When [Professor Feinberg] saw the label on the bottle of Jayer-Gilles 2004 Echezeaux Grand Cru Ryan's table had ordered, she quickly looked it up on the wine list and saw that it sold for an eye-popping $350, the most expensive wine in the house along with one other with the same pricetag.So, Feinberg was appalled, stunned, and outraged. That's got to hurt.
Feinberg, an economist by training, was even more appalled when the table ordered a second bottle....
"We were just stunned," said Feinberg...
She was outraged....
[Feinberg] approached the table and asked Ryan "how he could live with himself" sipping expensive wine while advocating for cuts to programs for seniors and the poor. Some verbal jousting between Feinberg and the other two men ensued. One of the two men said he had ordered the wine, was drinking it and paying for it. In hearing how much the wine cost, Ryan said only: "Is that how much it was?"Time to retreat and reposition. Enough of making a show of yourself and your puffy-chested husband in a fancy restaurant that you're about to get thrown out of. Get this story to TPM where it can go viral on the internet, where lots of folks stand ready to get appalled, stunned, and outraged.
The clash became especially heated when Feinberg asked the men if they were lobbyists.
"F---- her," one of them replied and stood up in a menacing way, according to Feinberg's account. Feinberg said her husband then "puffed out his chest" in response before the manager and a waiter came over and Feinberg decided she had said her piece and it was time to leave.
Ryan does not dispute most of the details of Feinberg's account, although he told TPM the two men are economists, not lobbyists, and characterized Feinberg as "crazy" and possibly drunk. For her part, Feinberg said she believes the economist at the table who got out his seat to challenge her was the one intoxicated.We've all had birthdays like that. How much does Prof. Feinberg weigh? I'd like to calculate her level of intoxication. A woman who's drunk half a bottle of wine and gets emotionally overwrought after calculating the price of items consumed at another table by a politician she loathes should probably restrain herself from going over to that table to tell him off.
"It was my birthday, and I'd had half a bottle of great wine with dinner," she wrote in an e-mail to TPM. "I wasn't drunk, but I was certainly emboldened to speak my mind."
And I love the way TPM states that the lobbyist/economist at the table who stood up was "menacing." Feinberg is the one who went over to a table of quiet diners and started interrogating them. Is this the kind of behavior TPM would like to encourage? Everyone in Washington restaurants should be eyeing the room looking for politicians they oppose, snapping photos of any expensive wine on their tables, and then — perhaps emboldened by their own wine consumption — march over and have an argument with them?
All right then! Release the Feinbergs!
Is this the oppo research of the future? What jackasses we are becoming!
TPM should be ashamed of itself passing along this embarrassing story and for the way it presented this material. In the middle of the piece, TPM informs us of Congressional ethics rules barring expensive gifts from lobbyists. I was thinking: Oh, maybe this is a serious problem. But if you keep reading, much further down, you see that Ryan paid for the meal with his own credit card, and TPM saw the receipt. Ridiculous! What hackery from the once-respectable Talking Points Memo!