Doctor Who

Obama: First Trekkie President?

The night before last, Barack Obama was elected to be the 44th President of the United States. At 47 years of age, Obama will be the first president born in the same decade as Star Trek, so is he our first Trekkie President? There certainly are indications that he is. TrekMovie takes a look at the case and at other Trek/Presidential connections from the past.

Obama: Trekkie President
The clearest evidence of Obama’s Trekkie-cred comes from a speech in Wyoming he gave in March of this year when he spoke about NASA (which became the subject of a TrekMovie editorial written by former Trek science advisor Andre Bormanis). At the speech Obama stated:

I grew up on Star Trek. I believe in the final frontier

There is also this passage from an recent Newsweek article on the ‘Secrets of the 2008 Campaign. The article recounts Obama speaking to his wife about an outfit she was wearing and making a Trek ref. From the article:

"That’s an interesting belt buckle," he said to Michelle, mischievously. She feigned offense and said, "I am interesting, next to you. Surprise, surprise, a blue suit, a white shirt and a tie." Obama grinned and bent down until he was almost at eye level with her waist. He jabbed a playful finger toward her belt buckle, and let loose his inner nerd. "The lithium crystals! Beam me up, Scotty!" Obama squeaked, laughing at his own lame joke as Michelle rolled her eyes.

And if that is not enough, then we have the word of Mr. Spock himself, Leonard Nimoy. In an appearance on NPR’s Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me in September, Nimoy (a long-time Obama supporter) recounted the following story:

About a year and a half a go I was at a political event and one of our current campaigners for the office of President of the United States saw me, approached, and he gave me the Vulcan signal…it was not John McCain

Obama also mentioned Trek when he appeared on a comedy tribute video as part of Bill Gates final CES Keynote as CEO of Microsoft. The joke was that Bill Gates was calling up politicians now that he had time on his hands, for Obama’s part he says "Bill? Bill Shatner? From Star Trek?" (goto 5:50 in the video below)

In addition to Mr. Nimoy, many of the new Star Trek team are active supporters President-elect Obama. JJ Abrams hosted and attended many Obama events and both Zachary Quinto (the new Spock) and Chris Pine (the new Kirk) actively campaigned for Obama over the last year. In fact,  Quinto sees a parallel with Obama’s message and Trek’s optimistic message, the actor was quoted in the recent Entertainment Weekly cover story:

This is a franchise that offers hope for unity — and so does Barack Obama…When this movie comes out, and Obama is president, hopefully there will be some parallels


Obama gives the Vulcan salute (with some help from Photoshop)

There is one other Trek/Obama connection worth making and that is he may have the Borg to thank for his rise to power…really. As TMZ explains, Obama glided to an easy election to the US Senate in 2004 after a scandal involving Jeri Ryan (Voyager’s 7of9) and her former husband Jack Ryan forced him out of the race.

 

Other Presidential Treks
While various Star Trek episodes and movies have mentioned U.S. Presidents (the Enterprise episode "Storm Front II" featured nearly every modern President, Star Trek VI revealed the Vulcans have a proverb about Nixon, and John Kennedy’s words are in the teaser trailer for 2009’s feature film), Star Trek and the U.S. Presidency have many interesting non fiction connections.

President Gerald Ford (President 1974-1977)
When NASA rolled out their first space shuttle "Enterprise" on September 17, 1976, the creator and crew of the fictional starship USS Enterprise was there. President Ford had been persuaded by 200,000 letters from Americans (in a campaign organized by famous Trekkie Bjo Trimble) to change the name of the shuttle from "Constitution" to "Enterprise" to honor the influence of the television show on science.


Gene Roddenberry and his TOS crew with the USS Enterprise shuttle

President Ronald Reagan (President 1981-1989)
According to his own diary, during the weekend of June 23-24, 1984, President Reagan watched Star Trek III at the White House with friends and family. He wrote "After dinner we ran "Star Trek III." It wasn’t too good". In 1991, then Former President Reagan visited the Star Trek: The Next Generation set during the filming of the episode "Redemption." When asked about Klingons, Reagan said "I like them. They remind me of Congress."


