Being the President of the United States seems like it’s both the greatest and, at the same time, absolute worst job in the whole world. On one hand, you have the media, the public and even your colleagues scrutinizing and over-analyzing every move, decision and statement that you make. You’re responsible for the largest, most powerful army in the world and all the responsibility that comes with it. That kind of power and authority has to be painfully lonely at times.
On the other hand, you get your own plane and you get to meet the winners of the Super Bowl every year, so there’s that!
But, that’s just what real presidents (like President Obama, who turns 54 today) have to deal with. You know what’s better than being the real president? Being a badass fictional president — like the six we have listed below. Would they make great leaders in the real world? Eh, maybe, maybe not. But it’s not like we haven’t elected worse. Look at [INSERT IDEOLOGICALLY PLEASING NAME HERE]. I’d throw a vote at these people, is what I’m saying.
President Josiah Bartlet – Martin Sheen, The West Wing
Let’s ignore, for the moment, the political leanings of this (albeit classic) show and look at the character of Josiah Bartlet himself. He’s quick-witted, honest and carries himself with a lot of integrity. Chances are, you’ve seen the video above, either when it aired originally or posted a million times on Facebook.
What makes the character even more interesting is the fact that, when The West Wing was originally being developed, the president wasn’t even going to be shown at all. Even when that plan was scrapped, Martin Sheen was only signed on to appear in four or five episodes, with the focus of the show to remain on the president’s staff. That clearly worked out.
President Thomas J. Whitmore – Bill Pullman, Independence Day
As Independence Day began, Bill Pullman’s President Whitmore was dealing with a foe just as vicious and bloodthirsty as the aliens that would eventually invade the planet… the press! Ha ha! Political humor, you guys. It’s awesome. Anyway, a bit is made about Whitmore’s past as a fighter pilot in the first Gulf War and how his combat experience didn’t toughen him up enough to deal with Congress.
Well, the aliens invade and the world is relying on Whitmore’s leadership (as well as Will Smith’s moxie and Jeff Goldblum’s, um, Goldbluming, I guess) to see them past their darkest hour. Thankfully, the president gives a speech that would make even Patton say, “Damn, that was a good speech,” to rally the troops and then gets into his own jet to take these sons-of-b*tches down! Seriously, how do you not vote for this guy after this?
President Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho – Terry Crews, Idiocracy
They say that, in a democracy, a populace gets the government it deserves. And the populace of the United States in Idiocracy certainly deserves President Camacho. He’s not only the president, but also a “five-time Ultimate Smackdown champion” and a “porn superstar,” resume items that should make anyone a shoo-in for election, no matter what time period it is. And say what you will about his methods, but when President Camacho saw that sh*t was messed up, he moved to do something about it and brought in Not Sure. And then he held the dudes feet to the fire to get results. That’s leadership.
President Lindberg – Tiny Lister, The Fifth Element
President Whitmore might have thought he had it bad in Independence Day (and, let’s be fair, he totally did), but that’s nothing compared to what the President of Earth (of Earth, you guys) had to deal with. Sure, Whitmore had to deal with an army of alien invaders who merely wanted to kill all humans on the planet. Lindberg had what is essentially a sentient moon flying toward the planet with the intent of obliterating it completely.
Now, Lindberg is a pretty big guy and, while we don’t know his actual background, he seems like he’s pretty capable in a fight. Rather than hop into an X-wing or whatever the hell they use in that movie, Lindberg does the sensible thing: He lets Bruce Willis handle it. Considering “Let Bruce Willis handle it” is the solution to nine out 10 problems, he’s not only a big guy, but a smart one at that.
President Tom Beck – Morgan Freeman, Deep Impact
President Beck in Deep Impact also had to deal with a giant space rock on a collision course with Earth, and he didn’t even have Bruce Willis to help (he was too busy helping Stanley Anderson in Armageddon) — he had to rely on Elijah Wood and the drunk dad from Super 8. However, this is Morgan Freeman we’re talking about — he probably just talked the comet out of hitting the planet using his legendary smooth voice.
Of course, he didn’t do that. What he did do, however, was maintain a calm presence in the White House in the face of what seemed to be certain annihilation. Eventually, the Earth was saved (but not without a tremendous amount of devastation) and Tom Beck stood tall, ready to rebuild society.
President James Marshall – Harrison Ford, Air Force One
We’d be remiss if we didn’t include probably the most kick-ass fictional president of all-time, James Marshall. When terrorists hijack the president’s titular aircraft, President Marshall is swiftly escorted to an escape pod. Because President James Marshall is the most kick-ass fictional president of all-time, he didn’t escape. He stayed on board to stop the terrorists and rescue his family, along with the other hostages. Because you don’t win the Medal of Honor by running to an escape pod (at least I don’t think you do).
Despite the fact that the terrorists are led by Gary Oldman (complete with terrifying Russian accent), Marshall rescues his family, defeats the bad guys and saves the day. Unfortunately, the plane itself crashes into the ocean, making this yet another movie where the title character dies.
What fictional president are you casting your write-in vote for?