The following editorial appeared in the Chicago Tribune on Tuesday, May 26:

After an interview in which President Barack Obama confronted the economy, the Middle East and a lot of other Vital Issues, a Newsweek correspondent actually elicited an important new piece of information about the president.

He’s Spock. As in “Star Trek’s” famous Vulcan with the pointy ears and the computer-like brain.

Obama said so himself. Asked about the new movie, he offered that people called him “Spock.” And that he was a huge fan of the series, from age 10. “You know, ‘Star Trek’ was ahead of its time,” he said. “There was a whole — the special effects weren’t real good, but the story lines were always evocative, you know, there was a little commentary and a little pop philosophy for a 10-year-old to absorb.”

As longtime fans of the series, we are proud to have a Trekker as president. But, Mr. President, you do realize that professing allegiance to “Star Trek” is a political risk, right? “Star Trek” fans — Trekkies to the scornful, Trekkers to the faithful, nerds to everyone else — occupy a certain alternate universe that can seem strange and alien to the average human life form. You are already different, as presidents go.

Did you consult David Axelrod or Rahm Emanuel before comparing yourself to Spock? We think not. If you had, they might have winced and suggested alternatives. How about Capt. Kirk, the swashbuckler and womanizer? OK, that’s not so good. But there’s Jean-Luc Picard, The Next Generation’s cerebral captain. OK, he’s got that French surname even though Patrick Stewart played him with a British accent.


Maybe Spock is the perfect choice. Spock was always preternaturally cool, holding his emotions in check. Obama — same. (Sure, he’s got the un-Spocklike trademark grin, but he’s also known for being unflappable under pressure.)

Analytic? Check.
A devotee of science? Check.
A man of two worlds? (In Spock’s case, human and Vulcan. In Obama’s, black and white.) Check.

OK, Mr. President. Now we know about your inner Spock. There’s only one more challenge. The next time you finish one of those prime time press conferences? Could you please turn toward the camera, raise the Spock hand-salute (which you demonstrated ably to the Newsweek reporter!) and intone the immortal words:

“Live long and prosper.” If you can do that, well, you know that 2012 endorsement? We can make it so.

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