As if the words “Senator Al Franken” weren’t oxymoronic enough, Ronald Radosh explores the nuances of the “Draft Mellencamp” campaign:
One word from Katrina vanden Heuvel, and the “draft Mellencamp” effort is on the way. As USA Today puts it, the effort is “building up steam.” For the moment, it seems that the singer isn’t taking the bite. As his agent says, “he has no statement to offer.” His supporters can hope that first response isn’t a no.
Is this serious, and will the call from the Nation and film critic Roger Ebert, who is also urging that he run, lead to the Democrats picking him for the vacant spot? Some in Indiana are doubtful. “‘I’d be amazed,’ says Brian S. Vargus, who teaches political science at Indiana University. ‘That would almost be as shocking as Evan’s timing’ not to run for his Senate seat again. ‘Indiana politics is a strange animal, Mr. Vargus admits, adding this about a possible Mellencamp run: ‘If it could happen, anything could.’”
In the Los Angeles Times, the paper’s cultural critic Patrick Goldstein writes that Brent Budowsky, once a top aide to Bayh’s dad Senator Birch Bayh, calls the idea of a Mellencamp candidacy “inspired” and “unique, one of a kind, a voice for the people who believe America needs a new brand of politics and new kind of leadership in the Senate. … I believe John Mellencamp would electrify the campaign and electrify Democrats who want a fighter for working people, farmers, small businesses and small-town America.” Reading this, it certainly does seem this is the mid 30s once again, and we’re in the era of the new Popular Front.
Goldstein, wisely titles his slightly sarcastic column “American Fool,” and writes that “I can’t say that I’m especially enthusiastic about the party turning to showbiz non-pros in its desperate search for a viable candidate. Once you get past George Clooney, who seems to have a better grasp of most issues than about half of the House of Representatives, it would be hard to imagine any Hollywood type being a worthwhile candidate for any office above film commissioner.”
Sadly, John McCain was using some of Mellencamp’s songs at his campaign rallies, until the singer ordered him to stop. One must recall that New Jersey’s new Republican Senator Christie faced the same objections from Bruce Springsteen. Conservative candidates have to learn that because they know a singer’s music is popular, they better not try to use their music without permission, or they’ll quickly face embarrassing stop and desist orders from the singers.
But because any candidate thinks the music is conducive to their message doesn’t mean the songwriter or singer is himself viable as a candidate. Not only does Mellencamp not have any experience, like other naïve lefties, as Allahpundit noted in a blog post, the singer told Charlie Rose in a 2007 interview that the U.S. hadn’t done enough to engage Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda in diplomacy and dialogue! Boy, I can’t wait to see those Republican commercials in Indiana and a clip from the Rose interview if Mellencamp takes the bait.
Still though, look at the upside. Presumably, much like truther/self-admitted communist Van Jones finally being on in the inside and thus able to blow to doors wide open on how Bush caused 9/11, John Cougar Mellencamp will finally have his shot at determining exactly how FDR caused Pearl Harbor.
(Can we draft Oliver Stone, next?)