As Congress, the president and the nation grapple with the so-called sequester and the possible harrowing effects of billions of dollars in automatic, across-the-board federal budget cuts, there’s one thing Congress doesn’t have to worry about: President Obama performing a Jedi mind meld. The president has indicated that he cannot go to those lengths.
It’s just as well. The ability to connect minds “so closely as to act as a single person” is likely the kind of presidential power that no Founding Father (or Vulcan) would ever allow.
The president made the sci-fi reference — a combination of a “Star Wars” term and a “Star Trek” term — on Friday when he spoke to reporters following a failed meeting with top congressional leaders to avoid the sequestration cuts — $85 billion worth — that will likely go into effect at midnight.
The president’s reply noted that he was not a dictator.
“And I know that this has been some of the conventional wisdom that’s been floating around Washington,” he added, “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 do a Jedi mind meld with these folks and convince them to do what’s right. …
But if he did have secret powers, watch out.
“This idea that somehow there’s a secret formula or secret sauce to get Speaker [John] Boehner or [Senate Minority Leader] Mitch McConnell to say, you know what, Mr. President, you’re right, we should close some tax loopholes for the well-off and well-connected in exchange for some serious entitlement reform and spending cuts of programs we don’t need. I think if there was a secret way to do that, I would have tried it. I would have done it.”
The Jedi meld can be found in Timothy Zahn’s “Star Wars” book “Outbound Flight.” The character Jorus C’baoth asks Anakin Skywalker: “Tell me, Master Skywalker, has Master Kenobi ever spoken to you of the Jedi meld? … It permits a group of Jedi to connect their minds so closely as to act as a single person.”
The president’s reference is a seeming combination of the little-known “Star Wars” Jedi meld with the much better-known Vulcan mind meld, as used by Mr. Spock on TV’s classic “Star Trek.” Spock would press his fingers against a person’s face, one or more digits on the temple and the pinkie — or sometimes the pointer finger — against the nose.
In the case of the sequester, Zahn’s thinking “as a single person” would be more applicable than the Vulcan method, which allows two people to share memories and thoughts – or even to erase memories of a certain woman, as Spock did with Captain Kirk in the classic TV series’ episode “Requiem for Methuselah.”
In any case, most of us can agree that presidents are better off without superpowers, although a cape might look nice.
— Amy Hubbard