Paul Ryan and the wine bottle(s)


So the wine found on his table is expensive.

1) No one said he knew the price of the bottle of wine, and

2) No one said he paid for it, and

3) It is said he used “private funds.”

(And depending on which version you read, all or some of the above will be wrong.)

It will be interesting to get the details to this story.

I can honestly say I’ve been treated to dinner when I wasn’t given a wine menu. I think perhaps it is a bit presumptious to say Ryan is at fault without knowing the details. And to the cranky lady that wants to make a big deal about it — well I have to ask, what did your bill total? Maybe indulgence is only bad for Republicans.

(To be honest, the whole thing ticks me off. I miss integrity. Even if Ryan didn’t know the price and didn’t pay the bill, he’s still supporting a lifestyle as an elected representative that most of his constituents will never know. It is a little shame-filled to be at the restaurant at all.)


  1. Ryan is on the record here. He didn’t order the wine, had no idea what it cost, and (from caution) paid for one bottle himself. He also thinks that $350/bottle is “stupid” purchase.

    But yes, he has a PR problem.

    I disagree that he has an “integrity” problem. There is no foundation for the claim that he is dishonest.

  2. Every company has expense/gift guidelines and our goverment should have the same. Did he violate any should be the question.

  3. Randy in Richmond says:

    Wait a minute, did I miss something here ? Ryan was on his own time, in a public restaurant, not at a government function. The only public funds involved was the sales tax on his meal. If he wants to purchase expensive anything, on his own dime, so be it. His frugality is with spending the people’s dime, as it should be.

    To compare this to John Edward’s $800 for haircut(s) shows the idiocy of the article’s writer. Edward’s used campaign funds at the time to pay for his ‘do’ and we now know he also used those same funds for other dalliances.

  4. Ok. So you wouldn’t say it’s an integrity problem. I still do. Either he’s a man of the people or he isn’t. A man truly of the people doesn’t suck down $350 a bottle wine. It blows any pretense that he’s just like me.

  5. The article reads like a desperate attempt to try to lower Paul Ryan to John Edwards level.

    It ain’t working for me.

  6. Totally agree, Cindy, that this exposes questionable personal integrity. I don’t think Ryan is a speck like anyone normal. You can’t be when you choose the life he has chosen. He has plans for the presidency; his ego has expanded beyond his humble roots. But, alas, that is the story of anyone in the lifetime politics game. He’s just one of The Club, no surprise.

    I don’t buy the idea that the guy with a mathematical mind who touts understanding the federal budget to level he has stated, and is the poster-boy for fiscal conservatism did not know the price of the bottle of wine. Or at least an inkling. So I question his honesty or integrity in fudging on his answer. Also. Calling the woman ‘crazy’ is another sign of defensive behavior.

  7. Odd. I don’t recall Ryan ever pushing the line that he’s ‘a man of the people.’

    And–to repeat HIS statement on the matter–he didn’t know what the wine cost; he merely bought the second bottle for the dinner.

    Now, if you said that he should more carefully consider where he munches lunches, I’d agree wholeheartedly.

    Time for us to start a Webb’s franchise in DC?

  8. just like we tell the kids. “just say no”.

  9. Dad29. So, just curious. Do you consider Paul Ryan’s persona an intellectual elitist? (John Kerry comes to mind.) I’ve never perceived Ryan trying to set himself above the common folk, but That he speaks more of his humble beginnings and Midwestern work-ethic. I’d interpret that as ‘of’ my type of people. But maybe I missed something, and he prefers to project a cameleon-like Ivy League identity.

  10. Randy in Richmond says:

    When a possibly intoxicated, liberal college professor starts eavesdropping on a US Congressman having dinner at a public restaurant, red flags go up in my mind. Furthermore she then get’s into his personal business about what he’s eating and drinking, to the extent she starts taking pictures. She additionally approaches him about who he’s having a meal with, which is quite frankly, none of her business, and tell’s him he has no business using his own money for whatever he wants.She further questions whether his fellow diners are lobbyists–again, none of her business. To finish this off she emails her account to a reporter.

