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Posted by on Jul 9, 2011 in Economy, Politics | 12 comments

Paul Ryan: Let Them Drink Gallo (His $350 Bottle of Wine Moment)

My, oh, my. And here I was yesterday agonizing over whether I should get a special occasion bottle of wine that sold for $18 because I always buy wines on sale (like three for $10 at Sprouts). Rep. Paul Ryan — you know, the one who wants to slash the budget and redo Medicare in a way that in its totality will negatively impact seniors and poor people – was spotted drinking a $350 bottle of wine.

With Marie Antoinette it was “Let them eat cake.” Apparently with Paul Ryan it’s “Let them drink Gallo.” The Atlantic’s Joshua Green:

Remember John Edwards’s $400 haircut? That turned out to be quite a problem for him. It looks like Paul Ryan is about have a similar problem on his hands. According to this astounding article (with pictures) at Talking Points Memo, Ryan — the leader of the tighten-your-belt, fiscal-austerity crowd — is in the habit of drinking $350-a-bottle wine, specifically Jayer-Gilles 2004 Echezeaux Grand Cru. In fact, Ryan enjoyed two bottles of this fancy Pinor Noir while dining the other night with a pair of conservative economists at Bistro Bis, the swanky Capitol Hill restaurant favored by lobbyists and other expense-account barons.

Ryan was sipping the wine the vast majority of Americans could never dream about drinking let along drink when the debt ceiling talks were going on at the White House — talks involving some tough budget cuts.

In posts and in private conversations I’ve often noted that the folks who most talk about slashing the budget, and taking things away from poor people or seniors or the middle class that’s struggling, don’t struggle. They are usually pampered talk show hosts who rent jets or fly in their own jets and don’t have to worry about where their next $10,000 will come from let alone their nexte $100 — or their next payment for a doctor’s visit. Or they are politicians who often were lawyers, have fat bank accounts, get government health care (you know the awful kind that will destroy the country if offered to the peons on the street) and don’t have to worry where their next meal is coming from as they sit like aristocrats in the Congressional dining room sipping Senate bean soup and eating gourmet lunches that cannot be confused with Jack in the Box or Top Raman.

But partisans on their side will never want to point this out. It’s all a big sports event now where “winning” is what matters. So he drinks $350 wine? What does that matter?

I’m sure on Monday a talk show host or blogger will suggest that Ryan was drinking the wine because only that wine that costly would help ease the pain he was feeling due to his budget’s impacts on the poor, children, and the elderly.

And cows fly.

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  • SteveinCH

    Seriously Joe?

    I don’t seem to remember the outrage about the President spending $75,000 or more for his “date night” in NY with Michelle.

    The only differences of course are that $75,000 is more than 200 times as much as $350 and the Obama’s spent the public’s money rather than their own.

    This is well below your standards.

  • Absalon

    The difference is that Ryan wants to make it less likely that people who currently can’t afford (drinkable) wine will someday be able to. Obama doesn’t.

    Ryan is a sadist and an objectivist. It simply is not possible to be too hostile or unfair when trying to bring him down and demonize him.

  • SteveinCH

    Wow, personal insults again. How surprising.

  • mwade002

    He lives the good life sucking taxes out of our paychecks.


    How revealing. The only time Democrats care about someone living the high life is when it is a Republican. And the only time Republicans care is when it is a Democrat.

  • joewxman

    Its truly a shame that unlike John Edwards, Mr Ryan used his own money to buy wine. Maybe next time he will use the taxpayer’s money so you might have a real story to crucify him with.

  • merkin

    Steve, I don’t think that Mr. Grandelman was slandering (libeling would be more accurate) Paul Ryan. He was making a point about who makes policy in this country. When you have millionaire talking heads framing the debate, millionaires paying millionaire lobbyists to write the bills for millionaire legislators to pass and millionaire pundits telling us how wonderful this whole democratic process is where the really tough choices are being made, is there any wonder that those policies end up favoring millionaires at the cost of everyone else?

    (I often wonder how much longer it will be for the near rich, the just barely rich to realize that after the middle class is squeezed completely that they will be the next to be targeted, the next to be bled dry?)

    (Foolish me, I always thought that outsourcing would stop when corporate executives finally realized that their jobs can be outsourced just as easily and produce much more savings than outsourcing the customer call centers.

    I guess ignorance is at the root of much arrogance.)

  • SteveinCH


    I don’t think I used the word slander or libel anywhere so you can put that strawman away.

    Oddly enough, it’s also millionaires making the argument to tax and spend our way to nirvana. Pretty much everyone in Washington is wealthy by the standards of the country so I’m not sure why singling out Paul Ryan is of particular merit.

    As for bleeding dry, it’s a relatively fact free assertion. You seem to believe, without any proof that I can find, that government is driving wage rates in the country. I’m still not sure the basis on which you make that claim.

    Certainly in terms of tax rates, the only people that the Federal government has been bleeding are people in the say 80th to 99th percentiles. Those are the people whose Federal taxes are actually higher over the last 40 years. Nobody else’s are.

    It’s not that I don’t think there’s merit in your point about influence in Washington, rather, I believe that the only solution is to take the power away as opposed to trying to constrain the ways it is used or influenced. Said differently, we’ve spent the last 80 years giving the Federal government more and more power over us. People like you express surprise that folks would work really hard to influence the people with that much power. Your solution is to try to limit access to that power while continuing the process of giving more power to Washington. Never realizing that the more power you give, the more influence is worth and the harder it will be to control.

  • Dr. J

    He was making a point about who makes policy in this country…. Is there any wonder that those policies end up favoring millionaires at the cost of everyone else?

    Merkin, of course he’s making a point about who makes policy. That’s virtually the only point the left ever makes about policy…except for vague assertions that the right’s policies benefit millionaires.

    How about actually demonstrating how specific policies actually benefit millionaires, rather than suggesting that we can infer that they do based on a $350 bottle of wine?

  • I didn’t care about John Edwards haircut. The Obama Date. Or Paul Ryan’s wine purchases. And I’m not saying “I don’t care” in a nasty way at all. In the constant campaign of politics, these wine purchases, dates, and haircuts are used as sometimes potent bullets against opponents. But in the scheme of things, we regular folks don’t want regular folks to get into public office. If a real everyday man or woman ran for President, people would say that all they’ve done is work one job and haven’t done much of anything. We like our Congressfolks and Presidents rich and exceptional. We regular folks like star power because no one does star power better than the grand ol’ United States of America. We are the marketing and advertising experts BAR NONE.

    A sizable number of Americans admire Paul Ryan’s ability to purchase that $350 bottle of wine without issue because they want to have that earning power. But in the same vein, will use it against political opponents as a sign of aloofness and arrogance. We can have it both ways in the political game because it is package and sold that way.

    Viva la America!

  • dduck

    Spoilsports. Ryan: enjoy while you can, time enough later to do the typical reverse snob routine with glasses of beer when you are campaigning for reelection and spouting platitudes and insincere promises to the crowd.

  • DLS

    This wouldn’t be “news” at all if it were a(nother) Democrat doing it.

    (With public funds, to which they’re Entitled, of course and no doubt)

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