There are millions of stupid reasons to vote for someone. You like the idea of having a beer with him. You think he’d be a reliable sea captain. You like his dog or cat or the cow he has brought to graze on the White House lawn.
You think his wife is a nice person. You think his hair looks good. You see him in the opening credits of “America’s Most Wanted” once a week, and that strikes a chord with you.
You want to vote for him because Madonna says so. Or Will.I.Am says so. Or Clint Eastwood says so. Or an invisible man in a chair says so.
All of these are stupid reasons.
Madonna recently made headlines by urging Americans to vote for President Obama, using somewhat colorful language. “You better [expletiving] vote for Obama, okay? For better or for worse, all right?” she said to a concert crowd. “We have a black Muslim in the White House. Now that is some amazing [excrement].”
This is a stupid reason for every reason. In fact, this encapsulates perfectly the most popular stupid reasons to vote for someone.
First, this is just inaccurate. President Obama is not a black Muslim. Never mind what 17 percent of Americans think. (Who knew that Madonna was part of the 17 percent?)
Second, that’s not a good reason to vote for or against him. This is the presidency, not central casting. Vote for him because you believe in the work he’s doing — or vote against him because you don’t. Voting for him because you think he’s a black Muslim and rejoice to see him in the White House is wrong for the same reasons that voting against him because you think he’s a black Muslim and shudder to see him in the White House is wrong. And most Madonna listeners readily admit the latter.
Third, it’s Madonna’s idea. To vote for someone because Madonna or Ted Nugent says so (one of the rare occasions when I get to use their names in the same breath), especially because he or she yelled at you during a concert and urged you to — this is just silly. Especially when Madonna seems confused about basic aspects of the president’s biography. Do you really want to take your political opinions second-hand from someone who thinks the president is a Muslim? If so, there are millions of old angry people around the country to choose from.
Also, later in the performance, in the course of revealing her Obama tattoo, she threatened to remove all her garments if Obama were reelected, startling whoever runs Herman Cain’s Twitter. (The Cain camp, I think, startles easily. And, again, the threat that Madonna will remove clothes or put on additional layers of clothes or decide to perform at another Superbowl is — correct! — not a good reason to vote for anyone. Of course, Herman Cain knows bad reasons to vote for people. They were practically a theme of his campaign.)
Look, there are myriad stupid reasons to vote for someone. Madonna’s statement encapsulated three of the biggest. As usual, getting your political opinions second-hand from celebrity entertainers is its own punishment.
By Alexandra Petri | 07:03 PM ET, 09/25/2012