Erika Johnsen

Remember last February, when some guy posing as a Koch brother prank called Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker in a pathetic, lowly attempt to discredit him? Except that Governor Walker actually behaved very properly, if perhaps at some moments he did politely humor the faux-Koch-bro. Well, this is kind of like that, only dumber.

On Friday, TalkingPointsMemo published one of the most pathetic, snide, extraneous articles I have ever had the displeasure of reading.

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.

It was the same night reports started trickling out about President Obama pressing Congressional leaders to consider changes to Social Security and Medicare in exchange for GOP support for targeted tax increases. ...

She was outraged that Ryan was consuming hundreds of dollars in wine while Congress was in the midst of intense debates over whether to cut seniors' safety net, and she didn't know whether Ryan or his companions was going to pay for the wine and whether the two men were lobbyists.

So, according to this 'exposé,' it is morally inappropriate for a Congressman proposing entitlement reform to drink expensive wine - well, where the heck do you draw that line? Should he only consume bread and water for the rest of his life? Should he sew his own suits out of burlap? And for that matter, who can, in good taste, drink expensive wine? Do the producers (often small business owners) of expensive wine deserve to be put out of business for producing such a frivolous product? Trying to dictate an ethical standard for how people can and cannot spend their own private disposable income is a very slippery socialist slope.

It sounds like Ryan's dining companions were economists, not lobbyists; that the economists made the wine selection; and that Ryan decided it would behoove him not to allow his friends to pick up the entire tab. Maybe the economists were rude, but Ryan did nothing wrong.

I won't go into the long list of millionaire-liberals who spout the ideals of wealth redistribution while keeping servants and wearing high-end jewelry - it's too discouraging. This article was cheap, vulgar, and just plain stupid, and represents what I believe to be a dangerously hypocritical attitude that threatens to corrupt the very moral fabric of American society.


Erika Johnsen

Erika Johnsen is a Web Editor for Townhall.com and Townhall Magazine. Follow her on Twitter @erikajohnsen.