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Obama’s beer diplomacy
Will talking over beers resolve the racial-profiling standoff over Henry Louis Gates Jr.'s arrest?

“It started out as a casual suggestion,” said Peter Nicholas in the Los Angeles Times, but now President Obama’s “beer summit” with Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Cambridge Police Sgt. James Crowley is a real “diplomatic mission.” And it’s getting way more attention than Obama’s forays into actual “high-level diplomacy” with foreign leaders—not that defusing the “volatile dispute” over Gates’ arrest and the issue of racial profiling will be any simpler.

The effectiveness of Obama’s “peacemaking efforts” are still to be determined, but at least “the drink orders are in,” said David Alexander in Reuters. The president will probably drink a Bud, Crowley a Blue Moon white ale, and Gates either Red Stripe or Beck’s.

If this gets people talking about health care, said Robert Shrum in The Week, instead of all the right-wing “hysteria” over Obama’s "impolitic” but not inaccurate comment that Crowley “acted stupidly,” well “that’s worth a beer.” The beer summit is also another example of Obama’s desire to help “heal, not divide,” America.

From where I’m sitting, Obama’s beer outreach is a “goodly slice of humble pie,” said Human Events in an editorial, although it’s also “a class act.” The one who should be eating “a little crow” now is Gates, who accused Crowley of racial profiling without “a shred of evidence.” If anyone’s the victim of racism here, it’s the “Irish cop.”

All three men overreacted at some point in this “tumultuous week” in race relations, said the Salem, Mass., News in an editorial. But if they’re willing to sit down over a beer and “put the incident behind them,” by teaching one another and letting themselves be taught, “hopefully, everyone else can do the same.”

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