In case you missed it, even the runways are looking downright conservative these days, with their button-down oxfords and snappy repp ties. So it should be no surprise that Aaron Schock, the youngest man in Congress (28!), proves you can maintain an appropriate—and appropriately all-American—wardrobe on Capitol Hill while sending a slightly more progressive fashion message.
Aaron Schock is almost 28 and a half years old, and he is a politician. School-board member at 19. Illinois state representative at 23. U.S. congressman at 27. And unlike every single one of his colleagues (except maybe Ron Paul), he owes a great measure of his success to the way his abs ripple. “In a sea of 435 people in Congress, part of getting things done is having an ID,” Schock says of that infamous red-bathing-suit photo TMZ published of him.
TMZ’s stalking a congressman is excellent news for the Republican Party, Schock’s party, the party that hasn’t been doing so well with the young folks since Family Ties. Schock sees himself (and so does congressional leadership) as someone who can sell people his age on the power of conservatism. “If there was a major failure [during the Bush administration],” he says, “it was a failure to communicate.” And he thinks a big part of correcting that is to become more tolerant. “Obviously, there are those who think that Republican candidates have to check all the boxes on economic and social issues—that’s why we’re the minority.”
Some of his fustier colleagues have asked him how they can better reach new voters, maybe through the Facebooks. But that’s the problem: Since he’s spent his postpubescent life perfecting the dark arts of politicking—learning to laugh at the right times and deflect questions (no, he doesn’t know why John Boehner is orange)—Schock now possesses the cultural awareness of a 14-year-old circa 1995. He still has an AOL account. It gets worse: “I got to know Elton John’s older music by learning to like his newer stuff,” he says. “The Lion King? That’s what I like.” Is this why he’s still single? Nah. “My only personal time is a couple of hours in the gym in the morning.”—greg veis