Analysis of the Candidates personalities through the prism of Star Trek-
Now that the second debate is behind us we have a representative sample of how both Romney and Obama think and operate. The most successful combination of personality traits for a leader can be interpreted through Star Trek. Specifically- how well does the candidate mix their own inner Kirk, Spock and McCoy?
The Kirk factor is boldness, initiative and swagger. It represents the risk taker and the natural leader aspects required of any leader. Charisma, personal charm and ability to be duplicitous when necessary are core traits of the Kirk factor.
The Spock factor is the strength of the candidate’s knowledge and command of a situation. It includes statistical and analytical skills that are vital to rational decision making. Theoretically impartial, the Spock Factor is responsible for the impact of the message, because numbers and Vulcans NEVER lie.
Finally, there is the McCoy Factor. The McCoy factor is an informed folksiness. McCoy has strong knowledge and background of experience. The McCoy factor is a perfectly honed double threat embodied in one thing- stark realism. The McCoy Factor is equal parts charm and caustic sarcastic cynicism. It serves the function of connecting Spock and Kirk. The McCoy Factor is cautious, but not hesitant. Logical, but able to think beyond the numbers. Most of the McCoy Factor is focused around engendering a greater understanding and a degree of harmony between the overly intellectual and the impetuous. Both the Spock and Kirk factors have grandiose elements. The McCoy factor mitigates these and is the bass guitar to Spock’s drums and Kirks ripping leads, bridging the gap.
Romney defaults to Kirk behavior in his overt persona. His inner McCoy is severely inhibited by his inner Spock, with whom it wages an eternal conflict. At the first debate Romney was able to muster just enough McCoy to pull off a masterful performance. His Spock Factor also ran at its highest so far as he showed command, if not realism, about the numbers that backed his arguments. He pushed the envelope of his Kirk-ness almost to the point of screaming “KHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN!” in debate One, but his inner McCoy was unleashed enough to hold the Kirk and Spock aspects together just enough to make it fly that night. A good mix of the Kirk, Spock and McCoy delivered Victory to Romney.
Obama, on the other hand came into the second debate after a performance in the first where he attempted to go full on Spock and had been easily destroyed by Romney. McCoy and Kirk made no appearance at all. Romney used a plot device directly lifted from several episodes of original Star Trek, the Two Kirks approach. It was an effective ploy. Some sort of transporter malfunction or ion storm had created an alternate Mitt Romney that Obama was completely unprepared for.
From the start of the second debate Romney was pure Kirk, foolishly turning his back on the inner Spock and McCoy. He never was folksy and convincing; he never presented a logical justification of his plans. His math seemed shaky when questioned and he exhibited the very worst aspect of Kirk; a cavalier and objectified view of women. Indeed, Romney had the sort of understanding of women that the Enterprise crew had at the beginning of an episode. A sketch satellite view and confirmation of life, but not as he knew it.
Obama, on the other hand, lead with his inner McCoy. He was more believable and tactile to viewers than in the First Debate. In typical Star trek Fashion he was limping into battle already beat up from a previous engagement. McCoy had stitched the worst wounds and kept the fires burning by keeping the Red Shirts in the fight. Surrogates had softened up the target and through Biden’s utter extirpation of Ryan a tactical schematic had been developed. The last element, Obama’s Inner Spock was the easiest for Obama to channel but the most important one to control. Spock can be high handed and detached. Prone to exceedingly long winded technical answers, high handed and unwilling to articulate on what seems unquestionable logic to him. This was exactly what went wrong for Obama in the first debate. He never tapped into his Inner Kirk or McCoy to mitigate.
Obama was able to seem presidential and competent through the use of his limited amount of Inner Kirk to mitigate the calculations of his Inner Spock. The Inner McCoy worked seamlessly this time, uniting the two remaining traits and focusing them, phazer-like, onto Mitt Romney. Scarred and looking more like a Romulan than a Vulcan Romney continued to default to Kirk. He failed again and again to connect to the average American as he staggered about, shirt torn and lip bleeding. McCoy was in hibernation deep within Romney and was no help at all. Exposed and alone, the Kirk approach was completely doomed.
The calculated risk taken by Romney using the Benghazi attack to trash Obama as incompetent was easily absorbed by Obama’s shields. The two candidates were toe to toe in the arena and both men went pure Kirk for a moment. Obama’s Kirk won in a Shatnerian display worthy a master political thespian. His outrage at Romney’s direct statements that Obama was responsible for the death of Ambassador Stevens was summed up with Obama driving home one thing many people have come to believe about Romney anyway- that he is, in fact, an offensive guy.
Obama was able to effectively counter Romney’s continual “two Kirks” approach by showing them for the dissimilar, polar opposites that could not exist apart. He painted Romney as a walking contradiction lacking key aspects of a healthy psyche. Romney’s inner Kirk is deeply flawed and had maneuvered him into several displays of bluster his inner Spock or McCoy should have been able to stop or at least slow down.
Going into the ramp up to the final debate the mission for Obama is to Boldly Go and delivers the same balanced character he presented on Tuesday night at Hofstra. The Romney campaign has a more difficult task. They must minimize the Bi-Polar aspect of Romney’s core leadership style; awaken his ability to connect, should any remain, and to shore up his logic and numbers credibility.
One thing is certain; after each debate evidence has emerged showing we are in a strange new world that features massive statistical jumps and anomalies. Forecasting beyond the next debate is simply not possible.