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Paul Ryan is an American Republican congressman from Wisconsin and the current Speaker of the House. His high visibility as speaker and as former presidential candidate Mitt Romney's running mate have made him a controversial figure in politics and has led to the creation of memes.
Ryan was born on January 29th, 1970, in Janesville, Wisconsin. He attended Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, where he graduated with a degree in economics and political science. He joined congress in 1999 at the age of 29, making him the second-youngest member of congress at the time. He has been reelected eight times. He became the ranking Republican member of the House Budget Committee in 2007 and took over as chairman in 2011. In 2011, Ryan gave the Republican response to the State of the Union Address. In 2012, he ran as presidential candidate Mitt Romney's running mate in the 2012 United States Presidential Election. His debate with Joe Biden spawned the Laughing Joe Biden meme (examples shown below).
In October of 2015, Ryan replaced John Boehner as Speaker of the House. Ryan was originally hesitant to endorse Donald Trump in the 2016 Presidential Election, but ultimately endorsed him. After Trump's Access Hollywood 'Grab Em By the Pussy, Ryan said he would no longer campaign for Trump and told down-ballot Republicans to regard Trump as they saw best for their district. This caused Trump to attack Ryan, calling him "disloyal." Ryan is an opponent of the Affordable Care Act and a supporter of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.
On December 14th, 2017, Politico reported that on the precipice of passing a sweeping tax overhaul, Ryan was thinking about retiring after the upcoming 2018 midterm elections. According to Politico, "three dozen people who know the speaker--fellow lawmakers, congressional and administration aides, conservative intellectuals and Republican lobbyists--not a single person believed Ryan will stay in Congress past 2018." This led to an outpouring of glee from Twitter users who are staunch opponents to Ryan. These celebrations were covered by Daily Dot.
On the morning of April 11th, 2018, Paul Ryan confirmed that he would be retiring from congress following his current term, which will end in January of 2019 following the 2018 midterm elections. He stated the reason would be to spend more time with his family. Some speculated that Ryan anticipated a wave of Democratic wins in the midterm elections, leading to his announcement. Ryan's retirement made white-nationalist candidate Paul Nehlen the top Republican running for Ryan's congressional seat in the 2018 Republican Primary. The retirement also led to speculation that Democratic candidate Randy Bryce may be the favorite to win the seat.
Online, the news was a major topic of discussion. A thread compiling news media stories on the news was posted to /r/politics and gained over 19,000 upvotes. The news was met celebration from Democrats who had long been irritated with Ryan's political agenda and unwillingness to challenge Trump. Twitter user @AllieGoertz tweeted a picture of herself next to a bag of trash, joking that it was Ryan, gaining over 500 likes (shown below, left). Twitter user @NatalieSurely tweeted disparagingly about Ryan's legacy, gaining over 180 retweets and 720 likes (shown below, right).
Left-leaning Twitter users also created memes about the news, many using the If You Don't Love Me At My… format which had been trending on Twitter the week prior to the news. These jokes were covered by Mashable.
Dismissal of House Chaplain
On April 27th, 2018, it was reported that Ryan had requested the resignation of the House chaplain, Reverend Patrick J. Conroy. While Ryan's office did not confirm the reason, Democratic representative Gerald E. Connolly of Virginia said that Conroy had speculated his dismissal was due to a prayer offered by Conroy from November 6th, 2017, in which he urged Congress to ensure that “there are not winners and losers” under the new tax law, but rather “benefits balanced and shared by all Americans.” It is speculated that Ryan perceived the prayer as critical to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, leading to Conroy's dismissal.
The move angered House Democrats, with more than 100 signing a letter demanding to know the reason for Conroy's dismissal. Catholic lawyer and lobbyist Simone Campbell tweeted that another potential reason for the dismissal was because Conroy had invited a Muslim cleric to deliver the opening prayer.
Meanwhile, Twitter users joked about the rumor that Ryan had dismissed Conroy due to disagreements with the Tax act. For example, user @Zeddary tweeted an image of Paul Ryan with a bow and arrow, gaining over 180 retweets (shown below, left). A tweet by @gilbertjasono referencing Ryan's tax plan gained over 1,100 retweets (shown below, right).
Hey Girl, It's Paul Ryan
Hey Girl, It's Paul Ryan is a single topic blog featuring photographs of Republican house representative, and Mitt Romney's 2012 vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan with "Hey girl" captions in the style of Ryan Gosling image macros. The captions often draw references to various pick-up line cliches and political rhetoric, similar to those found on Feminist Ryan Gosling and Poli Sci Ryan Gosling.
Time Magazine Photos
On October 11th, 2012, Time Magazine published a series of photos for his runner-up position as Time Magazine Person of the Year, which featured Ryan sitting on a workout bench while performing bicep curl exercises. The same day, the viral content site BuzzFeed published several of the Time photos in a post titled "Paul Ryan Did a Beefcake Photo Shoot and It's the Best Thing Ever" (shown below).
Also on October 11th, the Hey Girl, It's Paul Ryan Tumblr published several image macros using photographs from the Time magazine shoot (shown below). ABC News published an article titled "Paul Ryan Pumps Iron in Time Mag Photo Shoot," reporting that the photo series had inspired several image macros, a fake Twitter account and a fake OKCupid dating profile.
Paul Ryan’s PowerPoint Presentation is a photoshop meme mocking a PowerPoint presented by Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan to explain the GOP’s proposed Obamacare replacement in early March 2017. On March 9th, 2017, Ryan delivered a 20-minute presentation containing charts and graphics, which described the Affordable Care Act as a "death spiral" (shown below). Additionally, the presentation contained a single slide about the GOPs plans for reform that said "There will be a stable transition to conservative health care reform."
That day, Twitter user @bakedinapie posted a photoshopped screenshot in which Ryan presents a slide showing various Better Names for Things animal examples (shown below, left). Meanwhile, Twitter user @byrdinator posted a photoshop in which Ryan presents a portion of the Bee Movie script (shown below, right).
Paul Ryan's Gavel Bang
That's a little on the nose, House gavel pic.twitter.com/Z4T67MDKB5— Mark Gongloff, LLC (@markgongloff) December 19, 2017
 Washington Times – Top job in the House up for grabs as Speaker Paul Ryan to retire
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