Monday, July 11th, 2011

Paul Ryan WineGate Shows He Has a Hard Time with Basic Math

Big night out last week for Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan!

The three men were spotted ordering the $700 worth of wine at Bistro Bis on Capitol Hill by an associate professor of business at Rutgers University named Susan Feinberg. After dining in the same restaurant with her husband, Feinberg confronted Ryan and his pals about the high-end wine. The exchange became contentious. Ryan professed not to know the price of the wine, and one of his buddies responded to Feinberg's chastisement by loudly saying, "Fuck her."

He has fun friends! The mouthy one is Cliff Asness, who runs a hedge fun and used to work at Goldman Sachs and has terrible ideas about economics. The threesome were approached by a Rutgers business prof, who wanted to ask how they could spend more on an evening's worth of beverages than a family makes on minimum wage in a week, which: fine point! I would however like to say that I agree 100% with his theories on tipping. (Which goes like: "Hmm, okay, well ten percent of the bill is $39, so double that and round up, oh rats, I forgot to carry the one, let me scratch out '$372' and write in '$472.'")

66 Comments / Post A Comment

dado (#102)

Ms. Feinberg, on the other hand, asked for three lemon slices and packet of Domino pure cane sugar to go with her tap, not sparkling, ice water, and fired up a frosty Boca Raton lemonade.

dntsqzthchrmn (#2,893)

Good to know that when we are all footmen (footpeople?), the cash economy will look after us.

boyofdestiny (#1,243)

Congressman Ryan's comely young lady companion contributed far less than her fair share of the bill.

anonymass (#13,682)

I like that this is getting out, but seriously, who goes over to someone else's table and says "hey guys, all that wine you're drinking is too nice"? Even if it is Paul Ryan and Mr. Assness.

monkeyajb (#524)

I like this story! God I haven't stopped thinking "I hope they tipped right" since this came out and thank you for highlighting this. A better close to the story would be to see the other receipts. What did the bankers tip? And more importantly, what did that horrible woman tip?

(Also, this headline is a little mis-leading. I was expecting a swipe at Paul Ryan, but this makes me like the guy!)

Matt (#26)

Holy shit! Bistro Bis! All the sudden I am a horrible intern just out of college on a horrible date during restaurant week all over again! Kill me!

What was it paired with?

jfruh (#713)

@Butterscotch Stalin THE TEARS OF THE POOR

@jfruh Oh, I would have served a Puligny-Montrachet then.

Abe Sauer (#148)

By far the best angle of the story is how law professor Ann Althouse went all apeshit on "busybody business professor named Susan Feinberg." At least Feinberg doesn't send her husband to do her politician-confronting dirtywork.

CatsInBags (#3,656)

@Abe Sauer "A woman who's drunk half a bottle of wine and gets emotionally overwrought…." pot/kettle etc.

'Jim' 'Treacher' (#6,928)

@Abe Sauer Your hard feelings are understandable.

SeanP (#4,058)

@Abe Sauer Althouse is always good for a laugh.

Kevin Knox (#4,475)

@'Jim' 'Treacher' Why would Abe have hard feelings? Ms. Cabernet for Breakfast & her husband were the ones who made asses of themselves in that little exchange.

'Jim' 'Treacher' (#6,928)

@Kevin Knox Of course.

Abe Sauer (#148)

@'Jim' 'Treacher' You're the only one who has any business using the word "hard" around Ms. Althouse, "Jim."

'Jim' 'Treacher' (#6,928)

@Abe Sauer I understand why you're angry.

gregorg (#30)

Reminds me of the time we asked our waiter at Isabella's if Iman had signed a last name. He was all too happy to show us her CC receipt, because she tipped him $4 on $100. Abdulmajid, btw. But we all know that now.

ejcsanfran (#489)

@gregorg: Back in my college days, I worked as shop clerk at an L.A. department store. I waited on Cher – her American Express card was embossed solely with "Cher." I died.

hockeymom (#143)

@ejcsanfran This makes me so happy.

zidaane (#373)

Why do hedge funds have the worst web sites on the planet?

Bittersweet (#765)

@zidaane: Why do hedge funds have the worst people on the planet?

davetar (#1,114)

I'm not too keen on this whole story. If we want to talk about how everybody in Congress is obscenely rich and has no idea how regular people live, let's talk about that, instead of skirting around it with how Paul Ryan bought some expensive wine. Obscene wealth in Congress is NOT a partisan issue, and there might be a chance to get a wider range of people to take note of it if we're not laying it at the feet of a particular party, or appearing to do so, anyway. We all know how the knees jerk in this country.

