Rep. Paul Ryan waxed eloquent at CPAC Thursday on how completely Republicans understand the American people, in stark contrast to how "the left" is offering people "a full stomach and an empty soul." Offering children a stomach full of school lunch, to be precise.
Ryan cited a story he heard from Eloise Anderson, who "serves in the cabinet of my buddy Scott Walker." Anderson told Ryan of an encounter with:
... a young boy from a very poor family, and every day at school he would get a free lunch from a government program. He told Eloise he didn’t want a free lunch. He wanted his own lunch, one in a brown paper bag, just like the other kids.Hey, maybe if we take that kid's free school lunch away, his parents will be able to scrounge up a brown paper bag to send him to school with every day. It'll be empty, like his stomach, but whatever, brown paper bag = love.
He wanted one, he said, because he knew a kid with a brown paper bag had someone who cared for him. This is what the left does not understand.
What the left doesn't understand, apparently, is that this child should go hungry because it's been made clear to him that being poor means his parents somehow love him less. Trust Ryan to miss the pathos of a child having been taught this. And what about kids whose parents send them to school with lunch money, not brown paper bags, because both of their parents work and do not have time to be packing a lunch every day? Ryan's version of parental love doesn't make room for them either. What else might he require for a family to qualify as loving—a mother who meets the kids at the door after school bearing freshly baked cookies?
If you're middle class and living a 1950s sitcom lifestyle, there's room for you in Paul Ryan's vision of non-empty souls. But, as poll after poll shows, American voters prefer a Democratic vision of a higher minimum wage, unemployment aid, Social Security, and a host of other programs that Ryan's "empty soul" rhetoric is designed to cheapen.