So this is really crazy….On Saturday, Paul Ryan planned to have a photo op washing dishes and serving food at a Youngstown, Ohio soup kitchen … but by the time he arrived, the food had already been served and the dishes had apparently already been done. So he did what any politician in need of a photo op would do—he washed the clean dishes again for the benefit of the cameras. That’s correct – he acted like he was cleaning dishes that were already clean.
Ryan stood at the sink and took some large metal pans that did not appear to be dirty, soaped them up and rinsed them, remarking as the cameras clicked and the TV cameras rolled that he had spent a summer washing dishes when he was younger. He said:
We had a Hobart, though, which was — you get calluses on your fingers because it’s so hot,
Paul Ryan was referring to a Hobart industrial dish washing machine. A few minutes into the dish washing, reporters were escorted out of the building and onto a press bus. As Ryan exited the building some minutes later, a small group of people, some of whom appeared to be homeless, seemed to engage Ryan, and the candidate stopped for several moments and spoke with them. The campaign escorted photographers from the bus for Ryan’s exchange, but reporters were not allowed to do so. Ryan’s motorcade took off for the airport a few moments later.A campaign aide said that the exchange was not open to press because it was an impromptu conversation.
Let me get this straight: Ryan wants a photo op to help catapult over the conventional wisdom that he and his running mate do note care about 47 percent of the Americans, so he goes to a soup kitchen, but only after all those pesky poor people are no longer there? Nice. And then he deigns to speak to the few “homeless-appearing” (whatever that means) individuals still in the facility, but he doesn’t want the press to hear what they’re talking about. Maybe he’s afraid they’ll bring up his to proposed cuts Medicaid. Or cuts to funding to keep homeless vets off the street. Still, you can’t let a good photo op go to waste, can you?
This story stands to offer one more blow to the integrity of this campaign, as well as the credibility of the media, particularly visual media to keep politicians honest. Of course, I can imagine people looking at this story and just waving a hand, saying this kind of pretend happens every day. If it does, however, it’s not like the whitewash, if that’s what’s it is, is so blatantly in of our face.
Not too many things are worse than using the homeless for a photo-op when your true intent is to de-fund and/or jeopardize any and all of the safety nets that they rely upon.
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