NORMAN — Maybe you saw the picture. Paul Ryan and his wife, Janna, are shown washing a few pots and pans in a photo-op drop-by at a soup kitchen.
It was appropriate in a perverse sort of way, given how the harsh policies championed by the GOPvice-presidential candidate and his new adoptive parent, Mitt Romney, would necessitate far more of these last resorts for the hungry and desperate.
But this event was insidious in so many ways. Such news contrivances inherently diminish human suffering to a cynical campaign ploy. This one was hastily set up as Ryan was traipsing around Ohio trying to win over the state that has become ground zero in this election. He had just finished an appearance in Youngstown when somebody in the entourage suddenly decided it would be cool to be shot at the St. Vincent de Paul dining room on his way to the airport.
Never mind that he didn’t have the proper authorization, and never mind that there was no one there to be humiliated when he showed up. He and his group, including the all-important camera person, swooped in, got the money shot and swooped out.
Exploitative? You bet. It is also part of a continuing deception by the Republicans, who try to justify their enrich-the-rich policies with the fiction that they are really designed to uplift the non-rich. It is amazing to watch Mitt at the debates continuously claim:
“I care about 100 percent of the American people. I want 100 percent of the American people to have a bright and prosperous future.”
That’s what he repeats each time someone brings up those taped remarks where he was recorded at a fat-cat fundraiser dismissing 47 percent of the population as “dependent on government,” “victims” who he might just as well ignore.