Already, the 42-year-old Wisconsin congressman is shaking things up. Here are seven essential facts about Paul Ryan.
7) Ryan is a devotee of the P90x workout regimen, designed to make you buff through the radical science of “muscle confusion.” Apparently, your muscles cannot grow unless they are constantly confused.
My best guess as to how this program works is that Ryan wakes up early each morning to read his muscles long excerpts of tax code, ”Ulysses” and his budget plan, or, say, tells his lats that he is in love with them, then does not call them for eight weeks. This whole confusion plan has worked out better for him than it has for me.
As far as I can tell my muscles are constantly baffled. Every time I work out, I can hear their perplexed muttering, “What are we doing?” they ask. “Why aren’t we sitting down and eating cheese?”
6) Ryan was once an avid reader of Ayn Rand. In 2003, he gave copies of “Atlas Shrugged” to his interns, and he spent many a happy moment discussing Rand’s work with at least one of his college professors. But the two had a falling-out and he took up publicly with Thomas Aquinas this year, saying “I reject her philosophy. It’s an atheist philosophy. It reduces human interactions down to mere contracts and it is antithetical to my worldview. If somebody is going to try to paste a person’s view on epistemology to me, then give me Thomas Aquinas…Don’t give me Ayn Rand.”
5) He has two first names, bringing the Romney-Ryan ticket average number of first names up to one apiece.
4) The Internet seems to find him attractive. Politico actually includes the real headline: “Forget the budget: Paul Ryan is hot!” And he has already spawned several memes, including Sad Paul Ryan, Paul Ryan Gosling on Twitter, and Hey Girl, It’s Paul Ryan.
3) There is beer in his veins? “My veins run with cheese, bratwurst, and a little Spotted Cow,* Leinies,** and some Miller,***” Ryan told crowds at a rally.
This is either a case of metaphor run wild or a very serious blood-alcohol and cholesterol problem, and he probably should not operate any heavy machinery until it gets sorted out. Metaphor can be dangerous when it spreads to the lymph system.
2) He is frequently described as a “wonk” and known for his love of economic policy. According to several frat brothers interviewed by the New York Times, he liked to amuse everyone in college by discussing deep, serious budgetary questions, impressing all of them with his focus and direction. Admittedly this is what your frat brothers always say when you run for vice president. It is one of the conditions of becoming a frat brother. You never see frat brothers quoted in articles as saying, “Really, he was sort of a jerk who did lots of drugs and liked to release bats into the homes of elderly women.”
1) Ryan hails from the state of Wisconsin. Wisconsin has never produced a president, but it did give us Bob LaFollette, famous progressive and erstwhile third-party candidate for president, and Joseph McCarthy, famed for his ominous yelling and the way he could make the phrase “I have here a list of names!” sound threatening rather than like a symptom of some sort of obsessive-compulsive disorder.
(Also, Liberace, because no list of the People Wisconsin Has Given Us is complete without Liberace****.)
* This beer is excellent.
**This beer is also excellent.
***This beer tastes much less like chilled, flavorless urine than everyone insists, really.
****Also, Jeffrey Dahmer, Ed “Buffalo Bill In Silence of the Lambs” Gein, and Georgia O’Keefe. But they average out to Liberace.