Nimoy & Orci Comment On President Obama’s Similarities to Spock

There has been much written connecting President Barack Obama to Star Trek, spurred on by Obama’s own references to the franchise. In a new feature article today, the AP draws a specific comparison between the President and Star Trek’s Mr. Spock. The article also has comments from the original Spock, Leonard Nimoy, and Star Trek co-writer Roberto Orci, excerpts below.

 

Obama: Science Officer in Chief?
The main thrust of the article is that Obama’s ‘no drama’ persona, coupled with his support of science, leads to the conclusion "Barack Obama is Washington’s Mr. Spock, the chief science officer for the ship of state." The article notes many of Obama’s science initiatives, including how last week the White House announced it would hold an annual science fair to improve math and science education, quoting Obama "We’re going to show young people how cool science can be"


President Barack Obama tours a research laboratory at MIT (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)

When asked the Obama/Spock Connection, Leonard Nimoy (who supported Obama for President) told the AP:

Nimoy: I guess it’s somewhat unusual for a politician to be so precise, logical, in his thought process. The comparison to Spock is, in my opinion, a compliment to him and to the character.

The article also quotes Star Trek co-writer Roberto Orci, who told the AP:

"We knew he was a Trekkie," Orci said in a telephone interview. He said he watches the White House regularly for insight on the Spock character.

"To have a case study like that on the news every night makes my job a lot easier," he said.

Orci said Star Trek’s captain, James T. Kirk, was "based on a young new president in Kennedy" and that the Obama administration is part of a 1960s-type revival. Except this time, Kirk isn’t in charge. Spock is.

"You can make the case that Kirk is very (George W.) Bush-like," Orci said. "The (latest) movie represented those two opposing viewpoints: Leap before you look versus reasoned analysis."

The AP Obama article is running today in many newspapers across the country and can be read at MSNBC.com and other sites. This is certainly not the first time Obama has been compared to Mr. Spock. For example, the week the Star Trek movie came out, the NY Times had an op-ed by Maureen Dowd on the subject.


New York Times illustration of Obama as Spock

Star Trek in the mainstream
Regardless of your politics, this is another example of how Star Trek is as strong as ever in the zeitgeist. The AP could not do an article like this, unless it was felt that America would understand the connection. For more Obama/Trek connections, see:

 

 

 

 

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Ian B

The great thing about the western democracies is that we don’t go in for creepy personality cults surrounding political leaders, isn’t it?

Enterprise

That is so incredibly dumb.

HotStove

Good points here (pun intended). Reason is no good without emotion, and vice versa. The Kirk/Spock relationship succeeded because of that – as did the Federation.

As for getting too political here, I’ll let Ferris speak for me:

“Isms in my opinion are not good. A person should not believe in an ism – he should believe in himself. I quote John Lennon: ‘I don’t believe in Beatles I just believe in me.'”

Seconding #1 Anthony.

While in so-called “real life” I am not a fan of Obama’s policies, TrekMovie’s about Trek, not politics. And I, for one am really pleased that he’s put Star Trek back in the public eye — and in such a public way. It is downright freaking *awesome* that the *President of the United Freaking States,* whatever one thinks of him politically, is a fan of Star Trek. That *can’t* be a bad thing — for us, for him, or for the country. (Plus, it’s accurate: Pres. Obama is very much about the deliberative, the logical, and the precise. Just like Spock.)

I am also grateful to Mr. Orci for having made the comparison between Fmr. Pres. Bush and Captain Kirk. For one, I think that it’s apt, in the same way that the Obama comparison to Spock is apt — Kirk looked before he shot, but once he decided to shoot he shot. Same with Pres. Bush. For both, sometimes that was the right answer; sometimes it wasn’t, and usually it was controversial. Pretty much the story of any presidency. For two, given the reception Republicans often get in Trek venues, I half-expected to see Mr. Orci comparing Pres. Bush to a Klingon, or possibly Khan himself. It’s nice to feel welcome in Trekdom for once — or at least not actively hated.

Thanks for the post, TrekMovie! Let’s see if we can get a Trekkie nominated from the GOP in ’12, so we can have America’s historic first election where both candidates are Trekkies!

Kirk_Vs_Kahn

7. boborci – December 1, 2009

lol. It did. Bush? I’m sorry. Yes, Kirk was gung ho, but there’s a difference between the two styles of ‘gung-ho’ (besides one is fictional lol).

Kirk_Vs_Kahn

Hm…. where did ‘7. boborci – December 1, 2009’ go?