    If you would like to see the Bistro Bis wine menu that shows the $350 Echezeaux, it is here.
    (go to Winelist, cellar selections)

    You will also notice that there are, contrary to Professor Weinberg’s assertion, more expensive wines on this page of the menu and others on other pages.

    On her own website she lists as one of her highlights:
    “°Served on the International Economic Advisory team, 2004 Kerry-Edwards Campaign”

    No, nothing wrong with this appointment but it does further indicate which way the wind is blowing.

    It would be interesting to know Ms. Feinberg’s blood alcohol level after she fininshed her whining and dinning.

  11. I would care a little more about her behavior if she was an elected official. Or coyly ( to some, flagrantly to others) planning a US Presidential bid. He is; she is not.

  12. Randy in Richmond says:

    I don’t get your point RL. Elected officials can’t eat out ?

  13. Of course they can.
    I don’t get your not getting my point. But that’s OK.

  14. Randy in Richmond says:

    Then you must mean you care about Congressman Ryan’s behavior. What did he do wrong ?

  15. To comment in Paul Ryan style. A.) A numbers geek who is an elected official dining in an upscale restaurant with two (conservative, I’m assuming) economists should ( would, I’d assume) know the price of what he’s consuming. And, B.) It was beneath him to engage and let the woman ‘get to him’ by insinuating in his comment on the episode that she was drunk and crazy. he should have more control than that. After all, he is the one in public office. I think that was a rookie-style PR mistake. I expect better of Mr. Ryan.

  16. RiR. I had posted my comment before I read your question. Not really interested in a verbal volley with you. If you don’t get it or don’t like what I think that’s OK. You could always call me drunk and crazy. 🙂

  17. Randy in Richmond says:

    In my reading of the incident, initiated by Ms. Feinberg, I totally disagree with your conclusions. On that we can agree. 🙂

  18. Agreed on the disagreement thing. BTW. Generally, I have a more favorable view of Ryan than unfavorable. Just so you know that. Not a hater of him or his ideas by any means, but not totally sold on the guy, thinking he’s All That. I just think he needs more self-awareness of his environment if he wants to run for the top office. But, I still don’t agree with your take on the exchange.

  19. The Lorax says:

    This controversy is stupid. Let’s move on to the real issues.

    I’ve had a $350 bottle of wine before, and i’m embarrassed to say I really didn’t appreciate it’s apparent worth.

    Randy, why don’t you circle the wagons for the night and stop muckraking. Sometimes the only reason I respond with some ridiculous assertion on these posts is because you’ve just posited one!

    Cindy’s right–bad PR move, but not a whole lot more than that.

  20. The Lorax says:

    Didn’t catch that, RL. Rookie mistake is a perfect descriptor!

  21. Randy in Richmond says:

    Gee, another liberal who thinks he’s God and wants to butt into other people’s business. You can’t just comment on the topic, and there is a topic, you have to get personal. And the muckraking is the article Cindy linked to that we as bloggers are discussing. All you had to do was state your first 2 lines, but no, you had to show your elitism and suggest we move on from such a mundane issue. Maybe some of us like this mundane issue and it’s none of your damn business.

  22. I’m with The Lorax (19) and Randy’s first comment (#3). It’s a non-issue.

    Ryan should be more careful knowing that the Left is looking for any little thing they can use against him. Every lefty, it seems, is involved in these efforts against Republicans.

    Conservatives don’t seem to do that as well.

  23. It’s just a chink out of Ryan’s armor, that’s all. He was pretty easy to defend prior to his snobbish wine move. Now? Whatever.

  24. The Lorax says:

    Get a room then if it’s so private.

    Did I strike a nerve? Yeah, it’s mundane. And since this is a FREE COUNTRY, and this blog is for people to voice their opinions – I will continue to do so.