And come on, like you never wrote the wrong digit on a receipt after polishing off two bottles of wine.

jackannapolis (#8,813)

If this serves to destroy the myth that the Tea Party is the party of the average-income, tax-paying, overworked "real" American, and their "everyday" people who they elected to Congress to serve them, then we need to shine a light on this. The false narrative that the republicans have impossibly been successful in telling is that the Democrats are somehow this evil elitist group of people who do not represent the American people because they do not understand the needs and concerns of the American people. They call the President an arugula eating, wine-sipping, cloistered intellectual.

If you don't see how an avowed Tea Party leader blowing five hundred bucks on a dinner for three in WASHINGTON is not news, then you have not been paying attention these past few years.

LondonLee (#922)

@davetar I'm not sure if Ryan IS an "avowed Tea Party leader", I don't recall him ever saying anything about them, unlike Bachman who is clearly jumping on their bandwagon.

I don't really think it's a big deal, though you know that if a Democrat had splashed out that kind of cash on wine his "elitism" would be all over the news.

Abe Sauer (#148)

@LondonLee Yes, the story is dumb. But so was the one about the haircut.

flossy (#1,402)

@Abe Sauer Yes, they were dumb, so let's all be dumb!!! AMERICUH, FUCK YEAH

Playrighter (#16,197)

@jackannapolis Unless I misread the story, Mr. Ryan did NOT blow $500 on a dinner for three. That is a complete falsehood. Mr. Ryan had dinner and a single glass of wine, the price of which he did not know. After an obnoxious lady with a battle axe to grind — and half a bottle of wine in her — rudely attacked the group, Mr. Ryan graciously agreed to pay half the bill, which was much more than he would ever spend for wine.

Please reread the story, and explain how Mr. Ryan did any wrong.

jackannapolis (#8,813)

Um, I did read the story, and it clearly states that they are dining at the establishment. Now the original story has changed from the time that I wrote my post, so perhaps there was some clarification.

Nevertheless, I have drunk many an expensive wine, scotch, etc, and I can tell you that I am always aware of the price "band" being comfortably in the middle class-I would be MORE concerned by the price if I were in a high-end wine establishment – in fact I probably wouldn't go because I'd be too embarrassed that I couldn't pay my share of the bill. Whether it was food or wine, willing or no, a man who claims that Washington is too big, greedy, elitist and self important, was drinking a bottle of $350 wine with HEDGE-FUNDERS, one of which claimed mind-bendingly that the President and Congress were responsible for the financial crisis? And you quibble about whether they dined or not?

Sir, here is the forest, which you probably could not see because of the pine needles lodged in your mouth.

Playrighter (#16,197)

@jackannapolis The question wasn't one of dining. You stated that the Tea Party leader (that would be Ryan) blew $500 on the meal. THAT is a fabrication, which needed correcting. I had no quibble with the dining. I take issue with you making up a figure out of thin air, and claiming Ryan paid it.

As a lifelong independent with no dog in this fight — other than the truth — I take issue with you claiming the Tea Party has only two faces a) elite pay masters and 2) poor stupid f–ks who believe them. You can't be that narrow-minded, can you? That would be like saying only arrogant self-important, lying politicians sit down to dinner and accept a single glass of wine in a nice restaurant. You do see where your "logic" has headed, don't you.

I also take issue with you making personal attacks on me merely because I took the trouble to try and narrow this down to FACTS, and not fabrications.

Again, I ask you. What did Mr. Ryan do that was wrong?

flossy (#1,402)

Far be it for me to sympathize with politicians and/or hedge fund people but seriously? Rich people are no longer allowed to drink expensive wine without being harassed by self-righteous academics despite doing nothing out of the ordinary and even tipping a decent amount?

TheRtHonPM (#10,481)

@flossy Indeed! And as long as we're playing this game:

Susan E. Feinberg's 2008 salary: $148,124, 2009 salary: $156,124

Stoppit or Ryan's gonna go Galt on us. Then where would we be?

whizz_dumb (#10,650)

@TheRtHonPM That's still not rich enough to vote republican out of self-interest.