Before you all get started, I want to make it clear that this site is not the place for partisan political debates.

But can it be the place to make jokes at all politician’s expense regardless of party offiliation? Because that’s just fun to do.

I wonder what SpockObama thinks about the re-animation of deceased presidents and their possible impact upon th political landscape in the next elective process? (Link courtesy of CmdrR.)

http://www.theonion.com/content/video/zombie_reagan_raised_from_grave

boborci

7. Kirk_Vs_Kahn – December 1, 2009

Seems to have some commoninalities in bio — children of Men in charge, fratty, drank too much, made it to highest rank with no real qualifications!

I KEEEEED, of course!

HotStove

Kirk and Spock as two sides of the same coin is good – but we also need the good Dr. in there as the secular humanist referee. Trying to think of who McCoy’s current political doppleganger would be… and it’s hard to come up with anyone who’s actually bipartisan nowadays.

Kirk_Vs_Kahn

9. boborci – December 1, 2009

You had to go there, didn’t you lol

:-D

VZX

Kirk drank too much?

BTW: Kirk and Buch also have the same number of letters in their names.

HotStove

#9 boborci

That’s great! Of course, couldn’t Kirk just as easily be a Kennedy, too (said this liberal poster)?

: D )

Rach

I do not appriciate the George Bush/Kirk comparison. I liked the Kennedy one better. But yes, Spockbama forever.

boborci

13. HotStove – December 1, 2009

Sure. Kirk was originally and very obviously Kennedy inspired, coming into our world only a few years after his assassination.

Rach

@boborci Are you going to look to Obama for inspiration for Spock in the next Star Trek? Since you said you wanted to do something with political allegories, it would be… logical.

;)

boborci

17. Rach – December 1, 2009

Perhaps. Assuming Obama behaves inspirationally.

Rach

@boborci

I think that’s a good assumption to make. Let’s hope!

capt.Roykirk

Ok, I won’t rant about politics (though I would like to) I just want to say. Didn’t we do this allready? I mean, it’s allready been talked about that Obama is a trekkie, and is like spock in his logic and ect… So why is this news?

Rach

@boborci

Another random question… how’s the writing coming? :) I know we’re all wondering.

The Angry Klingon (without a trenchcoat)

9.
No real qualifications? I guess governing the largest state in the US as comparred to two years as a senator most of which was spent campaigning doesnt count? And what has Spock accomplished? Spock at least KNEW he was better suited toward being an Ambassador as opposed to a leader…we need a balance of brawn and brain working together and what we have had instead is one extreme to the other. Kirk needed Spock to temper him. Spock needed Kirk to get him ‘out of his head’ and take action. They LEARNED from each other. W leaped in to the fray without, soem could say, a lot of forthought while Obama ponders and promises much while delivering little. The bloom is off that rose, folks, and I wont vote for someone just because they like the same show that I do. Both sides will always blame the other side for ‘tying their hands’ instead of working together. The intellectuals only have the FREEDOM to sit aorund thinking because the warriors ACT. The scholars sit around trying to think up ways to keep the warriors from HAVING to act. It is a balance that we have lost because we find ourselves in a country where both sides disdain the other instead of working together.
BTW, Boborci, Kirk PRIME had qualifications…he actually worked his way through the ranks. Your comparison only works with the Kirk that YOU created who went from Cadet to Captain over night…Im actually surprised you wrote that considering it draws attention to just how contrived that plot point was. Yes, the new Kirk was put in charge based on who his dad was and had no real qualifications…thanks for that reminder :)

Robofuzz

Well – there’s a reason that Kirk was Captain, and Spock was only Captain when the Enterprise was essentially relegated to a training vessel. Certain personalities are born to lead and others are born to analyze. I’d rather have a leader.

CmdrR

This thread lacks enough beer to be going in the direction it’s going.

boborci

24. CmdrR – December 1, 2009

Or Romulan Ale.

14 – Anthony Pascale – December 1, 2009

I just hope you can keep in mind that you get to say your politics on your website. You do a great job here and you deserve to say what you wish, but it’s not a surprise that a lot of people get upset that Trek seems to always be so one-sided in its politics, usually represented as such by the politics of the writers (STVI) and occasionally actors (STIV). In the STVI directory’s commentary, we get the bizarre comment that Gorbachev had everything to do the end of Communism, though he fought bitterly to protect it, directly ordering assassinations in the Baltics, and despite the testimony of dissidents from Siberia to Gdansk who say Reagan and Thatcher had much more to do with it. Sigh.