Reagan on set with Michael Piller (L) and Rick Berman (R), and Patrick Stewart (bg)
[thanks to Larry Nemecek for photo]

Almost Presidents Gore and Powell.
According to college roommate Tommy Lee Jones, speaking at the 2000 Democratic National Convention, former Vice President and former Presidential nominee Al Gore is a Star Trek fan. According to Larry Nemecek’s Star Trek The Next Generation Companion, General Colin Powell (Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staffs, and later the Secretary of State and once considered a possible Presidential nominee) also visited the TNG sets during its third season, and was there when Gene Roddenberry gave his military bars to actor Wil Wheaton.

More on Trek and Presidents:


 

 

 

 

 

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JOJO KRAKO
November 6, 2008 2:39 pm

YAY OBAMA!

Enterprise
November 6, 2008 2:40 pm

Lol, I thought this site didn’t want any political posts.

November 6, 2008 2:41 pm

Live long and prosper, President-elect Obama!

OneBuckFilms
November 6, 2008 2:42 pm

If I could have voted, I would have gone for the other guy (McCain).

Hope his presidency goes well, and that he does a good job.

Being a Trekker can’t hurt ;-)

Kirk, James T.
November 6, 2008 2:43 pm

Obama is a legend, im from the UK and as a fan of Star Trek – i hope we are now just that bit closer to achieving the dream. :D

CSM
November 6, 2008 2:46 pm

Mister – We could use a man like Ronald Reagan again! CSM

November 6, 2008 2:50 pm

I can see Obama as a Vulcan.

Crusade2267
November 6, 2008 2:52 pm

Yes we can Live Long and Prosper!

Nice how those two go together, innit?

MORN SPEAKS
November 6, 2008 2:55 pm

I have been so overjoyed this week, I remember him speaking at the Democratic Convention in 2004 and just being wowed by him, and it looks like he’s a friend of Trek. Even Better!

sean
November 6, 2008 3:00 pm

If real life follows the Trek pattern (DS9, VOY), we’ll have a woman president by 2012 or 2016! :)

In all seriousness, I think we can all follow John McCain’s gracious example in taking pride in the fact that our country was able to elect a black President for the first time. Hopefully, it won’t be the last time. And hopefully the ceiling for a woman President isn’t too far off from being broken, either.

November 6, 2008 3:03 pm

Ferengi…

Radioactive Spock
November 6, 2008 3:12 pm

as long as he steers clear of ferengi-ism on the far right, and borg collectivism on the far left we’ll be good.

SexyAsianGurl
November 6, 2008 3:13 pm

Will he be open to getting the classified UFO research out into the open..thats the question. We need that technology thats flying around the night skies..

The TOS Purist aka The Purolator
November 6, 2008 3:14 pm

#10 –

I agree!! And we all know that “woman president” will be Sarah Palin. ;)

PALIN IN 2012!!!

sean
November 6, 2008 3:21 pm

#14

Oh dear! No, that’s not who I was referring to. Haha. Anyone but her would make me a happy camper.

That One Guy
November 6, 2008 3:23 pm

15,
Nanietta Bacco, methinks?

AC
November 6, 2008 3:26 pm

Uhg. Earth tones, wide collars, bell bottoms and leather…dear God. 70’s fashions were horrid. Barf! At least the Enterprise is timeless.

El Chup
November 6, 2008 3:26 pm

Clinton is also a trekkie……………….

cw
November 6, 2008 3:28 pm

Holy Crap, after this ENTIRE campaign, FINALLY something to like about Obama!

