Who is the greatest fictional president of all time?
It’s election day here in the United States, and after being on double, triple, quadruple super secret probation, I’ve been warned by the Editor in Chief (I mean Chief Editor) Doug that if I post anything political, he and I are going to have an Alexander Hamilton/Aaron Burr situation going on.
So, of course, now I feel obligated to.
But talking about real politics is boring, so instead I’m going to really throw the cat among the pigeons and talk about the five best fictional presidents of all time.
5: Arnold Schwarzenegger, The Simpsons Movie
Arnie recently admitted that if it wasn’t for that whole ‘natural born citizen’ thing, he’d totally be running for the White House in 2016 – and dammit, I’d vote for him.
Fortunately, the Governator got his chance in 2007, when he was shown as the Commander in Chief in The Simpsons Movie. Although it wasn’t a very flattering portrayal (in real life, Schwarzenegger was a respected politician) it does show that the fictional Arnie has the courage to make tough choices – like locking Springfield away in a massive glass dome, akin to that Steven King Novel.
#4 Thomas J. Whitmore, Independence Day
Few Presidents have made as lasting an impact on the world than the fictional president in Independence Day, who stood up against an alien invasion, and saved the human race from extermination.
Whitmore was a Gulf War veteran and decorated combat pilot, who became the 42nd President in 1996. It’s not recorded which political party he was a member of, but we do know one thing about him – few presidents before or since look as good in a flight suit as he does.
#3 Josiah Bartlet, The West Wing
Writer Aaron Sorkin admitted that the fictional Democratic president Josiah Barlet was ‘the sort of President you’d want to have’, and served as a fictional surrogate for the real thing during the heated years of the Bush administration.
The West Wing was one of the best TV shows ever made, and Josiah Bartlet was almost too good to be true, as a kindly, compassionate man who nevertheless had a steely will and commanding presence. Martin Sheen was triumphant in the role; and we can only dream of having a real commander in chief who had his magnificent way with words.
#2, Francis Underwood, House of Cards
If Josiah Barlet is everything good in a fictional president, ‘Frank’ Underwood is his antithesis. A fellow Democrat from South Carolina, Frank is an amoral, scheming predator who weasels his way into the White House through murderous political machinations. He’s one of the most compelling characters on television – a man you literally ‘love to hate’ and he’s portrayed masterfully by Keven Spacey.
I have a special place in my heart for Frank, because he’s based on a fictional political from British book and TV series House of Cards: Francis Urquhart. Francis was a similarly slimy politician who coined a phrase that would define British politics for a generation: “You might think that, but I couldn’t possibly comment.”
#1 Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho, Idiocracy
Frank Underwood might have my heart, but President Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho has my vote. The most masterful of all politicians listed here, this former professional wrestler and world champion porn star leads with integrity and enthusiasm, and isn’t afraid to be truthful with the public when he admits: “Shit’s fucked up.”
2006’s Idiocracy was meant to be satire – but in the current political climate, Mike Judge’s cult classic almost has a documentary-like edge to it. Certainly there are elements to real life politics that are uncomfortably close to what we see in the hilarious movie; but our own reality-show presidential candidate doesn’t deserve to kiss the feet of the masterful Commander in Chief Comacho. If only we had a man like him to vote for – then today’s election wouldn’t be quite so depressing.
So that’s my selection of the greatest fictional presidents of all time. Agree with me? Or think I missed somebody off? Let me know in the comments section below.