Who Will Defend Bud Light?

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When news broke yesterday that President Obama will drink Bud Light when he meets with Henry Louis Gates and James Crowley, the response was swift and negative.

Some accused Obama of pandering to Joe Sixpack, or the "average" American. Others took an opposing tack, criticizing the president for picking a beer that, despite its red-blooded American reputation, is made by a foreign company (Belgian corporation InBev bought Anheuser-Busch last year).

But the most passionate criticism was aimed at the beer itself. "This light-beer position is even less excusable than, I don't know, torture," wrote the Washington City Paper. Other voices on the Web were eager to explain why: The Village Voice's food blog panned Bud Light as "flavorless swill," while the Awl called it "a combination of frog urine and carbonation."

But as Obama's press secretary asked at the news conference where the infamous beer selection was announced, "What's wrong with Budweiser?" Bud Light is the best-selling beer in the U.S.--somebody likes it. Now, who's going to tell us, in measured and eloquent detail? And who's going to defend it?

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Eleanor Barkhorn is a former senior editor at The Atlantic.

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