POLITICS

U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, has never had a beer. He’s told this newspaper that at least three times.

The 85-year-old senator tells this newspaper he mentally thanked his younger self for abstaining from alcohol his entire life as he digested U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s hearing in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee, of which Grassley is chairman — a hearing full of reports of youthful boozing from the newest member of the highest court.

Grassley supported Kavanaugh and earned plaudits from President Donald Trump for guiding the justice through the tempestuous hearing that involved unproven allegations of sexual impropriety by Kavanaugh. This newspaper asked Grassley in a recent interview if, on reflection, the prominence of beer in Kavanaugh’s life’s story bothered him — or at least affirmed Grassley’s own teetotaling ways.

“Well, of course I’m glad I never had a beer,” Grassley said. “I was also thinking in terms of, well, just like I would suggest to anybody else, he’d be better off if he had never had a beer. But those are thoughts that go through your mind. And he comes from a different lifestyle than I did and stuff like that. I’m not a Harvard guy, I’m not a Yale guy. I’m a University of Northern Iowa guy, and I’m Midwestern and he’s East Coast. It’s a whole different approach to life, I think.”

In high-profile testimony in September, Kavanaugh, who earned his undergraduate and law degrees at Yale, acknowledged youthful beer guzzling in the Washington, D.C. suburbs, and even produced an early 1980s calendar decorated with references to parties and drinking.

Meanwhile, Grassley’s celebratory vices swirl the gamut from caramel to strawberry at the Dairy Queens he frequents.

As for women, even though Grassley came of age in the era of “Mad Men,” his approach to the opposite sex has been decidedly more loyal and limited. He’s never exactly been Wild For The Night.

Back in October 2017, following an event in Jefferson, this newspaper asked Grassley about the then-just-unfolding furor surrounding reports of Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein’s alleged track record of sexual assault and harassment.

“I’ve only slept in bed with one woman my entire life. Does that answer your question?” Grassley said.