On Saturday, Mitt Romney shored up his conservative base by choosing Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan as his running mate — and, in the process, made history by giving Generation X its first real player in the presidential race.
Yes, Ryan was born in 1970, making him a full-fledged Xer (which also kinda-sorta explains why he likes Rage Against the Machine ), and while, if elected, he wouldn’t be the youngest VP in history — that would be James Buchanan’s veep, John C. Breckinridge, who was 36 when he took the office in 1857 — he’ll definitely be the first whose parents took him to see “Star Wars” in the theater.
Ryan also worked the grill at McDonald’s, was a varsity member of his high school’s soccer team and even piloted the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile (presumably all while reading Ayn Rand).
In fact, there’s been a whole lot of pop culture that’s gone on during his 42 years on earth. Here’s a look back at some of the highlights:
January 29, 1970: Ryan is born in Janesville, Wisconsin. The #1 song in the country on the day he entered the world? “I Want You Back” by the Jackson 5.
May 25, 1977: “Star Wars” is released in theaters. No word on whether the 7-year-old Ryan felt Tattoine’s strict power-converter tax laws needed restructuring.
August 1, 1981: MTV launches. Ryan is 11 years old and, as such, probably really into Martha Quinn.
July 5, 1989: “Seinfeld” premieres on NBC. The 19-year-old Ryan may or may not be too busy reading the National Review to notice. We’re curious to hear his thoughts on “The Outing,” though. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
September 24, 1991: Nirvana’s Nevermind is released. Ryan is 21 and probably totally played it on his Walkman, much to the derision of his Delta Tau Delta brothers.
May 1992: Ryan graduates Miami University with a double major in political science and economics. That same month, Sir Mix-a-Lot drops his epochal ode to economical booties, “Baby Got Back.”
November 3, 1998: Ryan defeats Democrat Lydia Spottswood to win the seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. He no doubt celebrates by bumping the #1 song on that date, “The First Night” by Monica.
May 21, 2008: Ryan introduces HR 6110, commonly referred to as “The Ryan Budget.” That night, in an equally epochal moment, David Cook wins “American Idol” season seven.
January 25, 2011: Ryan delivers the Republican State of the Union rebuttal. On a (presumably) unrelated note, thousands of protesters take to the streets in Cairo, officially beginning the Egyptian revolution.
August 11, 2012: Ryan is nominated as the Republican VP candidate aboard the USS Wisconsin. Simultaneously, Jeremy Renner’s “Bourne Legacy” kicks Batman’s butt at the weekend box office.
Check back for coverage on the 2012 election, and stick with Power Of 12 throughout the presidential election season.