Be Logical, Captain!

“He analytically thought the dynamic was different than people perceived, and in retrospect he nailed it,” said Mr. Kramer.

Later, just before the current election, Mr. Kramer met with other top New York donors at a D.C. steakhouse and decided to support Mr. Obama instead of Mrs. Clinton, the heavy favorite of the local establishment. What impressed him, Mr. Kramer said, was “the way in which he analyzed the race, which involved a number of factors that certainly weren’t visible, but were in the works, and it wasn’t so much that he happened to win, because frankly things occurred, circumstances that are unpredictable, but he had a sense of where the country was going.”

Not all of Mr. Obama’s supporters have always been so at peace with his extraterrestrial self-assuredness.

In October of 2007, Mr. Obama’s donors and supporters restlessly agitated in an attempt to shake the campaign into more aggressive action as their national poll numbers sagged against Mrs. Clinton. The campaign kept their gaze trained on Iowa and won.

Just a few weeks ago, when the McCain campaign seemed emboldened by Ms. Palin’s performance at the Republican National Convention, and Clintonites polished their “I told you so” lines and mocked Mr. Obama as a Kerry-esque wimp, supporters again began pulling out their hair.

 

THEN WALL STREET imploded. And a preternaturally, almost weirdly calm academic type—a Vulcan, essentially—suddenly seemed like exactly what the country needed.

Hence, perhaps, the multiple Web sites currently hawking “Obama ’08 … and Prosper” buttons and “Live Long and Prosper” T-shirts, portraying the candidate with black helmet hair, pointy ears and a tight blue Spock shirt.

On his blog, Henry Jenkins, director of MIT’s comparative media studies program, said that when National Public Radio asked him who in popular culture most evoked Spock, “The fan boy in me immediately went searching through contemporary science fiction television. I considered and then discarded Gaius Baltar from Battlestar Galactica as probably too obscure to make sense to an NPR audience,” he wrote, adding, “But, then, my mind went in a very different direction and before I quite knew what I was saying, I found myself talking about Barack Obama.”

Spock himself was reluctant to lay the alien comparisons on too thick, for fear of rendering the candidate ridiculous.

“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 serious business going on here. This is the safety of the world at stake.”

jhorowitz@observer.com