It all started at the Tune Inn. The age-old dive on Pennsylvania Avenue Southeast has been the launching pad for countless forays into “innovative policy initiatives,” and this one was no exception. A few Capitol Hill staff alumni had gathered for an informal reunion in the back room, beyond the louts, the lobbyists, and the endless stream of boorish interns.
They were all Democrats.
“We gotta do something about the youth vote,” a former Wiener staffer whined. “They’re not excited about Obama any more, and Bruce Springsteen just ain’t cuttin’ it like he used to.”
“Well, I feel that Obama isn’t helping, frankly,” groused an ex-welfare-liaison-facilitator. “Maybe if he forgives student debts by November – at least for government workers, you know? – maybe he can turn it around. But those stingy Republi-cons won’t let that happen. The way things are going, next thing you know he’ll send his daughters to party–hearty in Argentina like Bush did.” Shaking her head, she ordered another beer. Doom descended on the table as a raucous bunch of interns looked into the room from the door. She cringed.
“No action in here,” one of them yelled, and off they went, on the prowl, back to the pack.
“Look at them,” said the scruffy lawyer, drawing pictures on the table with his beer mug. “they’re running the country, they’re all under twenty-five, and they’re clueless. If the voters only knew.”
“Yeah,” chimed in the Wiener grad. “Talk about the density of the masses.”
The lawyer’s furrowed brow furrowed further. “You know what,” he said. “I bet they’re all for Ron Paul. Four years ago they were all hot for Obama and “Change” – now our guys at the DNC tell us that Paul has the under-thirties! We gotta find a way to get’em back. We just gotta!”
Glum grimaces worked their way around the table. The bill came.
“Good grief,” said the Wienerite. “Eighty-two dollars and sixty-five cents. Seven bucks for a beer!”
“Well, we gotta lotta wars goin’ on,” chuckled the lawyer, digging for his wallet. “Whaddya want, free beer?”
The light bulb turned on.
“That’ it!” He threw some money on the table, reached for his Blackberry, and furiously punched the keys as he left. “See you, guys.” He headed out for his office at HHS – the Department of Harassment and Handout Services.
A week later, HHS Secretary Saccharine Cerebrius announced the “ObamaBeer Mandate.”
“Throughout the country, our administration has encouraged schoolchildren to feel good about themselves,” she told a packed auditorium at the annual convention of the National Beer Brewers Association. “But today, we find that many adults just don’t feel that good any more. Our studies indicate that, if such an anomaly persists over time, such Americans are more likely to underperform at work, to get sick, and, ultimately, to impose a significant burden on the taxpayer. So we have asked America’s best minds – you know, our most highly-compensated HHS grantees at major universities – to confront this problem, and they have responded with alacrity. I am pleased indeed to observe that their verdict was virtually unanimous. And based on their scientific investigations, and our own deliberations and consultation with the Congress, today I am truly proud to announce a program that will reinvigorate America. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, we can alleviate the loss of zest, elàn, and confidence in our population today. The answer is simple: Free Beer.”
The crowd roared.
Within days, Alcoholics Anonymous announced its first known public opposition to a federal program in its history. “This policy requires all of our members to subsidize a behavior which we consider immoral,” their spokesman said. “We consider it to be a violation of our conscience rights, as well as those of millions of Americans. Moreover, we urge the administration to consider the deleterious impact that free beer will have on social cohesion, the family, and individual responsibility.”