Drew Friedman: McCain/Obama as Kirk/Spock

Kirkmccain & Spock Obama001-2
My favorite living portrait artist Drew Friedman painted this incredible piece for a New York Observer article on the "Weirdest Presidential Race of the 21st Century." From The Observer:
Leonard Nimoy approves of Barack Obama’s emotional detachment and logical approach to campaigning.

“He is measured and stable,” said Mr. Nimoy, who played Mr. Spock on Star Trek, and who has supported Mr. Obama since they first met about a year and a half ago at a small Los Angeles fund-raiser. “It’s true that he has an intellect that works for him, he handles difficult problems with aplomb. Reliability and stability are very important assets in this race, in these particularly volatile times.”

Mr. Obama, as far as anybody knows, does not greet strangers with a cloven V salute, practice debilitating neck pinches, bleed green or have a constitutional incapacity to fib. But his methodical, unflappable style and otherworldly resistance to overt displays of emotion–not to mention his temperamental inability, or refusal, to connect on a visceral level with working-class voters–makes him, by contemporary candidate standards, downright alien.

That’s usually not a good thing. Yet, with less than a month until Election Day 2008, the Vulcan is winning.
"Be Logical, Captain!"

Previously on BB:
Drew Friedman: George W. Bush as The Joker
Drew Friedman: Barack Obama portrait
Drew Friedman's Old Jewish Comedians
Drew Friedman, comic artist: Get Illuminated! podcast


  1. @2 – yeah, he did. I think it was on Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me.

    Is McCain having a stroke in the illustration?!?

  2. The problem with that analogy is that Spock was never very good at command, which was the subject of more than one episode.

  3. Well Cubey you would be wrong since once we hit Wrath of Kahn, Spock WAS Captain of the Enterprise and did quite well with command. Granted, he was training young officers, but still command is command.

  4. Of course Obama is unable to connect with working-class voters; so too McCain. But that’s no surprise, since they never mention the working class. The political class long ago decided to flatter American workers by calling them middle class. And we poor suckers fell for it.

  5. Of course Obama is unable to connect with working-class voters; so too McCain. But that’s no surprise, since they never mention the working class. The political class long ago decided to flatter American workers by calling them middle class. And we poor suckers fell for it.

    I’m middle class, and Obama connects with me. Also my wife, brother and sister, and most of my friends and family. He also seems to connect with most of my neighbors in this middle class, mostly white neighborhood.


    You’re not middle class. You’ve just been flattered into thinking you are. I’ll bet you still work for a pay check.

  7. I hate to say this as an Obama supporter, but wouldn’t Barak be a little closer to Tuvok than Spock, and not just because of his skin color?

    Obama still has some weaknesses in really thinking on his feet, the halting speaking off the cuff has often been his Achilles heel, even last night in the debate. I know that he’s thinking, trying so hard to parse his words so carefully unlike the blather-mouth Pali or hothead McCainn, but it does give him a more Tuvok than Spock quality.

    Of course in a way it also give him a Kirk-ish quality given that his sometimes halting speaking style reminds more of Shatner’s phrasing than any other Trek character.

    That said, I really have my fingers crossed that Obama wins. I think he’ll grow into the job if the mess he’s inheriting from Bush doesn’t give him a heart attack.

  8. I second that McCain is more like Commodore Decker, with more than a touch of crazy Captain Tracey…

  9. “I…am…McKIROK!!!”

    Spock always did rather well with command, but was often challenged by emotional humans under him, early on. He just never aspired to command, even in his evil bearded incarnation, which made him more the reluctant hero who rose to the challenge when needed. He was willing to play second fiddle because he had “no ego to bruise” as he said in Wrath of Kahn when then Admiral Kirk took command from Captain Spock. (I know, my geekiness is showing, but bear with me.)

    More to the topic, I think McCain is more like Commodore Decker, who takes command from Spock erroneously in facing down the “Doomsday Machine” and nearly dooms the Enterprise just like the ship he commanded and lost (the Constellation.)

    To underscore the metaphor, the Constellation is the last 8 years, and the Enterprise is the next 4 to 8 years. We are sliding into the giant sparkly gaping maw of the Doomsday Machine, and Spock had better regain command in a hurry and reverse course or we’re doomed!

  10. @solmssen #13:

    Sorry nerds, McCain isn’t Kirk, or even McCoy. He’s Commodore Decker from “The Doomsday Machine.”

    There is no third planet!!!
    Don’t you think I know that?!?

  11. SOLMSSEN@13: Damn, you beat me to it by the time my comment posted. Glad to see I wasn’t the only one who came up with the most appropriate trek analogy. =D

  12. Buddy66, I think that first comment came out sounding harsher than you intended.

    Jay Radical @23: *cough*die young and destitute, mundane*cough*

  13. McCain is much closer to Commodore Matthew Decker from the TOS episode “The Doomsday Machine” Unstable, PTSDing, rash, impulsive, and prone to loosing craft under his command.

    Also, the black guy born to a single mother, who did years of community organizing on the South Side of Chicago, who is always talking about the middle and working class, “cannot connect on a visceral level with working-class voters”? What they apparently meant was “cannot connect on an epidermal level with working-class voters”

  14. drew freidman should be forbidden to use color in his illustrations! i love his work, but i would cringe to see what he would do to my ugly mug if he were to do my portrait, in color! augh!

  15. I do not dig articles that call Obama “alien”.

    But I do dig Trekkies trying to find the proper character comparisons for Obama and McCain!

  16. If McCain = Kirk and Obama = Spock . . . The idea of McCain/Obama slash fiction creeps me out.

  17. Come on, guys– McCain is Scotty, impulsive and unable to control his reactions. He might know a lot about the engines, but he doesn’t have a broader view of the universe!

  18. mccain is nothing like kirk. mccain is that know-nothing clueless asshole admiral who shows up takes over and almost gets everyone killed by his arrogant idiocy.

  19. You guys missed the best part. Right at the end of the article…

    “There’s already stuff on the Internet joking about him being Vulcan–like,” Mr. Nimoy said, before adding, in starkly non-Spockian terms, “Jesus Christ! This is serous business going on here. This is the safety of the world at stake.”

    “Logic is little tweeting bird chirping in meadow. Logic is wreath of pretty flowers that smell bad.”

    Kind of reminds of Alec Guinness’ very vocal disdain of OCD Star Wars fans who looked upon him as some messiah.

    But seriously, can the New York Observer haz spellcheck plz so they can spell “serous” correctly?

  21. I think Voyager would have been better. Palin as Janeway and Obama as Tuvok. McCain as Paris and Biden as Nelix.

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