The current American Presidential election has been going on for what feels like forever. At this point, it seems like most of the public doesn’t like either candidate very much. If you could vote for a fictional President from movies or TV instead, which one would you choose?
Most fictionalized Presidents have been portrayed as either super-liberal or really evil (i.e., virtually every TV and movie version of a Republican). That’s why I always admired David Palmer (played by Dennis Haysbert), the first President of the United States on ‘24‘. Here was a guy who definitely had a moral compass, but wasn’t afraid to get down and dirty (in a political sense) when it came to getting things done. And who can forget his Lady Macbeth-like wife, Sherry? You think your girlfriend is crazy? Try living with this woman! Palmer’s loyalty to those around him eventually led to him not seeking a second term and – in an event I’m still mad at the ’24’ show-runners for – his assassination at the beginning of Season 5. But he’ll always be my favorite TV President because he always came across as believable and real.
I’d be shocked if I’m the only one to pick President Josiah “Jed” Bartlet from ‘The West Wing‘ (I’d also be kind of disappointed), but there is no greater fictional President. I get the urge to rewatch ‘The West Wing’ every four years. The people working in that fictional White House, from the staffers to the reporters, right up to the man himself, work at a level of intelligence, debate and discourse that I wish existed in the real world.
Jed Bartlet is an egghead, he’s a fighter, he’s a romantic, and he’s funny. To find all those qualities in one person is rare; to find them in a politician is impossible. For me, he’s the dream President. Whether the election is 2008, 2012, 2016 or 2020, Jed Bartlet will always be my man! Bartlet for America!
Thinking on my favorite fictional President had me thinking of William J. Lepetomane, the governor from ‘Blazing Saddles’. (Not President, but he did aspire to a cabinet post, which might have made him the designated survivor in a TV show.) Fortunately, I then thought of President Scroob from ‘Spaceballs‘. Now this was a President. Not only did he decisively attempt to alleviate his planet’s air supply problem, he was willing to be at the center of danger when he joined Dark Helmet on Spaceball I. That’s leadership!
Plus, who can forget the directive, “Comb the desert”?
Shannon stole my first answer with David Palmer. Not only do I wish he were real, I’d vote for actor Dennis Haysbert if he decided to enter politics.
Jed Bartlet from ‘The West Wing’ always felt like too much of an idealized wish-fulfillment fantasy to me. For a (sadly) more realistic depiction of a U.S. President, look at Billy Bob Thornton in ‘Love Actually‘. He’s a pompous blowhard, an unrepentant womanizer and sexual predator with a narcissistic sense of entitlement that makes him believe he can have and do whatever he wants. We’ve had this guy in office before (from both parties, thank you) and may well get him again shortly.
But this Roundtable is supposed to be about favorite fictional Presidents. As far as that goes, I’ll toss a shout-out to President Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho, as played by Terry Crews in ‘Idiocracy‘. If a moron is going to occupy the Oval Office, at least let him be a fun and mostly harmless moron.
Where do your fictional political allegiances lie? Tell us in the Comments.