Tay­lor Swift’s cat, the strip club owner and a pres­i­dent

Dayton Daily News - - IDEAS & VOICES - Gail Collins

So, it ap­pears the Repub­li­can Sen­ate can­di­date in Ohio flew to a meet­ing of “faith lead­ers” in a plane owned by a Cleve­land strip club owner.

I am telling you this just to cheer you up. The world of pol­i­tics has been pretty fraught lately, and to­day we’re go­ing to try to be cheery and just talk about good old-fash­ioned weird­ness and stu­pid­ity.

Such as Rep. Jim Re­nacci’s de­ci­sion to travel to cam­paign events — in­clud­ing a “meet & greet ... with lo­cal faith lead­ers” — in a plane owned by the pro­pri­etor of the Peeka-Boo club in Cleve­land. The con­gress­man said the owner, whom we will call Mr. Peek, is a cam­paign vol­un­teer. “I’m not go­ing to vet vol­un­teers,” Re­nacci said.

Well, we would hope that all our can­di­dates do a lit­tle bit of vet­ting when it comes to air safety. But the best thing about this story is that it has noth­ing what­so­ever to do with Don­ald Trump. Who re­cently sug­gested that when we’re con­tem­plat­ing the com­ing elec­tions we should “think of it as the same thing as me.”

OK, he’s prob­a­bly right. But that doesn’t mean we don’t de­serve a lit­tle po­lit­i­cal di­ver­sion.

For in­stance, you’ve prob­a­bly heard about Rep. Paul Gosar, an Ari­zona Repub­li­can, who is a heavy fa­vorite for re-elec­tion even though he’s been the sub­ject of an at­tack ad made by six of his si­b­lings.

“It’s in­ter­ven­tion time, and in­ter­ven­tion time means ... you go to vote Paul out,” says one brother in the ad for Gosar’s op­po­nent, which is ti­tled “A Fam­ily De­fends Its Honor.” I can’t tell you this has re­ally made a dif­fer­ence; the polls sug­gest Gosar is still go­ing to win. How­ever, it could be a use­ful ci­ta­tion dur­ing your next fam­ily ar­gu­ment. (“Well, at least I never made an at­tack ad against you!”)

And then we had the Tay­lor Swift story! Even peo­ple who do not know the name of their cur­rent mem­ber of Congress know that Swift has en­dorsed for­mer Ten­nessee Gov. Phil Bre­desen for the Sen­ate. Af­ter a ca­reer in which she’s avoided say­ing any­thing much about pol­i­tics, Swift popped up with the an­nounce­ment that she’s vot­ing for Bre­desen be­cause his Repub­li­can op­po­nent, Rep. Mar­sha Black­burn, has a vot­ing record that “ap­palls and ter­ri­fies me.”

Celebri­ties en­dors­ing can­di­dates is not nor­mally all that big a deal — Trump him­self has a num­ber of en­ter­tain­ers on his band­wagon, from Kanye West to Tila Tequila.

But Swift’s an­nounce­ment was a lit­tle more dra­matic than usual, since she hadn’t said any­thing about her po­lit­i­cal pref­er­ences un­til now. This void ap­par­ently al­lowed white su­prem­a­cists who saw her as a beau­ti­ful Aryan god­dess to de­cide she was one of them.

Also, they thought she let them name her cat. It’s sort of a long story, but the moral is that if you are an ex­tremely pop­u­lar singer and you buy a pet, try to make sure no alt-right web­site runs a Name the Cat con­test. Oth­er­wise, you could both wind up pick­ing the same name, and next thing you know they’ll be un­der the im­pres­sion you’re go­ing to vote for Mar­sha Black­burn.

Trump is a Mar­sha Black­burn sup­porter — in fact, he was just in Ten­nessee for a rally in which she was ac­tu­ally per­mit­ted to come on stage and talk for three min­utes. “A vote for Mar­sha is re­ally a vote for me,” he told the crowd.

See? Bring back the strip club own­ers.

She writes for the New York Times.

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