Saturday, September 29, 2007

The GOP Field Is Like Star Trek: The Next Generation

By Steven F. Hayward - NRO - this is quite funny and quite accurate!

The other night over martinis, someone asked me which GOP presidential candidate I like the most. Like many my fellow conservatives, I’m not very enthusiastic about any of the three putative, pre-Thompson frontrunners. A mid-martini moment of insight, however, sparked the following idea: The problem with this field is that it is too much like the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

In order to see how, you’ll have to bear with me and follow the story line. The major premise of my argument is that Ronald Reagan was Captain Kirk. I know, I know, Kirk’s character was said to have been loosely modeled on JFK, but don’t forget that Reagan inherited the mantle of JFK’s Cold Warriorism (as well as JFK’s income tax cuts). The similarities, at least in these regards, make the comparison tenable.

Having grown up with Kirk (and Governor Reagan), I hated — hated — Star Trek: TNG when it came on in the 1980s. The first of many reasons for hating TNG was that they actually obeyed the stupid Prime Directive, which is the epitome of cultural relativism. Half the plot lines of the original Star Trek involved Kirk wantonly violating the Prime Directive in what constituted acts of democratic statesmanship. Recall, for example, the episode called “The Apple,” in which Kirk revels in destroying the planet’s oppressive false god Vaal, and then explains to the stupefied inhabitants that their lives are going to change: “That’s what we call freedom. You’ll like it a lot. . . You’ll learn something about men and women — the way they’re supposed to be.” (The best analysis of this topic remains Paul Cantor’s wonderful book Gilligan Unbound, especially chapter 2, “Shakespeare in the Original Klingon.”)

TNG, on the other hand, was wholly bureaucratic — it was Star Trek as imagined by the U.N. General Assembly — and Captain Jean-Luc Piccard seemed more like the U.N. Secretary General than a commander.

More to the point — — the problem with TNG was that it split Kirk’s character into three people: Piccard the authoritative but rule-abiding commander; First Officer Will Riker as the impetuous and womanizing swashbuckler, and Counselor Deanna Troi representing analytical reason and intuition. No one of them alone could effectively lead the Enterprise. The result was unwatchable. (How many times did Piccard surrender the Enterprise in that first season? Kirk would never have done that.)

This lack of sufficiency in individuals sounds very much like our GOP frontrunners. The parallels are not exact, of course, but they generally parse out in the following way: Giuliani is Piccard, with his brusque, “make-it-so” personality; McCain is the impetuous and volatile Riker; and Romney is clearly an analytical Betazoid. Each, by himself, has obvious limitations and defects, and thus appears incapable of effectively leading; combine the strengths of all three and the result would be a success.

Unfortunately, there is not yet a candidate who has effectively shown himself as just such a combination of strengths. So let’s forget about this Fred Thompson boomlet — I have a better idea. Let’s elect Captain Kirk for President. Okay, so he's Canadian, but maybe that's the excuse we need to execute Jonah Goldberg's takeover plan (from the tyrannical reign of the tyrannical editor K-Lo.

... BTW, Fred Thompson is the proverbial weak bottle rocket that fizzles fast and doesn't pop at the end. Remember Bob Dole?


Lady Hawk said...

Dear Mr. Tiger,
I am a Captain Kirk Trekkie!
It is sad we will not learn from history-nor even quality science fiction-ways to do what is right for freedom and democracy.
My high school students are less and less intelligent every year.
11th grade honors students do not know what communism, socialism, nor capitalism mean, but think since bush is a Christian, we are in a theocracy.
Although I may lose my job over what I teach-American Literature-students argue and ocmplain that I am teaching Christianity-well, DUH-Puritans, Thanksgiving-I am lucky not to be a beginning teacher and to have a supporting family-especially my husband. I fear losing my courage and faith to fight back when my belief in God, and my rights of free speech are atacked. I have already done the hateful act of asking my students permission to teach a Russian novel that is not required curriculum.
Thank you for letting me vent.

Tiger said...

Vent all you want, Lady.

2164th said...

Lady, we need to change your name to say:

Lady Harken, Teacher

Lady Hawk said...

Dear Mr. 2164th,
Thank you so much! My eyes watered with happiness when I saw the Norman Rockwell picture.
This is the toughest year I have ever faced in teaching. I pray I am strong enough to stick up for my God and for my country. I fear backsliding.
Again, thank you and Mr. Tiger for your comfort.

Ursula said...

Dear Lady Hawk,
Listen, Sister, you have first amendment rights and nationally there is an acute teacher shortage. Your teacher contract must have protection for you.
I get so angry at the bullying and the immorality of the left and I feel your frustration to fight battles you do not have to. So much bad press about teachers and you sound like one of the majority who try hard to teach.
I think you have great grit and know God is in your corner!
Please keep Observanda posted on your progress.