Remember that exhibition of compassionate conservatism that Paul Ryan displayed when he went to an Ohio soup kitchen after it finished serving dinner and then grabbed some already clean pots and pans to clean to look like he cared about the needy? That story got weirder later:
The head of a northeast Ohio charity says that the Romney campaign last week “ramrodded their way” into the group’s Youngstown soup kitchen so that GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan could get his picture taken washing dishes in the dining hall.
Brian J. Antal, president of the Mahoning County St. Vincent De Paul Society, said that he was not contacted by the Romney campaign ahead of the Saturday morning visit by Ryan, who stopped by the soup kitchen after a town hall at Youngstown State University.
“We’re a faith-based organization; we are apolitical because the majority of our funding is from private donations,” Antal said in a phone interview Monday afternoon. “It’s strictly in our bylaws not to do it. They showed up there, and they did not have permission. They got one of the volunteers to open up the doors.”[..]
He noted that the soup kitchen relies on funding from private individuals who might reconsider their support if it appears that the charity is favoring one political candidate over another.
“I can’t afford to lose funding from these private individuals,” he said. “If this was the Democrats, I’d have the same exact problem.”
He added that the incident had caused him “all kinds of grief” and that regardless of whether Ryan had intended to serve food to patrons or wash dishes, he would not have allowed the visit to take place.
I get that. I wouldn't want to be used like that when you have to keep yourself above the fray and apolitical But unfortunately, we're in a politicized society with reductive binary thinking where you either fer 'em or agin 'em. And right wingers decided that not welcoming Paul Ryan with open, grateful arms for his empty gesture placed Antal definitively in the "agin 'em" category. Which made him (by wingnut logic) open for attacks:
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."[..]
Antal's charity represents the kind of organization that conservative Republicans might champion. But that was before the Ryan incident went viral a few days ago. [..]
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. "The sad part is a lot of [the callers] want to hide behind anonymity," he said, adding that if someone leaves their name and number he has tried to return their call. In addition to phone calls, people have posted a few choice words on the charity's Facebook wall, including statements like "I hope you lose your tax [sic] emempt status," Anyone who is thinking about donations to you should think twice" and "Shame on you Brian Antal!"
On the phone with HuffPost, Antal seemed worn out by all the vitriol. "Honesty, I really don't need any more attention," he said. "I really just want this to go away."
That's a wingnut for you--lash out at a not-for-profit charity feeding needy Americans because they were unwilling pawns for a lame attempt on the part of Romney/Ryan campaign to appear 'concerned' for the 47 percent of Americans that they insulted.
I think that this soup kitchen needs some support from people who have a grasp reality and see through the blatant machinations to see who really cares for the 47 percent. If you'd like to make a donation to this food kitchen, you can snail mail it to Mahoning County St. Vincent De Paul Society, P.O. Box 224, Youngstown, Ohio 44501. Or you can donate online, but make sure to specify that the money is to go to the Mahoning County St. Vincent De Paul Society food bank.
C&L readers shared my first post on this tens of thousands of time on social media and it's through your work that the mainstream media picked up the story. Let's match that activity again and send a message about who we really support.