|Atlas scrubbed, or no 'fake ' good deed goes unpublished|
Brian J. Antal, the president of the Mahoning County St. Vincent De Paul Society is a volunteer worker. He receives no pay or national recognition for the good work he does, week after week.
I've been thinking about him off and on all week because he found himself reluctantly catapulted into the national spotlight last week by the uninvited visit of GOP Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan.
Hijack, would have been a more accurate word. In the Romney/Ryan's campaign's desperation to lull the public into forgetting that they're two pomaded multimillionaire's out to gut the New Deal to pay for unnecessary tax cuts for the super rich, they decided to 'soften' Ryan's public persona with a bit of charitable malarkey, shot live on camera.
Ryan, as we know, invited himself to wash the already clean dishes of the St. Vincent De Paul Society's soup kitchen. That took some heart - or stones, as Bill Clinton likes to say. But Mahoning County is in Ohio and there is no stone that Ryan plans to leave unturned, or photo opportunity abandoned, regardless of the cost to others, in that state.
Ryan came into the soup kitchen without permission on Monday and 'did nothing,' Antal told the press. He was not at the soup kitchen when Ryan visited and would have turned him away had he known - the bylaws of the society expressly forbid political grandstanding of that nature.
But no fake 'good deed' goes unpunished though. The Society has been hemorrhaging donations since the story broke. The losses have been big. 'It appears to be a substantial amount,' Antal said. 'You can rest assured there has been a substantial backlash.'
Antal said that the campaign had 'ramrodded their way' inside for their charity on stilts performance.
But aren't mid-westerners famously repulsed by people who make a great show of their own charity? Isn't making a great show of your charity a contradiction in terms anyhow?
Antal want Ryan to go away and to take all the damage he has done with him. It's too late for that, but not too late for an apology that will doubtless never come. Ryan has made it clear he knows what's good for the nations poor and he certainly knows what's good for himself.
But this story deserves to be told over and over because it mirrors the main weakness of the Romney campaign itself: they make shameless gestures toward the middle class to lure them into voting for them.
But before you turn around you'll find that you're strapped for cash and they haven't left you with a forwarding address or an explanation.