John Mellencamp may ride an Internet wave of support all the way to the United States Senate. That is, if he wants it.
Over 3,500 people (and counting) have joined the "Draft John Mellencamp for Senate" Facebook group, and some prominent political analysts believe that a Mellencamp campaign could result in him replacing Indiana Democratic Senator Evan Bayh, who recently announced he will not seek re-election.
Mellencamp is a "voice for working people and a champion of farmers," stated Brent Budowsky of 'The Hill,' touting the rocker's populist credibility. "[He's] one of the great advocates of small-town America," he added.
The Indiana-born Mellencamp has already engaged in political fisticuffs with the Republican political machine, which may prove his toughness to doubters. His representatives demanded that John McCain refrain from using Mellancamp's hits 'Our Country' and 'Pink Houses' during the 2008 Presidential campaign.
Although a lack of practical experience is usually a challenge in electoral contests, recent changes in the political landscape could work in Mellencamp's favor.
"The only good news is that with the Republicans cozying up to all sorts of untested Tea Party oddballs, it would be hard for conservative pundits to engage in any of their customary celeb-bashing if Mellencamp were to actually throw his hat in the ring," writes Patrick Goldstein of the L.A. Times. "In politics, this is the year of the amateur," he adds, although he does have doubts about Mellencamp's electability. Katrina vanden Heuvel, an editor of 'The Nation,' believes that Democrats need a "populist candidate" like Mellencamp to keep Bayh's seat in the Republican-leaning state of Indiana
Representatives for Mellencamp could not be reached for comment.
Other famous Hoosiers that could make the run for Senate include David Letterman, Larry Bird, wrestler-author Mick Foley, David Lee Roth and La Toya Jackson.
Mellencamp, 58, is beloved for his rootsy, heartland rock that focuses on issues like poverty, politics, racism and mortality. He has earned over 22 Top 40 hits and sold over 40 million albums worldwide. He co-founded 'Farm Aid' to highlight the plight of family farmers and to raise money to allow them to remain on their land. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in March 2008.