    Is it personal to say your assertions are sometimes ridiculous? I don’t think so. I had to remark on them since I found your post to be obtuse, as I sometimes do.

    Your a big boy, though. So I trust you can handle my singeing elitism!

  25. Lorax, it’s my blog. Free country or not, I can still toss you. It’s fair for you to voice your opinion, but it’s also fair for Randy to label you elitist.

  26. The Lorax says:


  27. You just caught me on a good night. I had a half a bottle of a $7.99 wine myself when I got home. 🙂 A lively Moscato that is my new favorite summer wine. I love the bubbles.

  28. The Lorax says:

    I picked up a $3.99 bottle of Riesling to enjoy tomorrow night for dinner. But Moscato sure does sound good! You’re right–great summer wine.

    I’m trying to become more of a vino-snob, so you see.

  29. We kind of have a $10 price point around here for just us. There’s a cellar full for that or less. I argue after the first glass it doesn’t really matter anyway. Sadly, reds started giving me a headache a couple of years ago, so I’ve learned to like whites better. Not really drinking much of it since I’ve been dieting.

  30. Well. Let’s hope that no blog-proprietors around here belong to the MAC, or Western Racquet, or Moorland.

    And the next time ANYONE is invited to lunch, they’d damn well better make sure it’s at 5 Brothers, not the joint on Bluemound road which is advertising a burger for “only” $10.95.

    And it better be Miller Lite.

  31. No, Dad29, I’m not going to let you get away with that. It wasn’t a $100 per person dinner. That happens all the time. It was a $350 bottle of wine. I think there’s a difference.

    (And no to the club memberships for this blogger, although the spouse has a University Club membership from work.)

  32. Get away with WHAT, Cindy?

    A $100.00 meal is just as asinine as a $350.00 bottle of wine.

    When YOUR hosts at a meal purchase a bottle of wine, do YOU look at the wine-menu to ascertain the price? Do you rudely decline the offering because you’re a populist?

    Face it. The whole thing, brought up by some 3/4-drunken Perfessor-ette, is petty.

  33. Whoahhh, Dad29. Do you cook at all? A hundred dollar meal is much more legit than a $350 bottle of wine. Curiously, recently, a family member of mine was wined and dined at a 5star establishment in The City That Never Sleeps. What did he text me about? The $350 bottles of wine ( entrees were under a hundee). He wasn’t paying, but he did pay attention to the cost of the wine. I can’t believe a smartypants penny pincher like Ryan wouldn’t be AT Least as observant ( or curious, or responsible). AND HE wAS WITH 2 ‘ECONOMISTS’ who were there to dicuss our failing economy. Isn’t that a curiosity in itself? That 3 guys like that can be so removed from awareness of reality and perception?

    You all, Libs or Consevatives, seem to know exactly what you pay for your wine. The only issue I really have with Ryan is his amateurish response to the situation.

    One last thing, since there’s apparently more than one wine snob wannabe here… Any recommendations for a good, moderately priced Elderberry wine?

  34. RL, I am unable to discern a point in your post.

    Frankly, I NEVER pay attention to the cost of a frickin’ bottle of beer when someone ELSE buys it for me. Only some 3/4 drunk college professor-ette would look it up in order to set off her b*&^%-o-switch.

    Maybe you’ve never been to lunch in polite company, or your Mom didn’t bother telling you about social graces.

    Read Miss Manners, RL.

    BTW, just came back from a very nice upper-end establishment. Had dinner. Entrees, all of them, were <$35.00. DC is a disease, not a city.

  35. Randy in Richmond says:

    I would suggest that the three men, whose occupations have nothing to do with where they eat or how much they pay, were helping the economy, though I suspect that had nothing to do with their choice of eatery. My guess is they were very aware of where they were eating and why, until the cranky lady interupted them.

