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Ryan’s Appalling CPAC Talk

Paul Ryan spoke at CPAC over the weekend and delivered a truly appalling and inane speech about how terrible it is to help poor people eat. Why is it terrible? Because it gives them a “full stomach but an empty soul.” Oh, and he used a fake story to illustrate his point in the process.

“The left is making a big mistake here. What they’re offering people is a full stomach and an empty soul. The American people want more than that. This reminds me of a story I heard from Eloise Anderson. She serves in the cabinet of my buddy, Governor Scott Walker. 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. This is what the left does not understand.”

And his solution to this is….what? To cut food stamps and school lunch programs. Does he think that if they don’t have a full stomach, that will help fill up their “soul” (whatever the hell that is)? Even if one believed this nonsense about filling the “souls” of children, how does giving them an empty stomach help do that? And how exactly does Ryan propose to relieve their “empty souls”?

And do you want to let that kid bring a brown bag lunch? How exactly does cutting food stamps help do that? That only makes it less likely that he can do so. Also, the idea that buying one’s school lunch means your parents don’t love you is utterly moronic. And he got wild applause for this bit of stupid.

Comments

  1. nich says

    And then the child grows up to become a born again Christian who totally pwns The Atheist Professor™ in Philosophy 101.

  2. says

    Talk about taking the opposite message from a story!!!

    Pay everyone at the very least a living wage and then they can buy their own paper bags.

    And (gasp!) food to put in them

  3. Chiroptera says

    He wanted his own lunch, one in a brown-paper bag just like the other kids.

    So Ryan volunteered to make the kid a lunch to bring to school every morning? What a guy! I’m voting for him!

  4. garnetstar says

    I liked Jon Stewart’s take on this: the kid was asking for a state or locally-funded soul program.

    If the kid doesn’t have a full stomach, soon he won’t have a soul, i.e., he’ll be dead. So how about we take care of the stomach first?

  5. says

    @nich:

    Actually, in the real story, the kid grows up to be the co-chair of a non-profit dedicated to stamping out child hunger. Also the real story is much sweeter cause the woman offered to buy his school lunches, but he said he wanted them in a brown paper bag cause it showed someone cared for him.

  6. James Redekop says

    The story was lifted from a book, “An Invisible Thread”, written by Laura Schroff, who’s an advocate for school lunch programs. She had this to say about Paul’s appropriation of her story:

    “When you give a small act of kindness, expecting nothing in return, the rewards are great. I want people to think about what they can do to make the world a kinder world. I don’t care about Republicans and Democrats. But we are talking about children that need to be fed. Cutting school lunch programs doesn’t accomplish that. When you are in the position to help someone out, why wouldn’t you? As citizens of the United States of America, it’s our responsibility to help our neighbors. You don’t have to save the world, but there are many ways to reach out and help people in need.”

    Daily Kos has more

  7. dugglebogey says

    First of all CPAC and “Apalling” are synonyms.

    I also hear that Ryan has a plan to punish parents who are poor by waterboarding their children until the parents work harder.

  8. lochaber says

    srsly? wtf, these people are approaching Saturday morning cartoon villain levels of greed and evil.

    Wondering how they are going to ‘reboot’ Robin Hood…

  9. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Well, Paul Ryan is Catholic. Maybe he is into the whole “salvation through suffering thing” like Mother Theresa–as long as it’s someone else suffering.

  10. D. C. Sessions says

    I especially love the fact that in the original story [1] the brown bag was symbolic of someone caring for the kid — but the contents were charity, plain and simple.

    Apparently, Ryan is asking us to deliver free school lunches in paper bags so that you can tell the poor kids from the ones who eat their meat loaf, mashed taters, and gravy from a tray. Or maybe it’s paper bags in place of the hot lunches?

    [1] Curious how Ryan can’t even plagiarize accurately.

