I can't resist. I posted a couple comments earlier in diaries by Joan McCarter and TexMex, reminding us all of the classic Paul Ryan moment from last summer, when he was seen in a Washington DC restaurant, drinking with two lobbyists, enjoying two $350 bottles of wine. Pinot Noir.
Here's the original story: Rep. Ryan Tastes The Grapes Of Wrath.
For you connoisseurs out there, that would be a $350 Jayer-Gilles 2004 Echezeaux Grand Cru. Highlights from the story:
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), a leading advocate of shrinking entitlement spending and the architect of the plan to privatize Medicare, spent Wednesday evening sipping $350 wine with two like-minded conservative economists at the swanky Capitol Hill eatery Bistro Bis.Paul, Paul! The peasants have no Two Buck Chuck! "Let them drink a Jayer-Gilles 2004 Echezeaux Grand Cru!"
Susan Feinberg, an associate business professor at Rutgers, was at Bistro Bis celebrating her birthday with her husband that night. When she saw the label on the bottle of Jayer-Gilles 2004 Echezeaux Grand Cru Ryan’s table had ordered, she quickly looked it up on the wine list and saw that it sold for an eye-popping $350, the most expensive wine in the house along with one other with the same pricetag.You cannot make this stuff up. So we already know what symbolic object to show up at rallies with and to put on our signs: fine French wine bottles.
Feinberg, an economist by training, was even more appalled when the table ordered a second bottle. She quickly did the math and figured out that the $700 in wine the trio consumed over the course of 90 minutes amounted to more than the entire weekly income of a couple making minimum wage.
Feinberg knew if the men were lobbyists, or worked for a firm or company that employs lobbyists, then paying for such expensive wine would be a violation of Congressional ethics rules barring members from accepting anything of value from lobbyists. Members can also run into trouble if they accept more than $100 per year from anyone - even a friend.Ah, what is a little Republican elite inconspicuous consumption in a glass without a little corruption chaser!
After ending their meal and paying the check, Feinberg decided to give Ryan a piece of her mind. She approached the table and asked Ryan “how he could live with himself” sipping expensive wine while advocating for cuts to programs for seniors and the poor. Some verbal jousting between Feinberg and the other two men ensued. One of the two men said he had ordered the wine, was drinking it and paying for it. In hearing how much the wine cost, Ryan said only: “Is that how much it was?”Sweet. Isn't that lovely. But I'm sure the noble Ryan intervened in a statesmanlike show of chivalry....
The clash became especially heated when Feinberg asked the men if they were lobbyists.
“F—— her,” one of them replied and stood up in a menacing way, according to Feinberg’s account.
Ryan does not dispute most of the details of Feinberg’s account, although he told TPM the two men are economists, not lobbyists, and characterized Feinberg as “crazy” and possibly drunk.So add into the mix a little sexism and condescension. But he is man of principle and careful thought:
TPM caught up with Ryan after a vote outside of the Speaker’s lobby. In further explaining his side of the story, Ryan said he only had one glass of wine out of the two bottles but decided when it came time to pay the bill that he should pay for one of the bottles of wine out of an abundance of caution.Ethics, Ryan style:
When asked more directly whether he thought it was appropriate to be ordering $350 wine while pushing for cuts to benefits for seniors and the poor, Ryan conceded that it’s “stupid” to pay that much for a bottle of wine and said he wouldn’t do so again.Now, lest we think that this is a silly little diary about a irrelevant incident... there is some useful substance to consider:
Ryan said his two “friends” are economists, not lobbyists, but would not give their names to TPM. He said one of the men is an economist “he reads a lot” and the two have conversed before so he invited him to Washington so they could meet. “I read a lot about this economist. I’ve enjoyed what he’s written. I wanted to pick hisAnd who was said economist? Let us return to that source of all good knowledge, Daily Kos, and the diary of Laura Clawson from 11 July 2011, "Paul Ryan's dinner companions, not the $350 wine, are the story". Laura in turn cites TPM's article Paul Ryan’s $700-Wine-Sipping Buddies: Hedge Fund Manager And University Of Chicago Economist:
brain … so that’s what we did,” Ryan explained.
Both men have doctorate degrees in economics and are well-known in the conservative media world as die-hard proponents of the free market's ability to right itself without government bailouts when the crisis hit in late 2008.There, captured for all the internet to see: the plotting, over $350 wines, of the vulture capital war on the middle class, DC style. I live in Wisconsin. My relatives live in his district. Paul Ryan is a known entity to them and to us all. Now you will get to know him.
[Cliff] Asness, who ordered the wine and who, according to Feinberg was the one who said "Fuck her," is better known as a high-profile hedge fund manager. Asness founded and runs AQR Capital, which manages an estimated $26 billion in a variety of traditional products and hedge funds, and his life story has been the subject of numerous books and articles about the rise and fall of Wall Street. He's also grabbed headlines for being one of the most voluble opponents of President Obama's economic policies.
[John] Cochrane, the other, more tempered dinner companion, is the AQR Capital Management Distinguished Service Professor of Finance at the University of Chicago, an apparent tip of the hat to the contributions Asness' AQR Capital Management has made to the Booth School of Business there.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is going to be fun. Break out your bottles of Two Buck Chuck and watch the games begin.