She wears bras topped with cherry cupcakes and sings unsubtle songs about how she likes to feel her "lotus bloom" and wants to see a "peacock, cock, cock." And now, pop star Katy Perry wants to write a song for Hillary Clinton.
Hillary seemed intrigued. "Well that’s not a Hard Choice. You already did! Keep letting us hear you Roar," she tweeted back, referencing Katy's hit girl-power song.
But, should Hillary do it? Who would gain the most — or lose — in this scenario? Who wins over more new fans? Katy Perry likes to wear bras that squirt whipped cream, and Hillary Clinton is the former Secretary of State.
The decision is weightier than it seems. There might not even be a "right" answer. But, it's a big deal for Hillary as she considers a run for the presidency. Her words and deeds power a spin machine that has become finely tuned over the decades. The machine swiftly cranks out assessments of her actions, her outfits, her policy pronouncements, her hairdos. The machine can be zany. Sometimes it even has a sense of humor. And, sometimes it's just rude.
Photo: REX USA/Rex.
We're launching a column to observe Hillary's run for the presidency, assuming she runs. But, even if she doesn't, we see this as an exercise in observing how America, and the world, forms its opinion of one of the most powerful women of our time.
Lately Hillary's opponents have been trying to spin an image of her as an ailing crone, barely able to walk around. When she wore a pair of black-framed glasses to a congressional hearing, Republican strategist Karl Rove questioned her health, suggesting she had brain damage from a fall. (The Clinton camp called that a lie.) When she posed for a People magazine photo with her hands resting on a patio chair, the Drudge Report took a poke at her age, asking in a tweet if she was clutching a walker. Republican Senator Mitch McConnell has referred to her as a "Golden Girl," as in, that old show about old ladies.
That strategy might turn out to be a bust. It's not one that women would particularly appreciate. And, a recent survey from Pew Research found that the majority of young people think Hillary is actually younger than her age. (She's 66 now and would be 69 on election day, the same age as Ronald Reagan when he became president.) In the Pew poll, 53% of people under the age of 30 said they thought she is in her 50s. Meanwhile a "Ready for Hillary" bus is busy crisscrossing the country, thanks to a political action committee, hitting college campuses along the way.
Buddying up with Katy could help Hillary score with the millennial set—a crowd that gave her some trouble in the 2008 presidential primary, throwing support behind Barack Obama. The pop star has an army of young fans, a.k.a KatyCats, and more than 54 million Twitter followers. Forbes ranks her as number nine on its list of most powerful celebrities. At a concert in Washington, D.C., last week, young girls reportedly screamed in support when she said, "You know what's so great about America? Any one of you can be president now."
Katy has gotten political in past elections, wearing a skintight blue minidress emblazoned with President Obama's slogan "Forward" in the 2012 campaign. Another skintight dress, this one in white, depicted a ballot with her vote for the Obama ticket. Last year, she exchanged tweets with the commander in chief, retweeting a message he sent about Obamacare and getting a presidential thank you in return.
But, there might be a downside for Hillary in being besties with Katy. With all those ironic pinwheels and lollipops on her breasts, Katy looks like a subversive pinup girl. Her cheeky songs, laced with suggestive lyrics, aren't exactly the stuff of her evangelical Christian youth. ("Just when I think I can't take any more, we go deeper and harder than ever before," she sings in "Walking on Air.") Sesame Street yanked a video of her singing with puppet Elmo when she wore a dress that showed a bit too much mammary action. She was married to self-proclaimed sex addict Russell Brand, who broke up with her via text and later said it was hard to be monogamous because there were so many options of people to have sex with.
Opponents can accuse Hillary of being too Hollywood or promoting promiscuity. Katy's father, a pastor, has reportedly lamented his daughter's path in sermons. But, Marcy Stech, the national press secretary for EMILY's List, a group that works to get Democratic women into office, brushes off that concern. "Republicans will tear down Hillary at every opportunity, but those attacks are a losing battle," she says. She saw Katy's D.C. performance last week and the burst of supportive screams when Katy said anyone can run for president. "All the little girls went nuts," she says.
In the surreal American mystery spot of politics and pop culture, where everything is slightly out of whack and gravity doesn't quite work right, she thinks Katy and Hillary are simpatico. "They have based their entire careers on inspiring others," she says. "They've empowered a lot of women along the way."
Tell us what you think and join the spin machine: What should Hillary do? Would the unlikely duo get your vote?