I have made a discovery. Barack Obama is an alien.
I unearthed this startling fact by watching the classic 1950s film, The Day the Earth Stood Still, which is, in fact, a documentary.
A space ship lands in Washington, and out steps Klaatu, a very tall, very cool, very graceful guy, who talks about peace and diplomacy and destroying the earth's nuclear stockpile. Obviously, Barack and Klaatu are from the same planet. Klaatu had a robot named Gort who provided the muscle when needed; today, that's obviously Rahm Emanuel
I thought I was the first to discover the fact that Barack's people had visited earth before, but that jewel of journalistic research, the late, lamented Weekly World News, beat me to the scoop. It reported in 1999 that 12 U.S. senators, including Wyoming Republican Alan Simpson, were, in reality, aliens.
Knowing the game was up, the senator's press aide told the Associated Press, "We've only got one thing to say: "Klaatu Barada Nikto." The very words Klaatu used to control Gort!
I know that the new facts I have uncovered will provide aid and comfort to the many anti-Obamanuts, but truth is truth. And those poor people do need something effective in their attempts to label Barack as "The Other," at which they have failed miserably.
First, they trotted out the idea of Barack as the angry black radical, but it flopped. Marshall McLuhan could have predicted that. Huey Newton and the Panthers were hot media, while Barack is as cool as a cucumber.
It's been frustrating for the Obama haters, because the traditional stereotypes that have been used against black men stick to Barack the way raindrops cling to vinyl. The classic image is of the "Sambo," the not-very-bright creature that advocates of slavery claimed was created by God to be a field hand. Its more modern incarnation was the 30s' black movie character Stepin Fetchit, perpetually stupid and scared. (Feet, do yo stuff!) It's hard to imagine Barack using those words in the middle of a lecture on constitutional law.
The Criminal Brute image, used so effectively by George H.W. Bush in the Willie Horton ads against Democrat Mike Dukakis, could hardly apply to the elegant Obama, who talks about the Audacity of Hope. The recent attempts to label the president a Nazi, including posters held up at rallies showing Barack with a Fuhrer mustache, are pathetic. McLuhan again: Hitler's rants were hot, hot images. Plus, Obama is not a psychopath, in spite of right wing claims that health care reform will offer up death squads who will hunt down seniors in the middle of their bingo games.
To effectively brand a person as "the other," there has to be at least a grain of truth to the allegation. That's why it was hard to brand JFK, with his Harvard degree, war-hero status and Boston Brahmin accent, as a brawling, drunken "Mick." Nobody believed that Kennedy would build a tunnel to the Vatican to smuggle in Catholic priests. Girlfriends maybe, but not prelates.
By the time Kennedy came along, as Noel Ignatiev poins out in his book, How the Irish Became White, Irish Americans had used politics and business to climb out of their status as despised, drunken and diseased immigrants. No longer did "No Irish Need Apply" signs dot the landscape.
If the old anti-black stereotypes don't work against Barack, the alien identity seems much more appropriate. Don't the ears remind you of Spock? And that taste for arugula? Vulcans don't eat meat. Don't be fooled by those jaunts to burger joints with Joe Biden. It's all a cover-up.
Barack's alienness makes it easy to explain the Hawaii birth certificate. All he had to do was get Scotty to beam down a new, false document right into the bowels of government computers in the Pacific state. The birthers could go wild with the idea of a guy from the Second Star to the Right.
But the revelations of Barack's true identity could backfire against the anti-Obama forces. People just might like the idea of a superior, super-intelligent being running the country. Hey, after eight years of George W. Bush, people might even have been happy to see the giant slugs from Dune in the White House. Their foreign policy would have been smarter.
Wouldn't it be nice if one day Obama strolled to the window of the oval office, motioned to Rahm Emanuel and whispered "Klaatu Barada Nikto." Rahm's eyes would turn red and shoot a laser beam at North Korea's nukes and Iran's uranium, and turn them both to ashes. Then he'd do the same thing with Osama Bin Ladin
See. Having an alien for president wouldn't be so bad after all.
Caryl Rivers is a professor of Journalism at Boston University and author of Selling Anxiety: How the News Media Scare Women. (University Press of New England.)