Saturday, July 15, 2006

Cheers, Pete.

It's so easy to give in to Schadenfreude when we hear about Rush Limbaugh's addiction to hillbilly heroin, or when Ann Coulter, amid plagiarism allegations, gets her column dropped by a small, heartland newspaper because conservative readers "felt that their views were being misrepresented." Ah, yes.

So it was with guilty glee that I read about right-wing beer baron and erstwhile senate candidate Pete Coors' drunk-driving arrest in Denver. Ad Age's smug coverage (which is where I got the nice photo of Mr. Coors) of the incident includes quotes from the Coors website:
On its website, Coors says it supports "more severe consequences" for drunk drivers. "The processing of drunk drivers should be streamlined and drunk driving must result in an immediate consequence, such as implementing an 'administrative license revocation,'" the "Doing Our Part" section of Coors' site reads. "Penalties for drunk driving should be escalated for higher BAC levels and for repeat offenders."
Hmm. We'll see how they handle that. Coors was probably drunk on Coors Original, for as he told the National Review a couple years ago, "It has more flavor and more of what a beer should taste like. Besides, I'm a traditionalist." You may know Pete Coors from his beer commercial appearances, if not from his 2004 Colorado senate bid.

But who is Peter Coors? Why does he matter? The website Media Transparency, an organization that tracks "The money behind the conservative media," gives some history of the family that started the Coors Brewing Company in 1873:
In 1973, Joseph Coors backed Paul Weyrich, a champion of right-wing causes and later co-creator of the Moral Majority, when he decided to create a conservative think tank in Washington, D.C., that eventually became the Heritage Foundation. Joseph Coors provided $250,000 in start-up funds.

Later, when Weyrich left Heritage, Joseph Coors worked with him to create the Committee for the Survival of a Free Congress, a PAC supporting conservative candidates that later developed into the Free Congress Foundation (FCF). The Adolph Coors Foundation heavily funded the Heritage Foundation from its inception through the 1980s. The Castle Rock Foundation continues to provide substantial funding to the Heritage Foundation and the Free Congress Foundation, contributing $1,948,760 and $1,050,000 respectively, between 1995 and 2002.
That's why I try not drink Coors. The National Review's John J. Miller called Pete's father Joe "one of the most important conservative philanthropists of the 20th century." Much of the neoconservative movement today owes its momentum to Coors family money.

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