Niko Bellic (#1,312)

@flossy C'mon, dude. These are not just rich people. These are rich people who are calling me an out of touch elitist because I live in Brooklyn and know that Africa is not a country (and drink lattes). And they are not doing it at their dinner tables, they are doing it in mass media. Fuck them, all the way.

SeanP (#4,058)

@flossy To be fair to the self-righteous academic: Ryan wouldn't have even paid for the wine, much less tipped for it if it weren't for her. But yeah, lady, you were in the same restaurant. What were you eating/drinking?

Society's proper response to rich people spending ludicrous amounts of money isn't to shame them about it, it's to tax the crap out of them and use it to improve the lot of others.

Niko Bellic (#1,312)

@SeanP You too missed the point, as I explained it above.

flossy (#1,402)

@Niko Bellic Paul Ryan has never made any pretense about being some down-home folksy dude from the heartland, nor do I recall him railing against coastal elites. The man is a debonair (for a congressmen) proponent of an "fuck the poor" long-term budget plan. There is nothing about his public persona inconsistent with drinking fancy wine, to say nothing of his hedge fund pals.

And no, I don't think that because some members of his party have taken to populist demagoguery that he is now precluded from indulging in expensive booze. This country would be a better place if nobody policed each other's behavior according to whether or not it fit the prevailing stereotype of their political party, or whatever.

Niko Bellic (#1,312)

@flossy You seem to be confusing membership in a political party with religious/ethnic heritage or a color of skin. If you belong to a political party, and especially if you are an elected representative as a member of a party, you do in fact bear responsibility for that party's actions and voices.

Plus, populist demagoguery is neither a stereotype nor just something that "some members" of his party have taken to. It is in fact, pretty much the only shape and form in which that party is currently able to function at all.

flossy (#1,402)

@Niko Bellic Oh, please. Again, I am no fan of Paul Ryan, but the idea that he can't go out for a meal and drink fancy wine because he's a Republican (?), or that he is somehow responsible for the actions of every member of the Republican party (or even more nebulous, the conservative movement), is beyond inane. Criticize his budget philosophy all you want, but these political culture war teapot tempests are so, so, so dumb. It was stupid when John Edwards got too expensive a haircut, and it is stupid now that Paul Ryan is apparently drinking too fancy a vintage. Hell, at least Ryan isn't campaigning on being just a regular ol' son of a mill-worker, donchaknow.

Niko Bellic (#1,312)

@flossy Who says he can't drink fancy wine? Sure he can, but I reserve the right to use the fact that he does as a weapon in defense against the propaganda war that his party has declared on the educated among us branding us as elitist assholes. It may not be up to your (elitist) standards, but thinking that it's not necessary is pretty naive, I think.

flossy (#1,402)

@Niko Bellic Not only do I think it's not necessary, I don't think any of us will ultimately gain much by cheapening the discourse any further, and "they started it" is a rationale that expired in 2nd grade. There are so many things to say about Paul Ryan that fixating on what he spends on wine is beyond petty and, honestly, kind of pathetic. Try frying some bigger fish.

Niko Bellic (#1,312)

@flossy You may be out of 2nd grade, but the rest of the country isn't. Good luck showing up with your "expensive discourse" at the playground. I have, in fact, tried talking about reforming the political system until I was blue in the face. I'm just tired of wasting time like that.

jackannapolis (#8,813)

@flossy Um, Yes, he has

You do understand that there are TWO sides to the Tea Party? Those who are the elite pay-masters and claiming a grass roots "revolution" to elect officials that propose legislation that weakens the middle class and strengthens the ultra wealthy at the expense of the poor? And of course the poor stupid fucks who listen to them and believe that they are the true voice of the American people?

'Jim' 'Treacher' (#6,928)

This is a huge scandal.

Granted, it's not as big as being hit by a socialist truck.

'Jim' 'Treacher' (#6,928)

@gnarlytrombone I apologize for hurting your feelings.

whizz_dumb (#10,650)

@gnarlytrombone hahaha socialist truck, I'd drive that.

kneetoe (#1,881)

"As he signed the check, he as heard muttering 'Tip? Tip?!? A fucking tax is what it is"! Tip?'"

coalbaron (#11,105)

Go over to Dealbreaker and read up on Cliff Asness. Nothing makes a better libertarian center-fold then a comic book nerd high frequency trader.

