Activists Bash Paul Ryan’s $350 Pinot Splurge with Faux Wine Tasting

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/gageskidmore/5446298349/sizes/m/in/photostream/">Gage Skidmore</a>/Flickr

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GOP Rep. Paul Ryan, the wonky Wisconsinite who has proposed privatizing Medicare and cutting other entitlement programs, was left red-faced a few weeks ago when he was spotted sharing two $350 bottles of wine at a posh French restaurant in Washington, DC. His drinking buddies: famed hedge fund “whiner” Clifford Asness and University of Chicago economist John Cochrane.

An embarassed Ryan told Talking Points Memo, which broke the story, that he didn’t know how much the wine had cost, and said he wouldn’t buy it again if given the choice.

But that wasn’t the last word on Ryan’s spending spree. On Wednesday, the Wisconsin Republican’s constituents gave him a taste of his own Pinot, staging a faux wine-tasting protest at Ryan’s office in Racine, in southeast Wisconsin, to highlight what they saw as the congressman’s stunning hypocrisy. “The symbolism of Paul Ryan sipping outlandishly expensive wine at fancy Washington bistro is in many ways more powerful than all the devastating statistics about his plan to destroy Medicaid and Medicare as we know them,” Robert Kraig, the executive director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin, said in a statement. “Ryan’s plan shifts precious public resources needed to make good on our national commitment to fund Medicaid and Medicare to the very people who can already afford to drink grossly overpriced wine—the wealthy and health insurance industry CEOs.”

Here’s a video of the protest:

Paul Ryan Wine Tasting Protest at Racine Office, Tuesday July 19th from Matt Brusky on Vimeo.

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Fact:

In-depth journalism that investigates the powerful takes real money and is so damn important right now.But it doesn’t take a Mother Jones investigation to know that billionaires and corporations will never fund the type of reporting (like they do politicians) we do that exists to help bring about change. Instead, our mission-driven journalism is made possible by people power, and has been for 46 years now since our founding as a non-profit.

In “TITLE TK” Monica Bauerlein writes about the perilous moment we’re in, and why it’s so important that we raise $325,000 by the time November’s midterms are decided so we can be ready to throw everything we have at the big issues facing the nation no matter what happens. Please help MoJo’s people-powered journalism with a donation today.

$400,000 to go!

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