Senators engage in a bipartisan attempt to go viral

Senators participating in the Senate's Ticketmaster inquiry took the opportunity to quote artists' work in an attempt to create the soundbite of the day. Democrats Amy Klobuchar and Richard Blumenthal took their moment to shine and were accompanied by Republican Mike Lee.

You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow.


"Ticketmaster ought to look in the mirror and say: 'I'm the problem. It's me,'" said Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, quoting Ms. Swift's "Anti-Hero." Another Democrat, Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, referred to the 2012 album "Red" to explain that consolidation within an industry was a problem the United States knew "all too well."

It was a bipartisan effort. Senator Mike Lee, Republican of Utah, credited his daughter as his inspiration for invoking Ms. Swift's lyrics on at least three occasions. Mr. Lee leveraged Ms. Swift's 2014 hit "Blank Space" to characterize restrictions on reselling tickets as "a nightmare dressed like a daydream" and concluded one set of remarks with a question Ms. Swift posed on her most recent album, "Midnights": "Karma's a relaxing thought; aren't you envious that for you it's not?"

The lyrics were an unsubtle play for virality from politicians who are increasingly aware that becoming a meme can also help get a message across. In otherwise dry congressional hearings, eye-catching displays like Representative Katie Porter's whiteboard can stand out. Another way to grab attention is to weave in an unexpected pop culture reference, as when Senator Ted Cruz was mocked, but discussed, for reading Dr. Seuss' "Green Eggs and Ham" on the Senate floor in 2013.