Wine and “Strange Bedfellows
The concept of "Strange Bedfellows" doesn't usually figure into my work in wine public relations. The basic concept is help your client effectively deliver their brand message to a specific audience, be they trade, media or ultimately consumers. There's really not issue about worrying about whom you get in bed with.
Politics is different.
This weekend I had the pleasure of attending a dinner in honor of the Competitive Enterprise Institute. No one would ever mistake the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) for a liberal or moderate organization. They tend for the most part to be an anti-regulatory organization that has for many years been players in conservative politics. I'm moderate to liberal in my politics. But the CEI has also been extraordinarily helpful in the battle against H.R. 5034, the alcohol wholesalers' bill in congress that would radically change the relationship between state and federal powers where alcohol regulations are concerned and adversely affect consumer access to wine if it passes.
Insofar as I am liberal and the CEI is conservative, it feels like a situation of strange bedfellows.
And there are other examples of strange bedfellows inside the H.R. 5034 battle. Just about the only ally the beer and wine wholesalers have in this battle is an organization called the Marin Institute, a hugely anti-alcohol organization that wants to see H.R. 5034 pass presumably, according to their representative's testimony at hearings last month, because its passage would make wine less accessible. Yet there they were, along with wholesalers, who have the job of, presumably, making alcohol safely accessible, pushing for passage of H.R. 5034.
Sitting at the dinner to honor CEI, it struck me that there is far more room for folks on opposite sides of the fense to work together. Given the seeming acrid climate in politics these days you'd think this not a likely scenario. But it truly is. Clearly, the more strange bedfellows that get together, the more that gets done. The alcohol wholesalers know that. And I know that too.
There are no "sides" where the enjoyment of wine is concerned. We are all Switzerland. But that's rare where politics are concerned. Finding those issues where seemingly opposite sides can come together is a very productive strategy.