  36. This is my point. In this economy, I think most are aware of the cost of most everything. Except these three guys, who happen to be experts on the economy and spending at a national level. It’s so easy to manufacture a ‘ cranky drunk woman’ to deflect their own removed-from-the-common-folk behavior. I see a disconnect. Obviously you two do not.

  37. Oh. Dad29. What is up with your crankiness? Uhm. I have social graces, and would not care to insult your dear mother.

    Graciously yours,
    Miss Manners

  38. Randy in Richmond says:

    I understand your point. However, the cranky lady was not manufactured–we just listened to what she said and what she did, from her own words. She manufactured herself. I would draw this conclusion independent of anything anyone else said. She said she was “emboldened” which I would interpret to mean if she wasn’t emboldened, i.e. not drinking, she wouldn’t have done what she did.

  39. RiR. Rational response appreciated. :). I do not appreciate Ryan’s snarky attitude by insinuating she had too much to drink. It doesn’t become his office; I expect better of him. I was disappointed that instead of stopping the conversation with his explanation of the facts, his defensiveness took over and he turned on the woman. He should have not engaged in personal speculation concerning her state of soberness.

  40. Randy in Richmond says:

    Cindy, I liked it. Byron York is a respected journalist and basically he cooked Ms Feinberg’s goose. He threw water on the flames of this internet story and her no comment says it all. Nothing has come out to indicate anything other than what Rep. Ryan has stated from the beginning happened. He paid $42 including tax for a meal and his friend(s) ordered expensive wine. As a politician he covered himself by paying for one of the bottles of wine. A cranky lady tried to “Weiner” him and it failed.

  41. Ryan told TPM that his two dinner-mates had ordered the wine, and that he, Ryan, didn’t know what it cost and drank only one glass. Ryan’s explanation was supported by TPM’s account, presumably based on Feinberg’s recollection, which said that when Feinberg confronted Ryan about the cost of his wine, “Ryan said only: ‘Is that how much it was?'”

    Them’s the facts. Ovarian-overloaded folks such as RL will ignore them.

  42. I can buy most of those facts except that Ryan had only one glass. That means his table mates drank 1/2 a glass less than a bottle each. That’s fast drinking over a couple of hours.

    And dad29, your “ovarian” comment is out of line and you are out of here for the rest of this thread. You are one misogynistic jerk, but then I’ve known that for a while, haven’t I? I enjoy your candor sometimes, but when you go off, it’s really unpleasant.

  43. I see no problem with having ovaries, so whatever dad29’s insult was didn’t have his intended result. But thanks, Cindy, for booting someone so pathetically juvenile.

    Maybe a full bottle of wine caused Ryan’s table buddy to tell the ovaries ( oh, I mean, woman) to eff-off? Cindy, since you booted dad29 today, perhaps he can go hang with the likes of the economist, ( but really hedge fund guy) loaded with testosterone and Echezeaux, Mr. Asness.

  44. And Ryan also said this, (although he did not use ovaries in his judgement). Just drunk and crazy. The woman, that’s who Ryan was talking about, not the ‘economist’ he so idolizes, Mr. Asness.

    Mr. dad29’s post just made my point about what irked me about Mr. Ryan’s’s response to the confrontation.

    “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. For her part, Feinberg said she believes the economist at the table who got out his seat to challenge her was the one intoxicated.”

  45. Randy in Richmond says:

    Interesting. If a hedge fund manager can’t be an economist, can an economist be a hedge fund manager ?

    And since Ms Feinberg called herself an economist, does that mean she can’t be a college professor ?

  46. America’s accountant has no idea of the prices on the menu that he orders? It is nice to know that the recession that is devastating Janesville has not touched him.

    You cant compare this to Edwards, while edwards was out of touch at least he has good ideas. I would compare this more to the the time Poppy Bush didnt know the price of milk or how a grocery store scanner worked. They want to be career politicians they just dont want to be around the peasants. It cramps their style. People should be ruled not heard from.

