At first blush, attacking someone for a DUI when they haven’t been found guilty of one is probably a bad idea.
But Democrats have discovered a choice quote from a Republican congressional candidate in Florida, in which he refers to alcoholic drinks as “adult beverages” and attacks organizations like Mothers Against Drunk Driving for criminalizing drunken driving as bad for the restaurant industry.
“The day the American public feels they are committing an illegal act by consuming an adult beverage and driving home will be the day our industry is hurt,” remarked Florida’s Craig Miller, onetime president of Uno’s restaurants, who is running for a seat in Florida’s 24th district.
Miller, who led the now-bankrupt pizza chain, made the comments to a trade magazine.
“I’m in the adult beverage business,” said Miller, then-president and chief executive of Uno Restaurant Corp, in a 2001 interview. “I serve alcoholic beverages because my guests want them. And if laws are passed, supported by a business partner of mine, that criminalize the behavior of my guests, then that doesn’t sit well with me.”
In 2000, Democrats note that he also said, “Once [a blood alcohol level of] 0.08 becomes law, why not 0.05 or 0.02?”
Roll Call’s “Heard on the Hill” gossip column, meanwhile, took the opposing Democratic congressperson’s spokesman to task, for allegedly assaulting a “fellow patron at a Dupont Circle bar last August.”
“We couldn’t help but see a glass-house-stone-throwing situation afoot,” the authors write.
“You’d think [Democratic Congresswoman Suzanne] Kosmas would go to great lengths to avoid a discussion about irresponsible drinking and the politicians who condone it,” National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Andy Sere told the paper. “But it’s hard to blame her — with Central Florida’s unemployment rate at 12 percent, who wants to talk about jobs?”
Democrats, meanwhile, used a regional press secretary to bash Miller.
“It’s increasingly clear that Craig Miller is ok with families being in danger on the roadway as long as he gets his payday,” Jesse Ferguson, Southern Regional Press Secretary at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said in a statement. “Craig Miller doesn’t care who he hurts as long as he sends the customer out the door with another drink for the road and their money in his hands. With nearly a thousand deaths to drunk driving every year in Florida alone, Florida families won’t elect someone who would rather protect his corporate profits than regulate this kind of dangerous behavior. Florida families value their safety too much to make it Miller Time in Washington any time soon.”
Democrats note that Florida reported 875 alcohol related fatalities in 2008.