Will John Boehner regret use of Taylor Swift GIFs?

House Speaker John Boehner assembled a listicle of 12 Taylor Swift GIFs to mock President Obama's community college plan. But is the songstress in on the gag?

Ted Shaffrey/AP/File
Taylor Swift performs during New Year's Eve celebrations in Times Square, N.Y., Wednesday, Dec. 31, 2014. John Boehner's office just published a with a listicle of 12 Taylor Swift GIFs to criticize President Obama's community college plan.

On Friday House Speaker John Boehner attacked President Obama’s just-released community college plan with a listicle of 12 Taylor Swift GIFs.

We’re not making this up. Representative Boehner – or, let’s be honest, some younger Boehner staffers who know more what’s up with the kiddies – compiled a bunch of Swiftian clips, Buzzfeed-style, to illustrate what they consider the overreach of Obama’s promotion of “free” community college tuition.

Listicles are a storytelling device in which movement is used to illustrate the lister’s idea, so we’ll just condense the story Boehner’s telling. It starts with the slender songstress looking excited. Then she strokes her chin to illustrate thinking. Where will the $60 billion to pay for this effort come from? Will it be the result of a (gasp) tax increase? That might make citizens angry!

Cut to a GIF of Swift bashing in the headlight of a Shelby Cobra, which is a very expensive car.

Maybe it would be better if we just worked together and improved kids’ education. (Cue Taylor applauding at some awards show.) Looks like an apology is in order, Mr. President!

You’ve got to see the whole thing, but it’s not bad in terms of a communications device. Maybe they’ll try “9 Cat GIFs That Illustrate the Ukrainian Crisis” next.

Except ... Taylor Swift. What does she actually think about the prospect of free community college? Because they’re just using pictures of her to illustrate GOP talking points.

We hope Boehner’s team cleared this with her beforehand. Because if she doesn’t like it, it is possible she might retaliate. And in terms of the culture, she’s a bigger deal than the speaker of the House. It’s a rough measure, but Boehner’s got about 314,000 Twitter followers. Swift has 51 million.

She’s written songs about ex-boyfriends who annoyed her in some way. We’re just pointing that out.

“This pretty much invites Taylor Swift to endorse the community college proposal, right?” tweeted Kevin Collins, a left-leaning Princeton political scientist, on Friday.

This could turn out to be like New Jersey’s GOP Gov. Chris Christie getting all excited at Bruce Springsteen concerts, and then getting snubbed by his idol. Springsteen’s a Democrat – he played at Obama’s first inaugural.

Maybe Boehner’s staff should have used supermodel Kate Upton GIFs. Her uncle is Rep. Fred Upton (R) of Michigan. That might have been safer, on the whole.

of stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Unlimited digital access $11/month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.