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December 5, 1933: The Good Old Days are Back Again
December 5, 2009 2:14 AM   Subscribe

He was elected at the nadir of the worst depression in history; 25% of the workforce was unemployed, two million were homeless. Yet in the face of this, he made us an optimistic and far-reaching New Deal, creating among other programs a federal minimum wage, social security, and the FDIC. He pulled us out of dire financial straits and, when our country was called upon to fight in World War II, he brought us to the cusp of victory. In his unprecedented thirteen years in office, he cemented his undisputed legacy as one of the greatest presidents in American history. But before he could achieve any of this, Franklin Delano Roosevelt had a promise to keep — a promise to the "wet vote," whose indispensable support he had called upon in 1932 during his first presidential campaign when he promised to repeal the 18th Amendment and end Prohibition. And thus, as legend has it, immediately after his first fireside chat from the White House in March 1933, Roosevelt turned to his two top aides and said, "I think it's time for a beer." And yes, indeed, it was.

Of course, legalizing beer was only the beginning. As Roosevelt was a man of his word, it quickly came to pass that on this very date, December 5th, in 1933, Congress ratified the 21st Amendment to the Constitution, ended Prohibition, and our patron saint FDR made the toast heard 'round the world: "What America needs now," he said, "is a drink."

Today, on the 77th anniversary of that momentous event, let us all raise a glass to that wise and forward-looking man, whose decision ultimately did more than just create 500,000 new jobs: "You saved the very foundation of our Government. No man can tell where we would have gone, or to what we would have fallen, had not this repeal been brought about."

In 1933, we celebrated by raising a glass of Miller High Life, Stag, Pabst Blue Ribbon [Previously], Hamms [2] [3], National Bohemian, Old Falstaff, Schmidt's, Blatz, or Budweiser.

Of course, today we have a cornucopia of choices, in both our selection of booze and our enjoyment of its oft-sublime advertisements. Please enjoy these carefully selected and hand-distilled ads for Johnnie Walker [2] [3], Jameson, Bushmills, Glenfiddich, Jim Beam, Wild Turkey, Bailey's [2], Absolut [2] [3], Smirnoff [2], Stolichnaya [2], or, if you'd like, you can stick to beer with Guinness [2] [3] [4], Red Stripe, Carlton Draught, or Stella Artois [2].

Cheers and happy repeal day to you, in loving memory of Franklin Delano motherfucking Roosevelt. Please imbibe responsibly.
posted by churl (32 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite

 
I'll most certainly drink to this. Huzzah!
posted by Ghidorah at 2:26 AM on December 5, 2009


76th anniversary I think ?
posted by plep at 2:40 AM on December 5, 2009


Well, the 77th year of the end of Prohibition of ale may have begun, but the 12th year of Prohibition Ale is already in full swing!

That's all I got.
posted by electronslave at 2:46 AM on December 5, 2009


They forced me to trade in my gold and all I got was a lousy t-shirt currency.
posted by Talez at 3:02 AM on December 5, 2009


he cemented his undisputed legacy as one of the greatest presidents in American history

And he did it all while having an affair. Because our president's sexual behavior is more important than his politcal legacy.
posted by twoleftfeet at 3:59 AM on December 5, 2009


blah blah blah legalize cannibus blah blah blah hemp-based fuel, clothing, paper, etc. blah blah blah DuPont chemical co blah blah blah What America needs now, is a bong rip.
posted by Jon_Evil at 4:38 AM on December 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


And he did it all while having an affair. Because our president's sexual behavior is more important than his politcal legacy.

Depends on your definition of "affair"-- he wasn't boning Lucy Rutherford while he was in the White House. Kearns Goodwin in No Ordinary Time quotes one of FDR's sons as saying that polio had made FDR impotent.
posted by Mayor Curley at 4:42 AM on December 5, 2009


Right...he was perhaps not able to do it. But he had promised his wife that the affair was to be ended but he died while at her place and not at home. This may strike the male mind as unreal but there is we are told something called "emotional infidelity," wherein the dick stays home but the heart and mind go out.

He is not great, sayeth our conservative pals, for he did not truly end the depression but it was the war that put us back to work, which may well be their answer to all recessions: get into big wars. But the simple Keynsian fact is that the war, unsought, put men and women into jobs across the nation to support the war effort, and that got us out of the bad financial times, as well getting women into the workplace.

The bad news? once we got to occupy a number of enemy countries we decided that we could emulate the Romans and have our very own empire, but we would call it "national defense" and "
bringing democracy" to those unfortunates who had not had it.
posted by Postroad at 4:59 AM on December 5, 2009


I'll drink to that!

Also, that "saved the foundation..." linked article has enough typos that I think the guy was loaded when he wrote it.
posted by lordrunningclam at 5:16 AM on December 5, 2009


Happy Repeal Day! I'll take a martini.
posted by donajo at 5:19 AM on December 5, 2009


...an optimistic and far-reaching New Deal

Or, as a representative from the Cato Institute called it Thursday on the Diane Rehm show, "A complete failure." But, then, I think he may be biased...
posted by Thorzdad at 5:28 AM on December 5, 2009


happy days are here again
posted by pyramid termite at 5:38 AM on December 5, 2009


This may strike the male mind as unreal but there is we are told something called "emotional infidelity," wherein the dick stays home but the heart and mind go out.

I once saw "EATIN' AIN'T CHEATIN'" printed on a t-shirt. Now I don't know who to believe because it looked like a pretty reputable t-shirt.
posted by Mayor Curley at 5:54 AM on December 5, 2009 [6 favorites]


You saved the very foundation of our Government.

