THREE ISSUES | “Puttin’ People On the Moon”… and in Congress… and into the White House


Jim Rufi, the 46-year old award-winning Car Program manager of the St. Paul-Fairview Goodwill Easter Seals (since 2005), self-avowed fan of the country-rock group “Drive-By Truckers”, and astute student of political science told the Daily Planet what he feels are the most important issues in the upcoming federal elections this fall, illustrating with song lyrics in a deft juxtaposition of music, politics, and life.

FP: “Jim, what are some of the concerns, concepts, or issues you have regarding the upcoming national elections that you hope to see addressed or resolved?”
JR: “Basically, I would want President Obama to win. But as far as the political process itself goes (the election season, politicking, ads), I must say I’m a bit disillusioned.”
FP: “How did you reach a point of disillusionment?”
JR: “Oh, just the past, seeing it all play out, having experienced past elections. You know, one of my favorite connections to the political process is through music, just because as a medium of communication, music is so universal, open, and relevent to everyday life, including politics.”
FP: “Could you elucidate?”
JR: “Sure. For example, if you look around at the U.S. voting populace today, alot of them, including me, are [disillusioned] with the current course we’re on, especially regarding foreign policy. Look at Iraq…. Regarding the Middle East at large, it seems as if we [the United States] pick and choose who we want to back, often at the expense of the immediate populace. President Obama is very coy about his Middle East policies-“
FP: “How so?”
JR: “Well, regarding his uses of covert ops [operations] like drone strikes, the Osama Bin Laden killing, responding to humanitarian crises [Arab Spring]. Romney seems to be more blunt about how he would handle situations in the Middle East… [but] I feel throughout it all, most US citizens are weary of Middle East conflict, which argubly could impair both candidates this fall in ways we don’t yet understand.”
FP: “You feel the results and implications surrounding the Middle East over the past 3 to 4 years may pale in contrast with larger national world-weariness?”
JR: “Sure, and that’s where a lyric from the song “Puttin’ People on the Moon” by Drive-By Truckers resonates so well with me, because it essentially displays how I feel about the upcoming election.”
Another joker in the White House, said a change was comin’ ’round
But I’m workin’ at the Walmart and Mary Alice in the ground
And all those lyin’ politicians, they all lyin sacks of [human excrement]
They say better days upon us but I’m sucking left hind tit
-Lyrics used and expressed from “Puttin’ People On the Moon” by Drive-By Truckers

FP: [laughter] “You do certainly have a unique perspective on the election.”
JR: “Which I think really ties into our culture today as well, especially with youth. And youth will be the large voting block, supposedly, this election.”
FP: “Are there other issues you’re looking at regarding the election, albeit at a distance?”
JR: [laughing] “Yes, there are. I’m looking at gerrymandering. There’s a case right now going on in Texas, where the GOP [Republican party] is trying to increase delegates and therefore, influence in the state ahead of the fall elections. That’s what I mean… today, there is too much “Us vs Them” mentality. And it’s unproductive.”
FP: “You’re talking about the national political partisanship?”
JR: “Yes. [But] it’s even larger than that. I think four years to try and run the country as president is too short, unproductive… I would like the presidential term to change to a six-eight year term, with no reelection.” 
FP: “That’s an interesting concept. Do you think, with so many issues that you addressed, you’ll be somewhat active in the election?”
JR: “Yes, we’ll probably donate money, vote, but no active campainging [on behalf] of any candidates. Today’s political campaigns are too much like a club. Whoever’s in the hierarchy rules — if you, as an individual have a disagreement of substance, you really have no role.
FP: “Any final thoughts or predictions on the national elections?”
JR: “It will be a close one… I don’t think Romney will win. He isn’t charismatic enough. But Obama has a tough climb. He needs to get the unemployment rate down. I do think Obamacare is a step in the right direction, although constitutionally, the health mandate will probably be ruled as unlawful, which could hurt him a bit come election time. I do have one important prediction, though.”
FP: “What’s that?”
JR: “I do believe Wisconsin governor Scott Walker will run for president in the next 2 or 3 election cycles.” 
About the Three Issues articles: As we work on election coverage for 2012, one of our goals is identifying the issues that matter to people.  These articles come from one-on-one conversations about the election and what people think is important. “The election” could mean local, state or national level. If you’d like to contribute articles to the series, click here for more information