Update at 3:36 from ABC’s Jonathan Karl:
The White House really likes this “Jedi Mind Meld” thing. Here is the photo they have just tweeted out, with Obama as Dr. Spock decrying the “illogical”. Keep in mind, of course, the Jedi were in Star Wars, not Star Trek, but you get the point …
— The White House (@whitehouse) March 1, 2013
And here’s what the original Dr. Spock, Leonard Nimoy had to say:
Only a Vulcan mind meld will help with this congress. LLAP
— Leonard Nimoy (@TheRealNimoy) March 1, 2013
It had no real bearing on his press conference about the very serious matter of the U.S. deficit and the upcoming sequester, but the President showed himself to be neither committed Trekkie nor Star Wars fanboy at a White House press conference today.
After an hour-long meeting between Democrats and Republicans ended without any resolution to the dreaded sequester that is set to kick in today, a reporter asked the president why he didn’t lock congressional leaders in a room and make them work until there was a deal.
Here’s how he responded:
I am not a dictator, I’m the president.
So ultimately, if Mitch McConnell or John Boehner say, we need to go to catch a plane, I can’t have Secret Service block the doorway, right?
No, no, I understand. And — and I — and I — I know that this has been some of the conventional wisdom that’s been floating around Washington that somehow, even though most people agree that I’m being reasonable, that most people agree I’m presenting a fair deal, the fact that they don’t take it means that I should somehow, you know, do a Jedi mind meld with these folks and convince them to do what’s right.
Well, you know, they’re elected. We have a — a constitutional system of government. The speaker of the House and the leader of the Senate and all those folks have responsibilities.
What I can do is I can make the best possible case for why we need to do the right thing. I can speak to the American people about the consequences of the decisions this Congress is making or the lack of decision-making by Congress.
Wait. Jedi mind meld? There are Jedi mind tricks, of course, from Star Wars. And there is Vulcan Mind Meld, from Star Trek. But in equating the two, the president erred. He mixed Star Wars and Star Trek.
The people who spend a lot of time on Twitter in the middle of the day, naturally got immediately diverted from sequestration and decided instead to poke fun at the Sci-Fi / Fantasy conflagration by the commander-in-chief.
Of course, there is an argument that he could be forgiven for the mix-up. The two franchises will now sort of be linked since Star Trek reboot director J.J. Abrams is signed on to direct a Star Wars reboot.
Related: The Force Will Be With J.J. Abrams
If America can bring Star Wars and Star Trek together like that, why can’t she fix the deficit?
Obama complained that Republicans won’t negotiate with him. House Speaker John Boehner, appearing at his own press conference up on Capitol Hill, said Republicans wouldn’t accept any more addition revenue – taxes – as part of any deficit reduction plan. They accepted some earlier this year as part of a deal to extend Bush era tax cuts for most Americans.
He rattled off the things he would accept as long as Republicans would accept still more revenue.
“Give me an example of what I’m suppose to do,” he said to a reporter, suggesting the White House and Republicans just can’t find an earthly way to agree.
So maybe he could use a bit of the Force to achieve a bit of mind meld.
Endnote: Oh, and by the way, a writer at Bloomberg has the sense to call Lucasfilm and ask if a “Jedi Mind Meld” was actually a thing. Turns out there is reference in the larger Star Wars universe to a “Jedi Mind Meld,” but we doubt if that’s what Obama had in mind.
There is such a thing in Star Wars books and spinoffs as a Jedi battle meld, according to Pablo Hidalgo, who goes by the informal title of “Star Wars guru” at LucasFilm. In such a battle meld, those fluent in the Force link their minds toward a common purpose at a time of great conflict.
And though Hidalgo — chuckling throughout the entire interview — suspects it was probably a mixup of of Star Wars and Star Trek, he can’t be 100 percent sure. While there’s no evidence the president of the United States reads or has read Star Wars books, or is conversant in extended Star Wars lore, Hidalgo said, “he may have tipped off deeper knowledge than anyone may have suspected.”