  11. Synfandel says

    According to Stewart’s report last night, the kid in question didn’t reject a free lunch and wasn’t concerned about filling his soul; he just wanted his lunch in a paper bag like the other kids so that he wouldn’t be stigmatized.

  12. colnago80 says

    What else could be expected from a devotee of Ayn Rand. Every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost.

  13. cptdoom says

    When my mother taught in one of the poorest schools in Rochester, NY in the 60s, before free food programs of any kind, she quickly realized that many of her students did not get breakfast, but would bring lunch with them. She learned that their parents were too poor to afford both breakfast and lunch, but wanted to cover that up, so they sent the kids with food for lunch, but with empty stomachs. Result: the kids ate their lunches on the way to school and had nothing for the rest of the day.

    My mother responded by buying a second-hand toaster and every morning she brought in bread and peanut butter, at her own expense. She didn’t care how much breakfast you had, in her class you got a piece of peanut butter toast to start the day. Within a few weeks, her kids were doing much better in terms of grades. When the principal called her in to explain how she worked such magic, my mother replied “I fed them.”

  14. says

    Sure, it didn’t really happen, but it feels like it happened. It’s not a lie, it’s the Noble Lie. But instead of “noble” it’s “screw you, I got mine”, which is like “noble”, if words no longer mean anything.
     

    And his solution to this is….what? To cut food stamps and school lunch programs. Does he think that if they don’t have a full stomach, that will help fill up their “soul” (whatever the hell that is)?

    Now you’re just being ridiculous. You forgot him cutting other welfare programs (specifically, “all of them”), and passing them on to the States as block grants with no oversight. Also, “spreading” the EITC to cover more people (but without increasing its budget). And, not only being against raising the minimum wage, but for abolishing it entirely. These steps will help parents afford the brown paper bag lunches for the kids that currently get free or subsidized school lunches, somehow.
    Only after all this, and more cuts too, and increased Defense spending for some reason, will kids know that someone cares for them. Granted, that someone won’t be “Paul Ryan”, but still, as long as the Republican Base knows that “those people” are also getting screwed they’ll happily vote to further impoverish themselves.

  15. anubisprime says

    And he got wild applause for this bit of stupid

    There is the problem, right there!

  16. says

    Huh. When I was in elementary school in Massachusetts 45-ish years ago, only the poor kids brought lunch from home. The “regular” kids bought the school lunch — because they could afford to. (This was in the days before subsidies.) I was one of the poor kids, and I was ashamed of my hand-me-down clothes and brown-bag lunches. In my ignorance, I pestered my mother and she somehow found the 25 or 30 cents for me every day so I could buy a hot lunch. I was so nervous about losing those coins that I taped them to my clipboard, my favored (nerdy) way of transporting my papers around. The school lunch ladies hated those sticky coins, and scolded me regularly, but they had to accept them.

    —–

    I cannot fathom the cruelty of those who would deny food to children, or who would isolate and shame them just for being poor.

    ——

    cptdoom, thank you for sharing that story about your mother. She sounds like a kind and sensible person. People with her inclination to kindness help to offset the cruelty of others. Thank you.

  17. lofgren says

    It’s easy to care about an empty soul when you already have a full stomach.

    Quoted for fucking truth.

    The number one way that the morally bankrupt make themselves feel superior is by convincing themselves that they are offering some intangible reward to those in need in lieu of actual help. That Ryan could write or read these words without giving himself pause is evidence that his own soul can never be saved. He sold it too long ago to even remember what it felt like to have one. Anybody with any level of empathy would read that story and think it’s sad that the kid has nobody to care for him at home. Ryan reads it and thinks, “That little fucker is taking his lunch for granted! Let’s see how he feels when he’s gone hungry for weeks!”

  18. otrame says

    Within a few weeks, her kids were doing much better in terms of grades. When the principal called her in to explain how she worked such magic, my mother replied “I fed them.”

