Or at least very confused. As with fellow Democrat Jan Schakowsky earlier this month, hey, if you want to pretend that the GOP are “the empire” and your party are the “rebel alliance,” then you’ve just admitted that you’re the communist North Vietnamese, if you’re going to own the subtext of George Lucas’ Star Wars movies.
As Michael Barone noted last week, “The Democratic ‘D’ now stands for demagoguery.” But portraying yourself as the rebels in the Star Wars movies is a bit odd, considering that the president, whose party — at least until November (January if you’re really picky) controls both houses of Congress, a majority of governorships, academia, Hollywood and the legacy news industry. And yet, here he is, warning his supporters in Ohio, “They’re fighting back. The empire is striking back!” in a video at Real ClearPolitics:
President Obama, with a coarse voice, warned a crowd in Ohio: “They’re fighting back. The empire is striking back. To win this election, they are plowing ten’s of millions of dollars into front groups. They are running misleading negative ads all across the country.”
OK, if you want to be the rebels, it’s worth recalling whom Lucas was using them as stand-ins for. This was noted in interviews Lucas did when the original Star Wars debuted in 1977, as well as his early biography from the period, Skywalking, by Dale Pollock. And back when Revenge of the Sith debuted in 2005, the Libertas film blog reminded readers:
As early as the mid-70’s Mr. Lucas began describing his ‘Star Wars’ story to his friends as a parable for America’s war in Vietnam – with America serving as the evil, hyper-technological Empire, and the ‘primitive’ Vietnamese as the Rebel Alliance. This is well known, and I’m privately able to confirm this through people who’ve known George for about 40 years. Mr. Snyder also might want to listen to Lucas’ DVD commentary for Phantom Menace, in which he refers to low-tech Vietnamese victories over high-tech American forces as “kind of inspiring.”
So why not own that rhetoric, President Obama? It was all the rage in the “New Hollywood” of the 1970s, and with Pinch and Lenny and Felicia as well on the opposite coast. It’s certainly anti-colonial, it’s got that great Che-esque back to the future feeling, and John Kerry — at least his 1970s incarnation — would definitely sympathize.
Related: Everything You Ever Wanted to know about David Axelrod, But Were Afraid to Ask:
Folks, this isn’t smearing anybody, this is learning from our great Commander-in-Chief. I have learned from our President that it is perfectly OK for a blogger to create baseless charges. Our President believes in equality for all and social justice (Axelrod does also). So if Think Progress can invent charges against the Chamber of Commerce and get extra traffic, so can I. The President will just think of it as “Redistribution of Web Traffic.”
Think about it as you watch this video from David Axelrod’s Favorite Movie.
Best watched with a tall glass of Woolite on the rocks nearby.
Update: “Some people just don’t like being reminded that they’re the Establishment these days.”