Ryan has become an even bigger pop-culture sensation on Twitter, Tumblr and other sites, whose members are using a popular gag to blend commentary on his polarizing views with references to his blue eyes and boyish smile. He joins Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, actor Ryan Gosling and Olympic gymnast McKayla Maroney as the subject of similar Internet "memes" spreading through the social-media world.
Some of the Ryan websites are flattering, including the long-running "Hey Girl, It's Paul Ryan" blog, which juxtaposes photos of the vice presidential nominee with fake messages from him. "Hey girl, I AM your American dream," one dispatch reads.
But Ryan has some work to do to win over the voters behind many of the new websites dedicated to him. One of the most prominent is the "Paul Ryan Gosling" Twitter feed, which since its creation Saturday morning has sent 79 Tweets - and gained more than 47,354 followers.
"Hey girl, I know I'm only 42, but my ideas on women's rights are over 500 years old," one Tweet from the parody account reads. Another seemed to echo the "Fed Valentines" Tweeted by economists and financial journalists last winter, beginning: "Hey girl, I'm fiscally attracted to you."
Those fake Tweets have already overshadowed Ryan's vice presidential campaign - literally. On Tuesday, a plane flew over a Romney/Ryan campaign rally, with a pointed pro-choice message from the @PaulRyanGosling parody account: "Hey girl, choose me, lose choice - P. Ryan."
The account takes part of its name and its "Hey girl" stylings from one of the longest-running Internet memes around Ryan Gosling. The star of the weepy melodrama "The Notebook" has long inspired several websites to publish pictures of Gosling and his soulful eyes alongside imaginary romantic notes from him. ("Hey girl, you're my sunshine on a rainy day," or from the Feminist Ryan Gosling blog, "Hey girl, the hegemonic relationship between the state and the prison industrial complex cannot hold if we plan to develop as a nation, but I'll always hold you.")
Rep. Ryan undoubtedly has more immediate concerns than his fake social-media presence, but we who write on the Internet all day have some advice for him: follow the examples of Gosling, Clinton and Maroney, all of whom eventually embraced their Internet memes and even played along. Ryan started a new Twitter account of his own this weekend, @PaulRyanVP; may we suggest starting his next official Tweet with a "Hey girl"?