Aatom (#74)

I'm going to give Mr. Austerity a wide stance on this one.

ep (#8,509)

Once upon a time Republicans truly did believe that shared sacrifice in difficult times was a matter of practice and honor. Why, I remember when Bush gave up golf during the war.

Ryan's wife does have a respectable Republican cloth coat.

caw_caw (#5,641)

I have a theory that nothing in this country will change until individuals are personally called out to account for themselves. Nothing will change until people get in other people's faces. Everything won by the poor in this country came at a cost.

What the lady did was embarrassing and in poor taste. But it's nothing compared to what Rep Ryan would do with the stroke of a pen to millions upon millions of poor and elderly Americans.

So fuck that guy and his hedge fund buddy and his $300 bottle of wine and his bland square jawed-Midwestern Leave it to Beaver routine which disguises his class warfare on behalf of the rich.

helplesscase (#9,843)

@caw_caw I agree. Paul Ryan in particular shouldn't be able to go out in public without being loudly criticized by concerned citizens for the rest of his natural life.

grandpa27 (#804)

@caw_caw What kind of a fancy slop shoot were these folks drinking in. The foul mouthed oaf should have been escorted to the door by management and tossed out on his ear.

Playrighter (#16,197)

The original premise involves a $700 bottle of wine. If that's a true fact, then why was the bill $392.70 before the tip?

Just how much of this account is fabricated, and how much is real?

caw_caw (#5,641)

@Playrighter You can find out how much was fabricated and how much was real by following the link which helpfully explains two bottles of $300+plus wine were consumed, of which Mr Ryan, after being confronted, split the check and paid for one.

Playrighter (#16,197)

@caw_caw First, thanks for the link. I was commenting on the text of the article, which said $700 worth of wine (it didn't mention how many bottles).

On reading the link, it turns out that the premise of the article IS fabricated. It would have been more honestly written like this:

Congressman Paul Ryan, enjoying a single glass of wine — paid for by his host — with his meal, was verbally assaulted by a woman emboldened by half a bottle of wine, for lapping up high-priced wine. This lady, by the way, makes more money than Ryan, who had no idea of the cost of the wine. Out of a spirit of fairness, Ryan, who would never spend that type of money on wine, decided to pay half the bill. The rude and abusive woman, committed to making a mountain out of a mole hill, photographed the wine and the receipt, and gave it to a liberal site in an attempt to marginalize Mr. Ryan, who, in fact, was quite noble in this event.

Which description of the event is really the fabrication?

Bittersweet (#765)

@Playrighter: The professor made a bit over $156,000 last year. Paul Ryan made at least $174,000 as a US Rep. Now who can't do math?

caw_caw (#5,641)

@Playrighter They hide price information in menus. It's pretty hard to detect it unless you can read. Which you clearly can't.

Playrighter (#16,197)

@Bittersweet My mistake. I thought Congressmen were still making around $145,000.

Playrighter (#16,197)

@caw_caw Thanks for your polite obtuseness. You seem to be assuming a lot. The story says Ryan had a meal and agreed to one glass of wine out of the bottle purchased BY HIS FRIENDS. Please demonstrate anything indicating that Mr. Ryan looked at the wine list — which is normally SEPARATE from the meal menu. He didn't buy the wine. He had no reason to check the price. He politely accepted a glass. Kindly accept the facts without making accusations about me based on nothing. (If one of us has shown an inability to read, it's not me.)

Lemonnier (#14,611)

@Playrighter under the rules of the House of Representatives, Ryan's not allowed to accept any gifts worth more than $100 from friends, without first obtaining a written determination from the Ethics Committee on whether he can accept it or not. Such gifts include meals and drinks. Paying his share of the check wasn't "quite noble in this event"– he had to, or else he'd be violating House ethics rules.

Playrighter (#16,197)

@Lemonnier Unless you can verify the cost of his meal — and the cost of ONE GLASS of wine, we don't know that the "gift" exceeded $100.

And he might have been paying for his own meal, anyway, and then decided to pay for the vastly overpriced (to him, and I assume you and I) bottle of wine.

Also, (pardon my ignorance) please tell me where a rule says he cannot accept gifts over $100 from FRIENDS. Lobbyists, I can understand. FRIENDS, I don't see the point.

Playrighter (#16,197)

@Lemonnier I managed to check your numbers at the following site:
It says the limit for gifts from friends is $250, not $100. Where did you get your $100 figure?

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