I've wanted to post something on Obama's Beer Summit for some time, but I thought it best to let the dust settle before weighing in. The racial hot buttons made it harder to focus on the conflict management approach behind the engagement. I think now the time has come to process what happened.
As I've written before, I think that Obama's baseline personality predisposes him to conciliation. Momentary passions or demonstrations of calculated distress (such as the "stupidly" comment) can pull him away from that orientation in a particular window, but over time Obama resets back to the role of conflict manager. Hence this situation ending with the television video of the three men sitting at the table with beers having a civil conversation. This case became a media phenomenon because of the intersection of class, celebrity, and connections to the White House -- there are far worse examples of police over-reaction that have generated much less media attention. Read more about Beer Summits and Presidential Mediations