The Vague Claims of Beer Wholesalers on H.R. 1161

Assandholeintheground I'm in public relations. One of the things that means is that I know the value of being vague. However, there's a big difference in be vague about the pH levels in a wine and being vague when you are speaking of issues of momentous import.

Vague claims about a wine's pH level are likely never to matter or get resolved because, frankly, they are not all that important to many people. But when you make a vague claim about an issue that is likely to get resolved, that is important, that many people care about and that bloggers know a great deal about, you better be ready to explain yourself.

This is something that the proponents of H.R. 1161 have not learned. Has anyone noticed that nearly every single claim beer wholesalers and wine wholesalers make about this legislation and, specifically, about the need for stripping wine stores of constitutional defense against protectionist and discrimiatory laws that HR 1161 allows, are entirely vague?

Let me give you an example.

In a recent article covering the political battle over H.R. 1161, Mike Johnson of the National Beer Wholesalers Association told the reporter the following:

"At the end of the day, the CARE act (HR 1161) is not about what laws a state has on the books but who gets to define how alcohol gets into the states."

In the first place, has anyone ever actually reached "the end of the day"? Second, what exactly does this mean? No one knows because no one ever really explains.

But here is the kicker when it comes to VAGUE. In speaking about the Supreme Court's recent denial to hear a case pitting wine retailers against a blatantly discriminatory Texas law that prevented Texans from having wine shipped to them from out of state wine stores but allowing it from in-state Texas wine stores, Johnson says this:

"I think the problem is not everyone seems to get the message. Before the ink was even dry in the denial you could see quotes from the plaintiff's attorneys, people making it their business not to see wine distributed safely but to sue states."

It's tempting to say that Mike Johnson doesn't know his ass from a hole in the ground. However, Mr. Johnsons is quite capable of identifying his own ass. He is the executive vice president and chief advocacy officer of the National Beer Wholesalers Association. Johnson has separated his own ass from a hole in the ground regularly.

Note that Johnson gives no indication of how those involved in the Texas lawsuit (that's me and the Specialty Wine Retailers Association, for whom I act as Executive Director) want to make wine distributed unsafely. Note that Johnson is very vague on the meaning of the Supreme Court's denial to hear the case.

Why be so vague?

I know why.

Every single time the wholesalers are actually forced to explain their vague claims, they end up looking like the ass that Mike Johnson is quite capable of locating. If you asked him, how have the plaintiffs in this case advocated unsafe distribution of wine, he'd have to look for that hole in the ground to hide in. He can't do it. No one can. And no one will. Instead, proponents of H.R. 1161 will continue to be vague and tell lies to reporters, congressional representatives, their aides and their own wholesaler members.

By the way, the pH on that wine was somewhere around 3.0 and 4.0. I'll get back to you on that if you like.


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5 Responses

  1. Ned Hoey - April 21, 2011

    Unsafe, as in, to their total control. Only instate retailers contribute to the bottom lines of Texas wholesalers, who make regular campaign contributions to those dyed in the wool free market conservative Texas legislators,
    Wines that come via common carrier from OUT OF STATE could end up in the hands of CHILDREN! Wines that come via common carrier from instate retailers absolutely could not possibly do that. Jeez, this is so obvious…

  2. Marcia - April 22, 2011

    Oh, my, Tom! You got my eyes poppin’ with the verbiage and the oh, so apropos photo!
    And as I read Ned’s comment above (and your description of Mr. Johnson), the character of the Child Catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang came to mind. Remember him? Enticed all the little kids to come out of hiding by offering candy and treats only for them to find out they were being stuffed in a cage.
    Mr. Johnson would have us think that’s what out-of-state wineries/retailers do to unsuspecting Texas wine buyers–lure them with out-of-state “candy.” Of course, it’s all rubbish!
    We can only hope that congressional representatives recognize that it’s Mr. Johnson, with his vague declarations, who is, in fact, the Child Catcher.

  3. wfs - April 23, 2011

    perhaps, it could more specific to people using different beer to have fun.

  4. Zeiss rifle scopes - April 25, 2011

    Being vague is what allows people and business to avoid legal liability. But in this case, being vague seems to be done because Mike Johnson doesn’t know what the hell he is talking about.
    Shawn Moluth

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