By Marcel Votlucka
With voter turnout and public confidence in their elected officials at an all-time low, one wonders: is there truly a viable candidate this election season who represents the People?
Meet RUFUS, independent candidate for Presidency of the United States – and possibly the most unique candidate you will ever encounter in this frenzied “horse-race.” Born and raised on his father’s ranch in rural Montana, RUFUS is running for P.O.T.U.S. to fight for the interests of the people closest to his heart – small town Americans fed up with Washington snobbery and eager for a real “hoedown” on Capitol Hill!
“It started with the small time ranchers and rural cowboys and farmers,” explains Cheryl Brown, RUFUS’ campaign manager and personal assistant. “Y’know, the people most ignored by the media and the politickin’ politicians in D.C. They were at the forefront of the ‘Draft RUFUS’ movement last year. Before we knew it, we had petitions coming in from all over the country begging for RUFUS to shake up the boring ol’ horse-race.”
Indeed, RUFUS’ rising success is thanks to a dedicated base of supporters drawn to his simple yet powerfully inspiring message – “Pulling America out of the MUCK of bipartisanship!” Without any central direction from the candidate or his team, his supporters have created a massive Internet following, making RUFUS the number two most Googled candidate behind Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX). But with this popularity has comes sharp criticism of RUFUS’ admitted lack of political experience and the “unknown” factor – RUFUS has never held a single elected office.
“His idea of a sound foreign policy involves whinniying and whining as if we can simply scare the terrorists away like so many rodeo clowns,” says Vice Presidential candidate Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE). “Maybe that’ll work out in Montana, but this is Washington. We need proven leadership and experience to do the job of protecting Americans from the likes of Al Qaeda.”
But that matters little to RUFUS’ most devout backers, such as Noah Whitegrass of Paducah, KY, “He’s the only true maverick jockeying for position in this race! We need a fresh start; shake things up with a true Washington outsider like RUFUS! How many candidates can say they were born and raised on a ranch and made their living working at rodeos? How all-American-apple-pie can you get?” A Facebook group called “I Support RUFUS for Prez in ‘08!” has recently appeared; a testament to the candidate’s sudden popularity.
Pundits have mixed feelings about RUFUS. “He’s a real dark-horse candidate. It’ll be exciting to see how this plays out,” says George Stephanopoulos, of ABC. Bill O’Reilly remarked at a recent book signing, “I wonder if these pinheads at the RUFUS campaign are just going for the lowest common denominator here?” “He’s as full of sh*t as the rest of ‘em,” retorts Keith Olbermann. “The only question is: bull or horse?”
Fellow Presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain have so far refrained from weighing in on RUFUS; perhaps not taking him seriously due to his low standing in official public polls. Moreover, RUFUS is not officially on the ballot in any of the 50 States because of his failure to meet controversial ballot access requirements. Instead, voters may place ballots for RUFUS as a write-in candidate. His campaign managers have turned this seemingly mutable tactic into a major selling point; a political “maverick” and “outsider” struggling to get the people’s voices heard – as his first televised political ad asserts – “one way or another…and that ain’t no horse-hockey!”
Independent Presidential candidate Ralph Nader was quick to point out “the partisan biases that are inherent in ballot access laws – you have the two major parties, that control ballot access, lock out competing candidates, lock us out from the debates, put innumerable hurdles in our path. This is a real tragedy, an insult to democracy, and I welcome fellow candidates like RUFUS who are willing to saddle themselves with the responsibility of challenging this bipartisan gridlock.”
Whether you’re Obama, McCain, or RUFUS, the stakes are high and the path is unsure in this election. But don’t be surprised if our modern-day political Seabiscuit pulls through to a photo finish this November!