Why Obama’s First Year and Star Wars: The Phantom Menace are Alike

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been thinking a lot about President Obama’s first year in office. I don’t exactly believe that it was successful, but I definitely don’t believe it was a failure. So what exactly was it? It was Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace.

Before you fly off the handle and start screaming, “That movie sucked!” hear me out. Yes, The Phantom Menace suffered from many weaknesses: poor direction, bad script, annoying characters, and too much reliance on special effects. However, the movie did have some great qualities, including a truly bad ass villain and Padme Amidala, the hottest royalty in the galaxy. And The Phantom Menace did move the Star Wars story forward filling in much-needed details like who Vader’s father was (no one) and how Obi-Wan Kenobi became Anakin’s teacher.

So too was Obama’s first year in office filled with a bad-ass villain (the health insurance industry), and the filling in of much needed details (Afghanistan, torture and finance reform). But like The Phantom Menace, Obama’s first year was also filled with a poor script (what was his overriding message?), poor direction (Mr. Emanuel, everyone can’t be pleased by every piece of legislation in D.C.), and some truly annoying characters (Joe Lieberman even LOOKS like Jar Jar Binks!).

In The Phantom Menace, Lucas put too much emphasis on Tatooine and podracing. In year one, Obama put too much emphasis on health care reform.

In The Phantom Menace, too much of the script relied on the poor acting of Jake Lloyd (Young Anakin) and the awful accent of Viceroy Gunray. Just like in year one, Obama placed too much of the decision-making power in the hands of morons like House Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

In The Phantom Menace, Lucas placed too much emphasis on pleasing children. And in year one, Obama placed too much emphasis on pleasing everybody.

Of course there are those who hated Star Wars to begin with and, predictably, hated The Phantom Menace. This is just like the Republicans and Tea Baggers (my preferred term for those right-wing nut jobs) who would have hated Obama even if he ended all social programs, made public schooling illegal, and allowed Wall Street to do whatever it wanted.

Then there are those Star Wars fans who wish the series had ended after Empire Strikes Back because Return of the Jedi had those damn Ewoks. These guys are like those left-wing nut jobs who thought that Obama should have walked into his office on day one and ordered Congress to pass single-payer health care, instantly pull all the troops out of Afghanistan and Iraq, release all the prisoners at Guantanamo, and execute those Wall Street executives who lost their stockholders’ money on gambles. They, of course, weren’t going to be pleased by anything Obama did in his first year either.

Then there are those like me, who thought ROTJ was a good additional to the original trilogy and couldn’t wait to see Episode I. And when we did see The Phantom Menace, we were thrilled for the most part, although we cringed our way through some scenes and were thoroughly annoyed by Jar Jar Lieberman, I mean, Jar Jar Binks. We look at Obama’s first year as a mixed bag. Not great, not even good. Just fair.

So that’s what I think of Obama’s first year in office. I just hope year two isn’t a sappy love story like Attack of the Clones, but I’ll tell you what, Obama’s first year was much better than the Battlefield Earth that was George W.’s first year in office.

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