  47. J. Strupp says:

    I wouldn’t care if Ryan ordered a thousand dollar bottle of wine and poured it down the drain in front of the press. He can do whatever the heck he wants on his own time with his own money. None of these guys are men, “of the people” anyway. They’re politicians, which means they have money, are vain by nature and at least a little bit full of crap. The sooner we all just accept those realities the better.

    That being said, the fact that Ryan hangs out with free market zombies like Cochrane pretty much reinforces my worry that Ryan would simply be a complete nightmare for middle and lower class Americans if he got anywhere near the Presidency. This should be the real story here.

    Better take note of this guy folks. You outta have your head examined if you think this guy Ryan serves your interests.

  48. “None of these guys are men, “of the people” anyway. They’re politicians, which means they have money, are vain by nature and at least a little bit full of crap.”

    I loved that.

    The fact that he would buy a thousand dollar bottle of wine would worry me, too. If he’s that ridiculous with his own money, what’s he going to do with mine?

  49. This is such a non-story. So what if he wants to pay $$ for wine? let him. agrees too

  50. Well Mr., I’ll warn you the longer Republicans pretend this is a “non-story” the faster they are going to lose their momentum.

    It’s a story. Maybe not everyone wants to admit it, but it’s a story. It will be saved for just the right time, but when it lands, folks will notice.

  51. We know what Paul ryan does when he is in charge of our money…..he hands it to wall st. no questions asked!

    The Republicans had momentum? ANd I mised it?

  52. Cindy. File your comment, you are right. I’m sure there someone is busily interviewing for opposition research, and who knows what muddle awaits, whether factual or not. It is a potential problem. It’s really not about the wine, but about authentic conservatism (perceived or valid) and Ryan’s lack of ability to manage his own public reactions in this 24/7 digital world.

  53. Jeff, you probably counted November 2010 as one of those dreams where you’ll wake up and all the Democrats will be in charge again. Goofy guy.

  54. nope repubs had tons of momentum right up until walker introduced his budget repair bill. they have been on the run evrr since.

  55. Jeff, so that explains Prosser’s win. (That’s sarcasm.)

  56. J. Strupp says:

    What the hell are you talking about Simpson?

  57. Zuma Bound says:

    @ Cindy and RandyInRichmond

    How is it that you justifying calling The Lorax an elitist, but still find a way to avoid having to admit that $350 bottle of wine-swilling Paul Ryan is most certainly “an elitist”? There’s more than a little irony, hypocrisy and humor in that.

    And, Cindy, it is your blog, but do you need to be so thin-skinned and overbearing as to threaten to throw The Lorax off your blog for his truly gentle prodding of Randy In Richmond? Randy over-acted. So did you.

  58. Dear Zuma Bound,

    Obviously reading comprehension isn’t a strong skill you possess.

    And I threw Lorax off? Really? Well he’s ba-a-a-ck. I’ve known Lorax for years. Like it or not, he’s a part of me. 🙂

  59. Randy in Richmond says:

    When someone purports to claim that the subject matter is beneath them and tells me to shut up and move on–that’s elitist. If that’s what you think-go to another post or site without making it personal. Apparently the subject was not mundane, regardless of which side one falls on, as this will be the 59th post.

    I have never associated what one buys or spends private money on as being elitist. And who are you, or anybody else, to tell an elected official how to spend his own money. There’s no hypocrisy here. And drinking a glass of wine makes one a wine-swiller ?

    Here’s a gentle prod – put your comments away for the night.

  60. The Lorax says:

    The issue is mundane, and while suggesting you “circle the wagons for the night” is not quite telling you to shut up, it seems as though this wagon train is more akin to the Donner Party.

    Cindy didn’t kick me – but she likes to threaten me. I still maintain I was pretty gentle, as I did think Randy’s Hamletesque soliloquy was way off base.

  61. I don’t threaten you. I shake my finger at you. There’s a difference.

  62. The Lorax says:

    I think we need to relive our experience at Goolsby’s. That was back when Bob Flessas was still out in public. *giggles*