With statewide unemployment at 8.8% and a withering manufacturing base, the good men and women charged with conducting the People's Business in the Ohio Statehouse are doing what any right-thinking statesman would: Considering the installation of a bar in the state capitol, for drinking.
Yes! Of course the Ohio Statehouse should feature a full-service bar in the basement. Think of it as a jobs measure, both for the bartenders and the attorneys who will represent the sexually assaulted interns. But seriously, it wouldn't be some kind of raucous scene or anything, just a nice quiet place where harried legislators can run for a quick pick-me-up. Just to take the edge off, you know? From the AP's Julie Carr Smyth:
"My point of view is Prohibition ended in the 1930s, so what's the big deal?" said Sen. Bill Seitz, a Cincinnati Republican. "We're not talking about putting George Jones and Willie Nelson on the jukebox and having people spending all their waking hours in the Capitol Cafe, drowning their sorrows. But the idea that there's alcohol in the Statehouse should be completely unsurprising to anyone."
Indeed, Smyth conducted a wide-ranging survey of legislative carousing that bears quoting at length:
Politics and booze have long enjoyed a symbiotic relationship.
Lawmakers in many states keep beer refrigerators in their common areas or bottles in their bottom drawers. In Missouri, beer companies deliver to lawmakers' offices. Legislators in some states even imbibe on legislative floors or fill up in members' lounges.
West Virginia's Senate has one such lounge dubbed "Senate Junior Rules" where legislators pour alcohol. During late evening sessions, they emerge holding plastic keg cups; several years ago, one senator knocked over the desk of another member during a spirited presentation. The errant lawmaker apologized to the body not only for knocking over the colleague's desk, but also his glass of wine with it.
And now the Buckeye State is poised to enter that hallowed pantheon. May God continue to bless the great state of Ohio.
[Photo via the Library of Congress]