R2-D2, the lovable and limited robot who played C-3PO’s sidekick in the blockbuster Star Wars films, endorsed former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney yesterday.
“R2,” as he is known among friends and family (and billions of geeks worldwide), doesn’t speak English, but, through a translator, announced his support in a series of bleeps, tweets, whistles and flashing lights.
“While much has been made of the historic possibility of Obama being the first black president or Hillary the first woman president,” began R2-D2, “the media has completely overlooked the third historic candidate in this race. Robots might be accepted, even beloved, in movies or on TV, but in everyday American life, they remain second-class citizens, if they’re treated like citizens at all. The first robot in the White House would go a long way to change all that. Mitt Romney is the clear choice for concerned robots across America.”
R2-D2’s backing of Romney came on the same day that movie star Sylvester Stallone officially endorsed Senator John McCain, and the National Association of Newsletter Editors with Convenient Memory Loss (CML) threw its support behind Ron Paul.
On MSNBC’s Countdown last night, host Keith Olbermann asked Newsweek senior political correspondent Howard Fineman and Air America host Rachel Maddow, “Is the former Massachusetts governor’s embrace of R2-D2’s endorsement just one more example of Romney trying to be all things to all people, so to speak?”
“I don’t think so,” said Fineman. “Romney certainly has a genuine claim to robot voters. In fact, Keith, aside from his Mormonism, this may be the first time in his campaign when he’s not attempting to be someone he isn’t.” Maddow agreed, saying, “I think Mitt Romney is as proud, or more proud, of his robot heritage as he is of his religion. This is who he is and, quite frankly, we in the media should be asking ourselves why it took an endorsement from R2-D2, an out-of-work astromech droid, to get us to focus on this.”
But not everyone in the robot community is happy with R2-D2’s announcement.
Hymie the Robot, famed for his stint on the television series Get Smart and who in some circles has drawn direct comparisons to Mitt Romney in both appearance and bandwidth (which rankles Hymie, a highly assimilated android), says R2-D2’s endorsement is solely based on race and overlooks key issues facing America.
“I’m supporting Obama because he was right on the war, and, yes, I do find him inspiring,” Hymie admitted.
Yet other longtime acquaintances of Hymie, including Twiki from Buck Rogers in the 25th Century and the nameless Model B-9 Environmental Control Robot from Lost in Space, note that Hymie has a well-known reputation as a self-hating robot who’ll do anything to distance himself from his roots.
Following R2-D2’s endorsement, a new Gallup poll suggested Americans are concerned that Romney would be an overly pro-robot president, holding the wishes of his fellow wired countrymen above those who are made of flesh and bone and stuffed pizza.
Romney campaign spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom, however, sought to quell such fears, assuring reporters that “Mitt Romney will be president first, and a Mormon robot second. A Romney presidency will represent all Americans – those with hearts and those with integrated circuits.”
Speaking this morning with Today co-host Matt Lauer (who many in the robot community believe is trying to “pass”), R2-D2, in an interpreted stream of blips, whirs and blinks, admitted a bias in supporting Romney.
“I endorsed Mitt to bring the plight of American robots into our national consciousness. Sure it’s personal. Look, Matt, when I see him up there on the stump, his accent of bloops and bleeps nearly imperceptible, an accomplished and English-speaking robot…well, it makes me kvell a little, I’m not embarrassed to admit.”
R2-D2 had fallen on tough times after not being invited back for Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. (It’s little known that throughout the wildly successful film series he was paid mostly in RAM and received zero percent of merchandising profits.) In the July 2005 issue of Cigar Aficionado magazine, “the garbage can with legs,” as Harrison Ford used to call him, revealed that “[George] Lucas used CGI instead of me in the last movie. So it just looked like I was in it. I didn’t even get scale. I f***ing made Lucas and this is how that anti-technite son of a bitch returns the favor. Hey George, I got your force right here.”
Shortly thereafter, R2-D2 found himself back east, working as a repair robot in a body shop in the Bronx, where he remained for over two years before he and a few of the mechanics went in on a winning Powerball ticket with a payday of $10 million. Since then, he has dedicated himself to robot rights, helped his longtime friend C-3PO battle an oil addiction and started dating a Roomba Intelligent Sweeper Vac.