Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Finally, a President Worth Having a Beer With...

This is a watershed moment. That is clearly stating the obvious. But folks who hang in cocktail bars are often guilty of that kind of speak, so give us some latitude.

Today is really special and inspirational. Mr. Barack H. Obama will be sworn-in as the 44th President of the United States of America. Millions of people will pack the Capital in the frigid cold waiting for the moment when he takes the Oath of Office, his hand on Abraham Lincoln’s bible, truly symbolizing how far we have come: from Emancipation to Inauguration.

Today we also say "Adios" to George W. Bush, a President with whom most Americans once said they would happily share a beer. Well, Georgie may have been a good time swigging a beer or two, but by the end of the night he became “that guy”. That guy who hit on your girlfriend, knocked over the coffee table, put you in a headlock, made inappropriate comments about your gay cousin, and naturally, toilet papered your trees! That guy who plowed his BMW across your lawn and crashed into your garbage cans as he drove off into the night. We say "Godspeed - and please get a designated driver."

Today, we have a new President, a President who is as at-home having a beer in the Billygoat Tavern under the El on Michigan Avenue over some “cheezeburgers, cheeseburgers”, as he is sampling the cheese course and a Barolo at Spiaggia, Chicago’s only four-star restaurant. Barack is a guy you can go and watch a baseball game with in the stands; he is not that guy who owns the team watching from a skybox. Barack is a guy you can go listen to jazz with at the Lenox Lounge, or watch the Knicks play the Celtics courtside at Madison Square Garden. He is a transcendental figure who is invited to share a wet one with us anytime, because we know he is level-headed enough to call it a night before we hit Arthur's Tavern for after-hours.

Today, Mr. President, the baton is now in your hand. You have our undivided attention and we are ready to serve. To kick it off, Loungerati men and women in New York will be trading their suits and dresses for jeans and t-shirts this spring, to give our time to the Prospect Park Alliance in Brooklyn. Giving back to the community where one lives is democracy in action. It is only one of many projects to help our country. We hear what you are saying and it is time to move beyond the barstool.

Oh, and Mr. President, one final note: if you are ever in NYC and want to grab a proper drink between U.N. visits, let us know. We are kind of experts at that sort of thing.

Hail to the Chief!

- The Loungerati Executive Board


  1. As the only member of the Loungerati Executive Board to attend the inaugural, let me give this post a big "up yours."

    First of all, the only folks wearing jeans and t-shirts at the inaugural were the fake hippy/granola white folks -- you know, the ones who booed George Bush during his introduction. (The rest of the white Democrats looked like they worked for the party...you could tell this because they were STILL obsessing over Sarah Palin and they wore J.C. Penny suits and sock ties).

    Most of the Blacks I saw were dressed to the nines...minks and top hats etc. Me, a Conservative Italian-American Libertine, I was rocking the gray Brothers Brooks with black tie from the same brethren, white french cuffed shirt with my some seriously gold cufflinks, a Ralph Lauren long coat, gray fedora, black Bostonians, a blue levenger notepad and two cameras (Nikon and Kodak, natch.)

    You're projecting on Obama and Bush, and that's why you're annoying to talk to at bars when it comes to politics. FYI, almost every guy on this board resembles the description you made, save for the BMW crashings. I'd like to see you, or any of the alcoholics on this exec board, quit the booze cold turkey and win the presidency.

    See? We consider that a character flaw, don't we? (The quit booze part.)

    Anyway, after the inaugural -- which pretty much sucked, by the way, sucked (but was historic, yeah, I know...you get on line at 4 a.m. during 0 degree weather and offer your thoughts) -- I did what any lounger would do: namely, look for a lounge.

    My feet were blocks of ice and there were 1.7 million people waiting on line for the subway. So I went to the first hotel bar I could find. No dice. "Only hotel guests allowed" I was told.

    Fair enough. How very "Hope and Change." So I made my way over to the Washington Hotel, where I knew I'd find lots of Democrat strategists pre-partying before the balls (I used to live in D.C., full disclosure). Again, there was the bouncer. "Only guests are allowed inside the premises," I was told.

    "I'm a guest," I replied. "I'm a Senator."

    I might as well have said "these aren't the droids you're looking for," because this guy took one look at me, decided I was serious about needing the drink and waved me through.

    At the bar, I did what I always do: drink. I was so cold I switched to single malt scotch neat -- something I rarely do -- and got to know the crowd. Come crunch time, I had found the Democrat strategists, who, they said, would get me into a ball if I promised not to embarrass them by being, like, all Republican and stuff. In no mood to quibble, I of course acquiesced, and began to talk to like Cary Grant, saying words like "quibble" and "acquiesce" whenever the mood struck.

    Now, I've had drinks with thousands of Republicans. They drink more -- and better -- than the Democrats I know. The conversation is, however, a bit more, shall we say, low key. Typical comments may run from "Where do your kids go to school?" or "Where did you buy your watch?" or "Where did you buy your kid his watch?"

    Not so with the Dems. The woman I was with? While texting her cronies to see if they had an extra ticket to the Eastern Ball (natch) she asked me if I had "ever safeworded, and why?"

    The crony -- a union delegate from Massachussetts -- had a ticket. But how much would I donate? Mistress Safeword worked me up to two more scotches and, finally, $1,000 -- a number Mr. Union laughed at.

    Yeah. Change has come to America. I saved $800 by booking myself a better hotel room in Oldtowne, Alexandria, cranked the heat and finally had a good night's rest.

  2. That is a great story Senator and I recollect that last bit from our correspondence from the field.

    As for the rest, I respectfully disagree that I am projecting. There is a reason why you and I do not discuss politics - it is a rule of the bar! No religion either pal! In my view, Mr. Bush's aww shucks I'm the regular guy you can have a beer with schtick is what made him likable to a huge population of Americans (especially white males). However, Mr. Bush was a teetotaler who got to that point because of excessive behavior. Before going on the wagon, George was a drunken jerk, afterwards he was a self-righteous jerk. Why would I want to have a beer with him pre or post booze??

    On the other hand, the new President has started a new tradition - Wednesday night cocktail parties! Holy crap, the fellow likes cocktails and you know the new 21 Club policy will not be in effect on Wednesdays at the White House!!

    If anyone can obtain the official White House cocktail menu, I will personally buy them a round or two at one of New York's premier cocktail lounges of your choice. If that person happens to be the President, I promise not to use any TARP money!!!


    Executive Director

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