... because they're deemed insufficiently mature to appreciate the risks."
Glenn Reynolds (a.k.a. Instapundit) argues that the federal drinking age in the United States should be lowered from 21 to 18 — and that Republicans are particularly well-positioned to bring about this change:
Republicans are supposed to stand for limited government, freedom and federalism, but it was under a Republican administration—and a Republican transportation secretary, Elizabeth Dole—that states were forced to raise their age limits or face financial penalties. That was before the tea party, though. Perhaps today, when Republican leaders across the board are singing the praises of limited government, it is time for them to put their money where their mouths are and support an end to the federal drinking-age mandate.There's also the fact that almost no other country in the world has such a high drinking age. And I think ours is the highest of any developed country. But I guess Republicans don't like the "America is the only country in the industrialized world..." style of framing.
And if arguments based on fairness and principle aren't enough, perhaps one based on politics will do the trick: This will get votes.
Democrats traditionally do well with the youth vote, and one reason is that they have been successful in portraying Republicans as fuddy-duddies who want to hold young people down. This may be unfair—college speech codes and the like don't tend to come from Republicans—but the evidence suggests that it works. What's more, the first few elections people vote in tend to set a long-term pattern. A move to repeal the federal drinking-age mandate might help Republicans turn this around.