OPINION

OPINION | TED TALLEY: GOP theories about Kelce-Swift are beyond belief


I had promised myself that I was not to be drawn into this Taylor Swift-Travis Kelce relationship nonsense. I was determined not to write about it since it has become so much fodder for vitriol and outrageous theories from an American right wing that has lost its mind stricken with what can only be described as mad cow disease without the loss of motor function.

We have come to expect this from the current Republican Party: scare tactics, purported conspiracies and exaggerations beyond belief -- except there are so many who actually believe these whoppers. A better world we'd live in if the word "believe" was mostly reserved for Sunday morning service responsive readings or Macy's Christmas ad campaigns.

Determined to digress from toxic insanity, I considered a column theme among internet videos of puppies, kittens and those cute fainting baby goats.

But then Taylor Swift up and won her unprecedented fourth album of the year award Sunday night at the 2024 Grammy Awards after her man (and his team the Kansas City Chiefs, lest we forget) clinched their fourth in five years Super Bowl appearance. Do you see a pattern? If not, then I offer Kelce's custom 1970 Chevy Chevelle SS convertible with its 4-liter engine. That's 244 cubic inches in usual Detroit-speak.

Soon the evangelical right will be replacing "666" with "444" as the mark of the Antichrist. And then there's her past sin: Swift endorsed Joe Biden in 2020.

Tongues wagged last weekend. Why was the tight-end Romeo absent from the red carpet escorting his blonde chanteuse? It's simple: they are a dual career couple. She had a work-urgent assignment in Los Angeles. Meanwhile he was on a Kansas City charter flight winging its way to Las Vegas in advance of the big game Sunday night.

Aha! What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas: the gridiron hero partying a week before the game surely means trouble for the relationship. Not so, offered quarterback Patrick Mahomes in a routine presser. "It's a business trip," he affirmed as the Chiefs will be focused on game prep.

But, but, but ... what about Swift singing the national anthem at the big event? That has to be one-third of the three-part "singer-woke athlete wearing earrings-old man from Delaware" plot to re-elect a sitting Democrat president. Never mind that contractual arrangements with other entertainers and musicians necessarily have been made well before Swift's 25 seconds of football fan fame as network cameras have caught her admiring her beau's singular talent at catching pigskin-covered balls this recent season. Reality: Super Sunday halftime shows just don't fall together as if organizing a kid's birthday party.

You doubt me? Then query our very own maestro, Steven Byess, of the Arkansas Philharmonic Orchestra. He can verify since he conducted the Walt Disney World Millennium Orchestra at Super Bowl XXXIV in the Georgia Dome. Talents he and the orchestra supported included Phil Collins, Christina Aguilera, Enrique Iglesias, Toni Braxton and Edward James Olmos.

Indeed we in the hinterlands known as Northwest Arkansas have this level of talent leading our regional musicians. Admittedly I've taken a detour here more suited for a different discussion, but offered as an example that Swift's singing at the big game is one more crazy theory. She has her tour stop in Tokyo ending halfway around the world just a day before the game in Nevada.

Logistically it is possible for Swift to hop on her private jet following that final concert to touch down (is that a pun?) at Harry Reid International Airport (egads, another Democrat!) in time to see Kelce, Mahomes, et al, perform in Las Vegas. Still, even with an advantageous Pacific tail wind, scheduling that tight is filled with potential complications. Thus one should expect Swift to have little more to do at the game but to be caught in the occasional "fluff" shot by CBS cameras. In essence that is her appropriate role in this developing novella: simply show up with a beautiful, supporting smile for the guy who has taken her cruising around the Paris of the Plains in his classic drop top Chevy.

Yet Republicans are deft masters at exaggeration and misdirection, weaving issues out of whole cloth about anything that feeds the base, even football. The fix is in. Kansas City will win the game. Kelce will continue his woke-work, like recommending life-saving vaccines. Swift will endorse Biden again.

For me, if the game becomes one-sided, there's an escape from the brouhaha. The 2024 Puppy Bowl airs simultaneously on the Discovery Channel.


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