Yes! Our Government, once based on individual liberty and limited powers, had almost been permanently taken over by moral scolds who thought that people's control over their own bodies should be subordinate to the rule of Federal legislators.

We really dodged a bullet there.
posted by roystgnr at 5:57 AM on December 5, 2009 [3 favorites]


I might buy all this were I not being denied the opportunity to review his birth certificate personally.
posted by troybob at 6:53 AM on December 5, 2009 [4 favorites]


He is not great, sayeth our conservative pals, for he did not truly end the depression but it was the war that put us back to work, which may well be their answer to all recessions: get into big wars. But the simple Keynsian fact is that the war, unsought, put men and women into jobs across the nation to support the war effort, and that got us out of the bad financial times, as well getting women into the workplace.

Not true of all conservatives, of course. Many economists on the right grudgingly acknowledge that his finance-centered programs (the bank holidays, the FDIC, etc.) were quite helpful, as they prevented a complete collapse of the credit market. Someone had to loan money to the struggling businesses that did not immediately go under, especially as they now had to pay a minimum wage to employees.
posted by aswego at 7:06 AM on December 5, 2009


Prost!
posted by paisley henosis at 7:16 AM on December 5, 2009


Roosevelt was something of a prick as a human being. According to long-time Democratic party insider and diplomat W. Averell Harriman (who know the President well), "Roosevelt... always enjoyed other people's discomfort. I think it is fair to say that it never bothered him very much when other people were unhappy." The "always" and "never" in that remark are pretty damning. (Harriman makes this observation when recounting an incident where Roosevelt was deliberately humiliating Churchill during one of the latter's visits to the US during WWII.)
posted by Faze at 7:23 AM on December 5, 2009


Thanks churl... I'm... all choked up inside... and the sun's not over the yardarm yet dammit.
posted by ardgedee at 7:42 AM on December 5, 2009


Because our president's sexual behavior is more important than his politcal legacy.

That's a modern focus, as (from what I understand) US Presidents were largely held in high regard. My grandfather was a political science prof., and told me that JFK was propped up by quite a bit of medication, and his his speed-reading claims were fake (back when speed reading was popular in the 1960s and '70s). Maybe what I believe was the popular opinion is twisted by nostalgic re-tellings of his legacy, but I thought he was largely supported. I believe that the shift of news coverage from items of significance and weight to pop culture (sex lives, drug use) is quite a bit more modern than FDR.

With that tangent aside, I'll drink to FDR.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:49 AM on December 5, 2009


Roosevelt was something of a prick as a human being.

Born into incredible wealth and privilege, he would never have had to do anything for another human being if he didn't want to. He nonetheless became a great American leader and traitor to his class, and that's good enough for me.
posted by toodleydoodley at 9:00 AM on December 5, 2009 [3 favorites]


Roosevelt turned to his two top aides and said, "I think it's time for a beer."

Obama turned to the television camera and said, "I think it's time for a toke."

Well, one can hope, anyway.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:24 AM on December 5, 2009


Postroad: "He is not great, sayeth our conservative pals, for he did not truly end the depression but it was the war that put us back to work"

They're absolutely right. It wasn't the massive government spending and programs that did it. It was all the massive government spending and programs.
posted by brundlefly at 10:57 AM on December 5, 2009 [8 favorites]


What? A post on Prohibition without mentioning Utica Club? True, I'm a bit biased as it's the local beer but it is was the first beer sold after Prohibition, with an order for it placed within 22 minutes of the repeal.

Here's an old UC commercial reenacting this momentous occasion (unfortunately, the audio is out of sync with the video but you still get the idea).
posted by champthom at 1:59 PM on December 5, 2009


Today it would be called the n00b deal.
posted by davejay at 2:16 PM on December 5, 2009


Seeing as today is my birthday (born Dec. 5, 1983, the 50th anniversary of the end of Prohibition), I obviously must raise my Manhattan for the freedom of my southerly neighbours to drink. That said, I will also be mourning the death of the golden era of the Canadian liquor industry. *cracks the seal on a new bottle of rye*
posted by [expletive deleted] at 3:18 PM on December 5, 2009


Fuck me.. it IS december. Where did this year go?
posted by edgeways at 7:39 PM on December 5, 2009


Happy birthday, Mr. Deleted! A bartender friend of mine introduced me to something you may like; my favorite use for Rye, a "Manhattan Perfect". What you want to do is mix a normal Manhattan, except instead of sweet vermouth you use a 50/50 mix of sweet and dry. Use a touch more whiskey than a normal Manhattan and instead of a cherry, give it a lemon zest and a twist. Cheers!
posted by churl at 8:37 PM on December 5, 2009


Baltimore says thanks for the Natty Boh commercial.

WRT the commercial, I cannot believe how pervasive racism was in that day. It's almost like a product couldn't get sold unless someone was subjugated.
posted by cloeburner at 8:12 AM on December 7, 2009


Although in retrospect, a product can't get sold today without someone getting subjugated either. Shmapitalism.
posted by cloeburner at 8:13 AM on December 7, 2009


You're not kidding; the modern portrayal of women in beer and liquor ads is pretty fucking shameful. I'm a thick-skinned guy, but I was floored by how many of the self-described "awesome"/"best ever" booze ads I watched in preparing this FPP fell somewhere between eye-rollingly dumb female stereotype and outright rape joke. American lager and rum ads were especially shitty in this regard.

In lighter news, I owe a drink both to plep for catching my error, and to whichever mod cleaned up after me in the wee hours of the morning. The post originally sat way heavier on the frontpage than I'd expected. Salud!
posted by churl at 2:00 PM on December 7, 2009


I celebrated by brewing my Festivus Ale.
posted by Capt Jingo at 6:32 AM on December 8, 2009


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