD would like to abolish alcohol. I'd be devastated if I lost someone by a drunk, but people die by guns but we don't outlaw gun ownership. Prohibition didn't work and we live in an open society. I agree most folks meet for an alcholic drink, not for coffee. Of course people should drink moderately.

Daniel Johnson August 4, 2009 2:49 pm (Pacific time)

dj: Your comment is well taken, but you have to consider the time frame. In the evening it would be more common to go for a beer. But do you or any of your friends get together for a beer in the afternoon of a weekday? Didn't think so.

V August 4, 2009 12:28 pm (Pacific time)

Um beer is great, no really! Because in the times before the Industrial Age, water storage was inadequate and became stagnate and undrinkable very quickly. Thus many turned to the wine and beer to quench their throats; such as merchant caravans, sailors, and even armies of the past and present hehe. And coffee is a bigger cash cow than alcohol presently anyways! :P

Editor: V, I had to take that last part off.  It isn't like I didn't crack up but let's keep it clean, thanks.

dj August 4, 2009 11:41 am (Pacific time)

DJ: I dispute that coffee gatherings are more common than going for a beer. Maybe if you live in an arabic country, but here I meet people for a drink and a drink = alcohol.

SLEZE August 4, 2009 9:31 am (Pacific time)

Sounds like a few of the commenters need a beer...or at least get the sticks out of their a**es. There is nothing wrong with moderate drinking. If you are religious, it's in the bible. If not, then live and let live. Drunk driving is different than having a drink (or even just being drunk).

Fixed it for you, EJH August 4, 2009 8:45 am (Pacific time)

"Although "social conservatives" would like us to pretend otherwise, religion is a curse on the human race. It has been made socially acceptable only because the people in power know that it helps keep the masses tranquil and also because religion is a cash cow. The only difference between religion and superstition is that far less death and suffering is caused by superstition." Thanks man, you make a great point about santimonious blowhards trying to regulate human behavior!

Rasicar August 4, 2009 8:15 am (Pacific time)

Me thinks that people are reading into this too much... Maybe the President might (gasp) enjoy a beer now and then? As long as he's not getting three sheets to the wind, I don't care. Though to be honest his beer looks a tad light for my tastes. I think I could read newsprint through that stuff he's holding.

Fight the Power August 4, 2009 7:15 am (Pacific time)

According to the internet, MADD is an acronym which stands for Moronic Ass Dick Dodgers... right?

Anonymous August 4, 2009 5:58 am (Pacific time)

EJH, Alcohol is less a curse on the human race, than the ego driven belief that anyone should be able to tell anyone else how to live their life. If you hurt someone, there needs to be consequences. If you do not, then no one should be in your life telling you what to do. If someone doesn't like drinking they do not have to drink. But that does not give them the right to persecute those who do.

EJH August 4, 2009 4:02 am (Pacific time)

Daniel Johnson: You are absolutely right. Coffee would have been a much better choice. When I first heard about Mr Obama's beer idea, I, too, thought that he was making a rather weak stab at sounding "manly". The president seems to have a lot of fans (worshipers?) and he gets rock star treatment from the media, but he is still just a politician.

Daniel Johnson August 4, 2009 12:35 am (Pacific time)

Having made my comment about having beers being more "manly" I have no criticism about it. There's something appealing about having a couple of beers in the summertime, particularly when you can sit outside surrounded by armed guards.

Daniel Johnson August 3, 2009 9:21 pm (Pacific time)

EJH: The more common thing for people to do, tens of millions do it every day, is "let's get together for coffee." In Obama's case I think a subtle psychological factor was that beer would seem to be more "manly".

EJH August 3, 2009 6:27 pm (Pacific time)

Although the "beverage industry" would like us to pretend otherwise, alcohol is a curse on the human race.  It has been made socially acceptable only because the people in power know that it helps keep the masses tranquil and also because alcohol is a cash cow.  The only difference between alcohol and hard drugs  is that less death and suffering is caused by cocaine and heroin.  I do not support criminalization of alcohol (in fact, I think all drugs should be legalized), but, at the same time, I think that Mr Obama set a poor example with his "beer summit".  He could have made the same cover-my-ass-after-a-stupid-political-gaffe gesture over a few glasses of orange juice.

Anonymous August 3, 2009 6:49 pm (Pacific time)

Having not taken more than a single alcoholic drink during any individual day for more than 40 years, I am no extremist on the driving and alcohol issue with the exception of believing that driving while intoxicated should be considered a serious offense even if no one gets hurt, and if an innocent person gets killed, then I believe that drunk should be convicted of second-degree murder, rather than the typical manslaughter charge. But MADD is going a little mad in wanting to prohibit any alcohol consumption and driving. This stuff about the President's meeting is just silly. If you look at the countries that have a more severe alcoholism problem in Europe, the farther north you get in the continent the more severe the problem. Why is that? It has been postulated that part of it is that Northern Europeans are more likely to drink hard liquor rather than wine which is more likely to be drunk in southern Europe; and that there is more societal shame in alcohol usage. I think that MADD represents the Northern European paradigm, while President Obama represents the Southern European paradigm. I would vote for that. :-)

Daniel Johnson August 3, 2009 1:44 pm (Pacific time)

One thing's for sure, MADD can no fear that Obama would drink up then go wreak havoc on Dupont Circle. He is prohibited by law (Secret Service rule) from driving a motor vehicle.

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