Canonfornication
November 6, 2008 3:29 pm

Posted this in the previous thread but its more apt here:

ive a feeling that Treks optimistic outlook (and a return to original trek with fresh faces as kirk etc) with its technology becoming more prevailent in todays society tied in with Obama becoming president (trekian tolerance heralding a new era mirroring Roddenberrys utopian views), plus the fact it will be a great movie will make this Trek film go through the roof at the Box office next may – like post vietnam/watergate star wars in 77

Canonfornication
November 6, 2008 3:32 pm

So there could have had a president called Jack Ryan??
Thatd be like having a PM called James Bond

Regan didn’t like Star Trek III huh? That proves he wasn’t a true trek fan

Don’t forget ‘JFK’ is playing Pike in the new movie!

oh and wheres shatner in that Space Shuttle ceremony??..dont tell me he was sulking in his trailer or filming Columbo cause he didnt wanna go with Takei!

Shatner_Fan_2000
November 6, 2008 3:35 pm

#9 “I have been so overjoyed this week”

Me too. :-)

Myrth
November 6, 2008 3:36 pm

#2 No no Political comments are just fine as long as it is the correct kind political comments. All are equal just some are more equal than others. We live in a sad world.

Enterprise
November 6, 2008 3:36 pm

I wonder if he will donate money to replicator manufacturers.

Canonfornication
November 6, 2008 3:37 pm

obama dosnt look unlike the guy that played Tuvok…

Federali
November 6, 2008 3:37 pm

Well if Obama were the President of the Federation, he’d make sure the starships didn’t have phasers or torpedos… America wussed out on this election…

Shatner_Fan_2000
November 6, 2008 3:39 pm

#26 … More like they wised up. The Federation wouldn’t have started an unjust war.

max
November 6, 2008 3:42 pm

I had no idea Reagan visited the TNG set. Facinating.

Doug
November 6, 2008 3:42 pm

From Newsweek’s secrets of the ’08 campaign –

http://www.newsweek.com/id/167755/page/6

“That’s an interesting belt buckle,” he said to Michelle, mischievously. She feigned offense and said, “I am interesting, next to you. Surprise, surprise, a blue suit, a white shirt and a tie.” Obama grinned and bent down until he was almost at eye level with her waist. He jabbed a playful finger toward her belt buckle, and let loose his inner nerd. “The lithium crystals! Beam me up, Scotty!” Obama squeaked, laughing at his own lame joke as Michelle rolled her eyes.

Canonfornication
November 6, 2008 3:46 pm

Just think if McCain had won then died shortly after – Palin would be Pres!!

A female Dub-ya!!

Holy s**t that’s a scary thought! Imagine her surrounded by her 5 kids with her finger on the button..

The Starfleet Conservative
November 6, 2008 3:46 pm

Oh boy, here we go, we stopped a ruthless dictator but it was unjust… yep.

Regan, the ultimate Star Trek fan. Bring him back!

Canonfornication
November 6, 2008 3:48 pm

one more thing – Obama is the same age Patrick Stewart was when he took command of TNG

The Starfleet Conservative
November 6, 2008 3:49 pm

I bet George Takei feels Obama is a real champion for that “trekian” equality mentioned earlier, now that he has to have his marriage annulled with a President-Elect who opposes that right to be wed.

November 6, 2008 3:49 pm

nice catch doug

November 6, 2008 3:51 pm

OK guys I know this is about a politician, but it is supposed to be about trek and all in good fun. I dont want to see any more hyper partisan stuff like some of the recent posts above.

Lets not get divisive here OK?

Enterprise
November 6, 2008 3:52 pm

i hope he’s not a part of Section 31.

navamske
November 6, 2008 3:55 pm

Judith Campbell Exner, reputed to be one of President John F. Kennedy’s mistresses, was married to actor William Campbell (Captain Koloth).

