The wing-nuts fell into predictable hysteria a couple of weeks ago over Miller Brewing sponsoring the annual "leather" Folsom Street festival in San Francisco. The pretend-outrage was "shared" by "all". Those who did not take sufficient offense were shunned and scorned in the right-wing of the Marquette faculty lounge. My new favorite unintentional comedian, John McAdams, took the stunned Rick Esenberg to task for his "mellow" attitude towards Miller’s tacit encouragement of children in leather vests and an apparently very butch re-imagining of the Last Supper, originally fantasized in a painting by Da Vinci.
It’s hard to figure out exactly what the Accidental Professor was getting at, but it had something to do with acting like he was offended because (he says) lefties play the "offended card" and thereby gain great power. "...[T]hey need to face a right that will play by the same rules," the fevered McAdams proclaimed, saying is was like "the prisoner’s dilemma", an interesting philosophical challenge that he twisted beyond all recognition. But, wait, it gets better (with McAdams, it always does): "This logic is why I rather applaud attacks on academic freedom from the right. I don't want them to succeed, but I do want leftist academics to be afraid that their academic freedom might be taken." (my italics) Thus does the supposed academic encourage attacks so that other academics feel the Fear. Seriously. You just can’t make this kind of stuff up.
In any event, the fact that lesser bulbs like McAdams, Michelle Malkin and Jessica McBride (still trying to get traction with, well, whatever you got) feigned bundled undies over the whole thing was properly ignored at Miller HQ in Milwaukee. Little did we know then that they had bigger fish to fry. A mere week after the wing-nut flare-up, the company announced an alliance even more unholy than they could ever have with some harmless alternate-lifestyle fringees in San Francisco. Our own Miller Brewing – at least it always seemed that way – has jumped in bed with right-wing, anti-union Coors Brewing in Colorado.
Just as Miller has lost much of its local identity and character since it was sucked into a South African brewing conglomerate, Coors has tried to take a step back in recent years from the nut-right inclinations of its founding family. Adolph's grandson Joseph Coors was in the "kitchen cabinet" of Hollywood actor Ronald Reagan and was instrumental in founding one of the bastions of the permanent right-wing misinformation campaign, the Heritage Foundation. He also contributed to the illegal terrorist Contra campaign run by Oliver North against Nicaragua in the 1980s. Since then, his son Pete Coors – still the chairman of Coors – ran as a fairly predictable right-winger for the Senate in 2004, losing to Democrat Ken Salazar.
Coors has had a long-running battle with organized labor, and labor leaders at Miller are justifiably concerned about how that will affect their status at Miller Coors. After Coors permanently replaced union workers with scabs in 1977, the AFL-CIO conducted a fairly-successful nation-wide boycott of Coors products for the next ten years. The boycott was dropped when Coors agreed to stop anti-union activity and allow a representation election, although Teamsters lost the election and the two Coors plants remain non-union.
With the battle looming over where the new Miller Coors will be headquartered, Wisconsin’s right wing finds itself hoisted on its own imaginary petard. GOP front-groups like Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce (WMC) find themselves between their own harsh election-year rhetoric about Wisconsin’s "tax hell" and trying to convince Miller Coors that this is not such a bad place after all. This is especially delicate for them at a time that their lackeys in the State Assembly are playing politics with the state budget with the same sort of reckless language about Wisconsin’s supposedly lousy business climate, etc. Senior Wing-nut Charlie Sykes has already pretty much given up trying to take back all the nonsense he has said about Wisconsin in the past, implying that the company would be crazy to headquarter in Milwaukee because of Colorado’s superior ranking by the right-wing Tax Foundation. Thanks for the help, Charlie.
With Miller’s marriage of convenience, another part of the soul of the city slips away. Coors just has too much baggage that will prevent it from ever losing its unfortunate political past and present, even if it wanted to. Now Miller carries some of that baggage and, even if the company manages to stay anchored in Milwaukee, it will now be affected by that legacy. It may be that Great Lakes and mountain water don't mix