Epic Fail

Paul Ryan is an Embarrassment

The now infamous soup kitchen story wherein Paul Ryan showed up for 15 minutes to clean pots that may or may not have been dirty just became worse. Again.

As the president of the Youngstown soup kitchen originally feared, donors are now fleeing in protest.

WASHINGTON -- In the wake of Rep. Paul Ryan's embarrassing soup kitchen photo-op last week, the organization that runs the facility tells The Huffington Post that donors have begun pulling their money out of the Youngstown, Ohio charity.

Ryan may have suffered a few late-night jokes, but the fallout for the soup kitchen appears to be far more bruising. Brian J. Antal, president of the Mahoning County St. Vincent De Paul Society, confirmed that donors have begun an exodus in protest over Ryan's embarrassment. The monetary losses have been big. "It appears to be a substantial amount," Antal said. "You can rest assured there has been a substantial backlash." [...]

Ryan supporters have now targeted Antal and his soup kitchen, Antal said, including making hundreds of angry phone calls. Some members of Antal's volunteer staff have had to endure the barrage as well, he said.

Even though it was Ryan who created this mess, his supporters are keepin' it classy by attacking the soup kitchen and the volunteers who staff it. People who receive no compensation at all for feeding the homeless in their own free time. Because Paul Ryan's actions are clearly their fault.

It's always someone else's fault for Republicans, isn't it? It's always the Democrats, or the poor people, or the minorities, or the gays, or the Muslims. It's always someone -- anyone -- else's fault but their own.

Would it be too much to ask to simply apologize? Apparently so, because rather than apologize, Team Romney dispatched their Ohio communications director to say “Our campaign and Congressman Ryan were pleased to bring attention to the meaningful charitable contributions the St. Vincent De Paul Society makes to people in need.”

  • If Paul Ryan chose to use a charitable soup kitchen for a photo op, his campaign also should have chosen to donate food or money to the organization.

  • If I had money, I’d send some to the soup kitchen. Hoping there will be a backlash against the backlash, and the soup kitchen will receive more money than every.

  • dvdoff

    Today’s GOP, making the hungry suffer just to show their support for two guys who will ensure that the hungry will suffer.

  • agrazingmoose

    Ryan needs to fix this or stop calling himself a Catholic.

  • Ellen Kuhlmann

    The Romney/Ryan folks should donate however much money needed to make up for the charity losses due to this stunt they pulled.

    • Victor_the_Crab

      Unfortunatly, those two sociopaths would first have to admit that they made a mistake. You got a better chance of pulling their teeth out before they offered up an ounce of sorrow.

  • Clancy

    It’s not surprising that conservatives are harassing the kitchen. They did the same thing to a (Mormon-owned!) restaurant in Colorado not too long ago because the restaurant’s owners have a strict policy against hosting political events and informed the Romeny campaign he could not hold one there.

    I’m sure if you scratch the surface of the story, it won’t be too hard to find that one of the usual suspects in righty talk radio or the web is whipping up faux outrage among the hoople.

    If Ryan had any sense of decency in his supposedly Catholic soul, he’d send a sizable anonymous donation to the kitchen himself. I wouldn’t hold my breath on that though.

  • Username1016

    Are the Republican donors blaming the charity for letting us KNOW that Ryan’s photo op was a big sham? That would at least make sense, in a mean-spirited sort of way. I mean, I guess the volunteers could have just shut up and played along, and Ryan would have gotten some merit points. But eesh, it’s explicitly against the charity’s policy to do photo ops — of course they were going to explain how it happened! Can’t blame people for telling the truth.

  • JWheels

    It’s absolutely disgusting that conservatives are actually calling the soup kitchen and haranguing them. I do also think that the donors pulling their money away from the organization are being rash when it’s pretty clear from the statements made by the head of it that they did not intend to take sides politically one way or the other. But that doesn’t excuse people who are supposedly “pro-life” for treating people that are probably doing a hell of a lot more to help the disadvantaged then they are like total crap.

