Today In BS: Paul Ryan And The “Free Government Lunch”

Stop Whining About Overreaching

A story from outside Colorado, but illustrative for when the same thing happens here. Which it does. A lot. Raw Story:

[Rep. Paul] Ryan’s remarks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Thursday regarding a “young boy from a very poor family” relying on “a government program” for his lunches was strikingly similar to the premise of the book An Invisible Thread, which recounted author Laura Schroff’s 1986 meeting with an 11-year-old “homeless panhandler” named Maurice, who was receiving lunches through a school program…

On Thursday, Ryan recounted nearly the exact same story, attributing it to Wisconsin Department of Children and Families Director Eloise Anderson, who was appointed by Gov. Scott Walker (R). But Ryan said it was Anderson who met a young student who told her he did not want a lunch from a government program, but one served in a brown paper bag.

“He wanted one, he said, because he knew a kid with a brown paper bag had someone who cared for him,” Ryan said. “This is what the left does not understand.” [Pols emphasis]

Rep. Paul Ryan (R).

Rep. Paul Ryan (R).

The Los Angeles Times has a little more of Ryan's speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference yesterday:

"She once met 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. He wanted one, he said, because he knew a kid with a brown-paper bag had someone who cared for him."

In Ryan's hands, this became a lesson for "the left….What they’re offering people is a full stomach and an empty soul."

But as it turns out, Ryan's story was lifted and misattributed from an almost thirty-year-old (that is, Reagan administration) story about a panhandling kid in New York City, not Wisconsin–who didn't want the author's money, but was happy to take food in a brown paper bag because it implied a caring home life. The true story had nothing whatsoever to do with a "government program" of any kind. Times:

So we start with a story about a harried sales executive learning about life from an abandoned child. That gets transformed, via the Republican wringer, into a lesson about the supposedly soul-sapping effect of a government nutritional program, and thence into a reproach to "the left," which doesn't care about the souls of our children, only about making sure they're, you know, fed. This is how the old game of "Telephone" is played in Washington today.

Once outed, Ryan issued an apology of sorts via his Facebook page: "I have just learned that Secretary Anderson misspoke, and that the story she told was improperly sourced. I regret failing to verify the original source of the story, but I appreciate her taking the time to share her insights."

Rep. Paul Ryan has a long and very well-documented history of petty dishonesty during stump speeches, including the one from 2012 about having climbed "40" Colorado fourteener peaks. You would think that so many repeat examples of Ryan demonstrably lying would convince him to, you know, stop lying.

But apparently, that would make for less exciting speeches.

18 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. bullshit!bullshit! says:

    If Paul Ryan ever stopped lying, it would be like throwing water on the Wicked Witch of the West.

  2. DawnPatrol says:

    All the GOP has is lies. All they will EVER have is lies. And of course voter suppression.

  3. DavieDavie says:

    A twofer — Making Shit Up and Plagiarism… 

    Ryan believes he has reached such a sublime level of moral righteousness that he has a free hand from God to lie.

  4. exlurker19 says:

    I grew up dirt poor in a bad part of Denver.  My principal pioneered free breakfast at school after he found out that the free lunch was the only meal of the day for some kids.  He also personally made sure no child got frostbitten after a boy lost a toe to frostbite.


    Mr. Gardner, my elementary principal, was a saint.  And Paul Ryan is the sinner.  Jesus didn't say nothing about withholding food for the poor.  Twerp.

  5. Diogenesdemar says:

    Dear Sen. Ryan,

    Fuck you, lying shitbag.  (Sorry, it's been a long week and that's all I got.  BTW, that's way more than you deserve.)

    Sincerly yours,

    Diogenes in Castle Rock

    PS — did I mention that you're a lying shitbag?

  6. BlueCatBlueCat says:

    It's as if they take as gospel everything they get in every forwarded mass e-mail from their grumpy old uncles. Or, more likely, as if the smarter ones expect the rubes they take we the people for (sadly, most often pretty accurately) to be happy to take it all uncritically as gospel. They're confident few will check any of their stories as long as the stories are what they want to hear. When challenged by actual fact checkers their people just say you can't trust anything but their own rightie media. It's a perfect closed system of bull. 

    • bullshit!bullshit! says:

      Eloise Anderson has quite a record as a Republican poverty program cost cutter. She is well known for her right wing views on public assistance and "personal responsibility." Cliched dishonesty is very common among that set. Republicans love having their ignorant stereotypes validated, and that has been the basis of her career.

  7. Curmudgeon says:

    What is it about Right Wing Christians that makes them so damn giddy about taking things away from poor kids? 

    • exlurker19 says:

      They have a different and better Jesus than the rest of us, I guess.  The one that loves the money changers in the temple, etc.  Great post on a blog that's too liberal to be cited here, alas.

  8. rattus says:

    Republican Google Translate:

    "misspoke" = "lied"

    "improperly sourced" = "lied"


    my dictionary continues to grow…

    • Curmudgeon says:

      Yeah, the lying, I'm not so shocked by anymore. He's a politician, it's in their damn DNA; and while I don't call the "You can keep your policy" line a lie (because it was the Insurance companies who made it a "lie"), Obama did break his promise to close Gitmo.  

      I'm more offended by the Right's complete perversion of Christianity (being a former practitioner myself) into an excuse for cruelty, greed, and bigotry. 

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