Many come to Trek to be a part of something great. Yet, at every turn, and by every implication, Republicans are never logical or thoughtful, as Nimoy says of Obama, nor courageous or charismatic, the key personality traits alluded to by Orci and Roddenberry for TOS Kirk. This is one reason some like myself are so scared we’re going to be shut out of the next movie by a ham-handed allegory. And that brings me to…

16. boborci – December 1, 2009

…it’s not that we *expect* the allegory to be ham-handed with your hand on the rudder, but we worry. You have a right to a public set of passionate, partisan political beliefs too. But some want you to smash Republicans in the face metaphorically. Maybe you’d like to, and you come close to obliging when you say: “One could argue Kirk was like Bush…..” while then exclaiming how much Spock and Obama are alike without doubt.

As if there’s doubt a hero like Kirk could be associated with any Republican. But *of course* a hero can be a Democrat. Never mind that a large majority of the military (composed of real people it turns out) itself votes Republican, that many of Kirk’s actions from TOS seem to far better fit a GOP manifesto than a Democratic one today… “Arena” folks? LOL. Star Trek’s best episodes “City on the Edge…” “Space Seed” “Balance of Terror” then “Inner Light” “All Good Things…” “Yesterday’s Ent” “The Visitor” “In the Pale Moonlight…” (sorry, no VOY or ENT comes to mind…..) and its best movies (arguably II and XI) are about the compelling often paradoxical parts of human nature. We all have them regardless of party.

I recognize that Republicans are almost surely a minority of the body of Trekkers out there. But I think they deserve more respect and a little bit more inclusion in the narrative.

Tony Whitehead

GIVE. ME. A. BREAK. ALREADY!

SChaos1701

Obama is nothing like Spock. Spock actually knew how to do his job.

Anthony Thompson

Bob, I disagree with any Kirk – Dubya connections. Kirk is his own man. He doesn’t have a Cheney directing him.

CmdrR

It’s an excellent choice for a first rate website, Anthony.
Don’t let us get you flustered.
We’re only Trekkies, after all.

Zombie Ronald Reagan doesn’t care about your partisan ideology. He only wants to eat your brains. And effect an exit strategy from Afghanistan that ensures victory and still maintins some U.S. presence in the region.

And curiously, he still enjoys Jelly Bellies.

EM

Slow news day.

Enterprise

Bush reminded me of Chewbacca.

I agree with 31 Cmdr R, Anthony. I always enjoy seeing us back in whatever pop culture form.

LOL, I seriously worried about dying without ever having another Trek movie, or ever seeing Leonard Nimoy suit up again. And that was a horribly depressing thing. To be THIS relevant is something Trekkers may not have had a right to expect after the Berman / Braga years. It’s hard to imagine they could make as poor a movie as Nemesis…

And I enjoyed Insurrection but let’s talk about it for a second. Have we ever stopped to consider how insane that supposedly utopian society was? Kicking kids out for wanting technology? Making people wait 60 yrs to actually be artists? It’s some kind of super-liberal Stalin gulag. You get to live forever but you’re completely controlled in every choice you make!

Viking

‘Before you all get started, I want to make it clear that this site is not the place for partisan political debates.’

A bit like closing the barn door after you deliberately kicked the horse out, IMO, but I’m going to play Switzerland here.

So, Bob, how’s that rough draft for The Shat’s new part coming along? LMAO

boborci

26. Admiral Waugh – December 1, 2009
“…you come close to obliging..”

Really? By comparing him to JAMES T. KIRK?

EM

No “Big Bang Theory” / Star Trek references because of no new show last night.

37. boborci – December 1, 2009

LOL. …yes! That’s the point! You just couldn’t *bring* yourself to really compare them! “You could compare…” There’s a looooot of doubt there. Whereas, again, absolutely none with the other comparison. Obviously there’s a difference.

ALTHOUGH… superficially, I have to admit, it’s making more sense. Both had fathers who were ostensibly war-time heroes. Drinking problems… eh. Of course, not much having to do with their intrinsic character, but………..

Okay. Don’t hurt me. I would have voted with you on the Shatner version of script.

Mike in the Mirror

The Spock character was created when Obama was a child. Thus, there can be no connection between the two and no comparison. And the same goes for the Kirk / Bush comparison…

Anthony, the only way you’re going to stop people from questioning your politics is to not have any political articles that relate to Star Trek in any way.

boborci

40. Admiral Waugh – December 1, 2009

LOL! Fair enough.