  • ruthforpeace

    Let’s all send $$ to the Soup Kitchen and affirm their integrity of actually SERVING the needs of others……..and NOT allowing their outreach to be as a photo-op! (with Ryan’s children…..not a good model for integrity!) btw–soup kitchens and food pantries serve ALL YEAR LONG……blessings as you serve and we all DONATE to fill in the gap Ryan caused! love & prayers-ruth

  • gescove

    Oops.., in reply to @zirgar. 47% of pots and pans take no responsibility for their cleanliness. Or maybe it’s just a case of the white pot calling the kettle black.

  • zirgar

    Seriously, this is a perfect microcosm of the GOP. White guy fakes concern just to get people off his back about not having any genuine empathy, all the while his real actions undermine innocent people and help create more of the very people he so despises and desperately wants to get rid of–not by helping to raise their quality of life, but by pushing them off the cliff–and his reaction is to blame THEM for it all.

    • Saddest part is he seems to have lied — he claimed to have had a job washing dishes one summer, but he doesn’t even know how to use a triple sink in a commercial kitchen.

  • Nate Currey

    An innocent bystander whose only raison d’etre was to serve the poor yanked into partisan politics against its will and then punished for it. Doesn’t make any sense at all. I get opportunism in politics and campaigns, but Ryan’s busting in without permission to have pictures taken of him doing nothing is a pretty damn good metaphor for how a Romney administration would run the nation: appearances far more important than substance and consequence.

    • zirgar

      Apologies. In my comment below, I basically repeated what you said in your comment. That’s what happens when I get a head full of steam and don’t read all the comments before posting.

  • zirgar

    Paul Ryan was overheard when trying to clean that kettle, “Why don’t the pots and pans just clean themselves instead of seeking someone else to do it for them? I could provide a voucher for that.”

  • Draxiar

    Ryan is clearly at fault for this.

    That said, how do the donors not know that the kitchen is not to blame? I feel like I’m missing something here.

  • Upon Further Review 980 WONE

    I don’t wish ill upon the St. Vincent DePaul Society. But this is good in the sense that businesses small and large need to understand that there are consequences to taking a side politically, and that the consequences of going public by siding with one party or the other can be severe economically.

    Certainly Chick-Fil-A generated a short term revenue bump by coming out as bigots, but it came at the expense of tens or millions of dollars and decades of marketing capital.

    If you choose to boycott Koch Industries and their affiliated businesses because you don’t like what they do with their (inherited) money, then you should be able to see the perspective of those who have ended their donation to StVDPS because they don’t like the consequences of Ryan’s bungled appearance. The fact that people are being idiots about it is an unfortunate side effect, but it doesn’t discount the larger goal: freedom of political expression is fine, but it comes at the expense of some of your customer base.

    • gescove

      Which would be a fine way of looking at it, except:

      – the kitchen is a charity, run mainly by unpaid volunteers, not a for-profit business
      – it is their express policy NOT to engage politically
      – a volunteer was misled about the intended nature of the visit
      – the volunteer has admitted her error of granting access in contradiction to policy
      – Ryan is an irresponsible, opportunistic douche just like the top of his ticket

      • agrazingmoose

        If I could like your comment fifteen times, I would.

    • The St. Vincent De Paul Society soup kitchen did not endorse or even invite Paul Ryan. He simply showed up.

  • Ipecac

    As I was reading this, I was taken aback by the callous treatment of the soup kitchen by what I assumed were liberals trying to punish the soup kitchen for hosting Ryan. I was all prepared to criticize them for their awful behavior. I should have known that it was actually Republicans punishing yet another victim of the Republican machine.

    • JWheels

      The way I read that is donors are not necessarily pulling their money away because of a perceived endorsement of Romney/Ryan, but just that the kitchen seemed to have violated its promise to stay neutral and stay out of politics entirely. If you’re a wealthy person donating to an organization like this, it can be a bad thing for people to be able to link your donation to partisan actions taken by the organization, so I can see where they’re coming from to some extent. I think the Republicans calling and harassing the employees is a separate action, in response to Antal’s statements condemning the Romney campaign for pulling this stunt in the first place.