One of the common elements of political campaigns over the last few decades is the use of popular songs during campaign appearances, often highly inappropriate given the content of the songs. This began, famously, with Ronald Reagan using Springsteen’s Born in the USA without a clue what the song was actually about. David Masciotra notes the same thing about John Mellencamp:
Without fail, every campaign season an ambitious Republican candidate adopts “Small Town,” “Pink Houses,” “Our Country,” or another Mellencamp hit as entrance music. And without fail, John Mellencamp politely requests that the politician stop playing his songs at rallies.
He has performed at rallies for noble causes. Mellencamp is one of the founding board members of Farm Aid—the longest running benefit show in American history, providing assistance to small family farmers—and he has lent his talents to the fundraising campaigns of homeless shelters, children’s hospitals, and even independent bookstores. He is one of the few musicians to perform for the troops and their families at Walter Reed Army Medical Center…John Mellencamp is not a Republican. He is a self-avowed liberal—but his is a community-based leftism that distrusts bureaucracy and hates paternalism, yet believes in social assistance for the poor, sick, and hungry, the widows and orphans that the Bible identifies. Mellencamp inhabits common ground with libertarians on social issues, and he is a consistent opponent of war and foreign intervention, but he does not believe that an unfettered free market will solve every social problem.
Sounds a lot like me.