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.
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.