Jeri Ryan’s ex-husband, Jack Ryan, was likely to have been Barack Obama’s opponent in the 2004 Illinois Senate race. When details of his divorce were made public, he dropped out of the race.

trekmaster
November 6, 2008 3:56 pm

@#31 Yes, that’s why he started the “Star Wars” program… ;)
@#35 Nice joke

My opinion: Obama is now in the function of a president and in this function he has more duties than individual freedom. It doesn’t really matter if he’s a trekker or not. Don’t be so naive – “the war on terror” will go on!

mike
November 6, 2008 3:56 pm

Bush and Karl Rove, according to JMS, apparently like Babylon 5.

CMX54
November 6, 2008 4:00 pm

Choice for first female President:

Isis from ASSIGNMENT: EARTH.

(In human form, NOT the cat!) ;-)

SPB
November 6, 2008 4:00 pm

Obama = Spock

Clinton = Kirk

You know what I mean.

trekmaster
November 6, 2008 4:02 pm

@#41
Obama = Sisko
Clinton = Riker

Smike van Dyke
November 6, 2008 4:03 pm

I’m not American but I stayed up all night to participate in this historic event via television. Obama’s victory is the best thing that could have happened to Trek.
He is the the very manifestation of lots of the ideals Trek stood for in the 60s. The first interracial kiss, Vietnam criticism, a muli-racial crew embarking on the final frontier.
The youngest president in US history, coming to power only months before the youngest Captain Kirk is going to commence his mission.

Of course Obama is larger than Star Trek. And yet, Trek is a lot more than just a TV show or movie series. It seems the film’s chances of success have just exponentially grown…

The bleek times of George W. Bush and Rick Berman are over. The world and America are ready to begin a fresh start…and Star Trek will be a vital part of it…

Can this movie be big? YES, IT CAN!

November 6, 2008 4:07 pm

Is it just me or does that photo of younger Nimoy with the Shuttle look very close to Quinto? Before I clicked the image to enlarge I could’ve sworn they were one and the same.

SPB
November 6, 2008 4:07 pm

#43-

Correction: Second-youngest.

Anthony Thompson
November 6, 2008 4:21 pm

Not surprised at all. Obama is the man.

Jeffries Tuber
November 6, 2008 4:21 pm

Reagan’s line about Klingons is great. I’m an Obama guy, thru and thru, but Reagan certainly knew how to bring people together with a humble joke.

Gene is rockin’ that rust colored leisure suit above!

Anthony, I’m glad you loosened your tie a bit on the politics. And I won’t be crossing any lines.

The connection between Kennedy/MLK-era dreams and Star Trek is unavoidably comparable to Obama’s rhetoric, and the symbolism of his Spock-like mixed heritage. They didn’t put the Kennedy line in that trailer by accident.

John from Cincinnati
November 6, 2008 4:36 pm

Obama is awesome..

Izbot
November 6, 2008 4:39 pm
I’ve strayed away from stating any political stance throughout this campaign (and, truthfully, following this election and the new JJ Abrams ‘relaunch’ have eaten up about equal time for me) but I am genuinely happy with the recent election results and feel a real connection between Obama’s impending presidency and the new film. Star Trek may have originally aired during the most turbulent years of the 60s but I believe the germ of Roddenberry’s vision was born out of the Kennedy presidency. It is fitting and elegant that the teaser for the new film invokes Kennedy’s words. For the first time in my own life I feel America may live up to its promise and potential. Regardless of your political party of preference, regardless of who you voted for, these are trying times for America and Obama is our president-elect. Do what is right, ask what *you* can do to help the country in our time of need. Lately I’ve felt for the first time that the foundations for the diversity-in-action of the Federation may be laid in my lifetime. Read history. See how FDR inspired Americans of all types to dig in and save our country during the Great Depression. It can be done again. My whole family consists of Texas Republicans. Many of them (I moved to Seattle to be in a blue state — in large part due to ideals I gained from Star Trek) have voted across party lines because they felt it was the right… Read more »
November 6, 2008 4:39 pm

Anthony, when are you going to announce Obama’s cameo as a Vulcan in the new Star Trek film? This seemed like the perfect post to do it; talk about a missed opportunity here. :-(

Live long and prosper? Yes we can! :-D

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