The Angry Klingon (without a trenchcoat)

Just an insight here: I still remember in Basic Training my Drill Sergeant saying,”When I tell you to do something just do it! If I say ‘Duck’ and you stop to think WHY I said ‘Duck’ youre already dead. If I say SHOOT and you stop to ask WHY I said shoot youre already dead. The side that wins is the side that doesnt hesitate or rationalize.”
Spockbama would make a LOUSY soldier just as GW made a LOUSY Ambassador. Gorkon USED Spock in TUC but the fact remains that the Klingons themselves had no RESPECT for Spock. The Klingons didnt want ‘peace’ they wanted to survive. Historically the Middle Eastern culture has always used truces and treaties ONLY when they were in a position of weakness and only to bide their time for when they felt they were strong enough to strike (as the Klingons showed time and time again throughout Trek).
In Iraq it was made clear to me that this culture ONLY respects strength and negotiation is for the weak. The other side didnt LIKE Bush but they RESPECTED him. Obama on the other hand is finding out the hard way that ‘talking’ doesnt cut it in the Middle East. Its like watching Spock come to the realization that the Horta is dangerous WHEN IT AFFECTS HIM PERSONALLY and yelling, “Kill it, Jim!”. When the deaths were anonymous SPock rationalized saving the Horta.So many people in this country are Spocks that intellectualize the nasty business of killing and fighting because its not THEM but when they, or their loved ones are directly threatened, the tune changes. Conversely, Kirk in that episode went the other way. That was balance.
Its ironic that we talk about inflicting our ideals on other cultures but GW actually went about it in a way that the Jihadists understand: the strong man makes the rules. You cant re-educate until you WIN. The axis powers from WW2 are now our allies because they were crushed and rebuilt and that is the UGLY truth. We’ve been playing paddy cake in the Middle East and all its done is make this a long and drawn out mess. To win, decisive action without regard to ‘hurt feelings’ has to be taken OR withdraw completely and create an even BIGGER problem down the road. THAT is reality. The Klingons didnt negotiate until they HAD to because of Praxis. The Russians were failing economically and teh USSR was collapsing (but under Putin we see a resurgence of the old nationalism).
What they (Middle East) DONT understand is intelectualizing and sitting around trying to make everyone happy because its a tribal mentality and the tribal mentality is based around a sheik, a central strong man, who does not hesitate to enforce his authority. We violate the Prime Directive every time we ‘interfere’ with their ‘primitive culture’. But NOW the hill people and the villagers have traded up from muskets to AK47s and roadside bombs and Im pretty sure we dont want them to get their hands on phasers or we’re screwed…so what do we do? Do we fight? Do we think? Do we find a way to think AND fight decisively and effectively? Theres no easy answers especially when you start adding in all the other political hot topics that only serve to divide because they speak to core intellectual, philosophical or spiritual beliefs. How can we negotiate peace or win wars elsewhere when our OWN country is so divided?

boborci

Since Anthony is right, and this is about science, perhaps the more relevant question might be how will Obama respond to the revelation that evidence for human caused global warming has been potentially fabricated or exaggerated?

Or is that now basically a political question these days!?;)

Zombie Ronald Reagan would starve in the comments section of this website. For obvious reasons that need not be explained. But a hint would be that it wasn’t for lack of Jelly Bellies.

I always though of Dubya as more of a Pakled kinda dude.

Valar1

So who’s Sarah Palin in the Trek universe? Cmdr Shelby?

That One Guy

I love how nerds have taken over everything.

Star Trek (2009), Fringe, Star Wars, Transformers, Spider-Man, X-Men, Mythbusters…

10 years ago, I would’ve gotten beat up for liking any of those. Nowadays, because of shows and movies like those, being a nerd is no longer a taboo. Computers and cell phones have helped in the Geek Revolution, as well.

Speaking of which, I cannot wait for this week’s Fringe! AHHH! Bob, not to brag on you, but you’ve helped to create one helleva show.

That One Guy

Heh… I got Post #47.

Sorry, but that number makes me laugh.

Enterprise

Palin’s more like Janeway.

long time fan

I agree that Star Trek topics do often broach political or at least social issues but I have always assumed that both political parties are defunct in that universe. Whatever party they represent, it can’t be bad that US world leaders are aware of and, evidently, intrigued by Star Trek. I have always been proud of the Star Trek’s popularity with NASA personnel. Anything that promotes science is good for all of us.