O’Malley’s Drink of Choice

Posted: January 10, 2016 | By: Iowa Caucus Project Staff Tagged: Blog
Photo by Rachel Paine Caufield

Martin O’Malley at Carl’s Place. Photo by Rachel Paine Caufield

For presidential candidates, they hope that Iowans want to get a beer with them (except Ted Cruz, who wants to be your DD). But, for Gov. Martin O’Malley, he wants to get a beer with Iowans. At a campaign stop this week, the fire code had to have been broken at Carl’s Place, a dive bar in Des Moines, as voters packed the room from wall to wall for O’Malley.

While O’Malley serenaded the crowd on his guitar and schmoozed with the crowd, he could be seen drinking an Ethos India Pale Ale throughout the course of the event (Correction: he drank several of these. His campaign staff always seemed to be ready to switch out his can, whether it was empty or too warm.)

Even though O’Malley has had a long history with beers being mixed into his campaign events, it begs the question of whether the governor was just having something different or if this was a subliminal political message.

Perhaps O’Malley is working to show caucusgoers that he is a trustworthy candidate and a man of strong ethics by choosing a beer with the same name as one of Aristotle’s rhetorical proofs. This would be an ideal image to reinforce, separating O’Malley from Sec. Hillary Clinton, who is facing issues with being untrustworthy after her various scandals. Ethos Pale Ale is also manufactured by the Tallgrass Brewing Company in Manhattan, Kansas, making it qualified for a “Made in the U.S.A.” label. Drinking an Ethos Pale Ale is definitely the more patriotic beverage than choosing an import.

Or, perhaps O’Malley is simply doing it to have something different. Ethos Pale Ale has a 6.8 percent alcohol content, which is slightly higher than the average beer. So, the governor may have been something stronger to finish off with after a long day of campaigning. IPAs also aren’t typically for the drinking beginner, so I can’t imagine this was O’Malley’s first taste of Ethos.

Yes, I could be reading too much into O’Malley’s drink of choice, but even the minuscule things are being scrutinized on the campaign trail. Sen. Marco Rubio just suffered though a news cycle focused on a pair of Florsheim Boots that he wore on the campaign trail, causing some of his opponents to respond and poke fun at him (as Carly Florina did below). So, the O’Malley campaign may be attempting to avoid a scandal like this by ensuring that he is drinking American products rather than imported ones. These are just the quirks of a campaign that the average caucusgoers will never notice, yet that doesn’t diminish its importance.

Ironically enough, the Ethos IPA is set to be discontinued in 2016 after four years of production. The Tallgrass Brewing Company is removing it from its brand to phase in some new options; I wonder if this is a weird metaphor for the O’Malley campaign in the presidential election.

Nevertheless, O’Malley has set himself as the candidate that you literally want to get a beer with.

IMG_1200Blevins is a junior politics and strategic political communications double major at Drake. He avidly follows Postmodern Jukebox, is a strong proponent of the color orange, and can often be found relaxing in a hammock if it’s a nice day out. Follow him on Twitter.