    This needs to go up on billboards all over the place. Politicians need to say, “The solution to our problems in this country is not to take food away from poor people. Anyone who thinks it is should not vote for me.”

  19. says

    Pretending that this is a real story

    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 Emphasis mine

    That would come off to me as the child being more embarrassed than anything else. So, why not increase food stamps and give parents the ability to buy food to pack in a lunch for their kids.

  20. Larry says

    …and that boy grows up to be…

    … Adolf Hitler

    And now you know the REST of the story.

  21. says

    ” Cutting school lunch programs doesn’t accomplish that. When you are in the position to help someone out, why wouldn’t you?”

    Because you’re a fucking asshole named Paul Ryan?

    I would like to feed Mr. Ryan his own fucking teeth.

  22. magistramarla says

    I did much the same thing that cptdoom mentioned, but in a high school classroom.
    I always had a cup of coffee and snacks while I was teaching, so I refused to deny my students the same privilege. They brought their drinks and snacks into the room, and tended to share. For those who didn’t have something, I always had a bowl with non-perishable snacks on the corner of my desk.
    Students often brought their lunches and joined me at lunch-time for tutoring or just for conversation. Food was always shared freely around the room. My rule was – “I’m not your mother, so clean up after yourself!” They always did a great job of leaving my room neat and clean.
    I heard that there were other teachers who were fanatically strict about NO FOOD, NO DRINKS, NO CHEWING GUM in their classrooms. The students confided in me that those were the classrooms in which LOTS of used gum could be found stuck under the desks. Funny thing was, that almost never happened in my room!
    Kids are smarter than we give them credit for being.

  23. David Eriksen says

    I don’t think I have words for how offended I am by this.

    When I was a child, my father worked two jobs and my mother ran a day care out of the house. When times were lean, we were on food stamps and I got free or reduced price lunches at school. There was never a time that I didn’t know they cared. They were obviously doing the best they could.

    My mother wanted to go back to full time work but felt that it was her place to stay home and tend to the children. Once I was old enough to provide a base level of supervision for my siblings, she went back to work and almost immediately started getting promotions. Nowadays she won’t even say what her salary is but my father only has to work in order to have something to do. Ironically (from Ryan’s fucked up POV), outdated views of what caring looks like are the only reasons we were in financial trouble in the first place.

  24. says

    This is the same Paul Ryan who had his college paid for by Social Security.

    He’s a fucking piece of shit. I wouldn’t piss on him if he was on fire.

  25. stace says

    And of course he’s one of the shining lights at CPAC, how bad must THOSE PEOPLE be for that to be the case?

  26. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    Even if one believed this nonsense about filling the “souls” of children, how does giving them an empty stomach help do that? And how exactly does Ryan propose to relieve their “empty souls”?

    Well, when the child’s body dies of starvation the child’s soul* goes up to heaven where it is forever happy playing a harp and singing praise to gawd.

    No (living) body, no hunger, no problem.

    * Note : souls may not actually exist beyond the metaphorical sense. In which case kid is just dead of starvation. Also that Jesus guy the Republicans like to talk ’bout so much/ he said an awful lot of things about looking after the poor and helping the less well off and stigmatised. He was kinda in favour of that not against it -not that you’d know from some of his self-declared followers.

  27. says

    democommie “This is the same Paul Ryan who had his college paid for by Social Security.”
    Yes. And look how empty his soul turned out. I rest my case.

  28. sundiver says

    Goddamn. I hit backspace and my friggin computer submitted. Anyway. I was trying to agree with democommie’s #27. Ryan’s such a hypocritical, lying rat I wonder how he can live with himself.

  29. colnago80 says

    Re #33

    Charles Murray, co-author of The Bell Curve, totally eviscerated by Stephen Jay Gould in The Mismeasure of Man. His co-author, Richard Herrnstein, was a long time advocate for the claim of the intellectual inferiority of Afro-Americans and had several papers published in the racist journal, Mankind Quarterly. A couple of real momsers.

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