Friday Conversation: Who’s The Best Fake President?

It’s really not fair to compare real-life Presidents to the fictional ones that throw terrorists off of their damn plane or showcase an unwavering sense of moral goodness. These fake leaders have the benefit of usually only being in front of us for two hours instead of two four-year terms, so naturally we’re not going to see their warts (unless, of course, you’re talking about President Frank Underwood on House of Cards). Say what you will about President Whitmore’s thrilling heroics in Independence Day, but what about his trade policies? Would he “Make America Great Again” if elected? We’ll never know — or maybe we will, the host of The Apprentice is leading in the polls, so this is clearly a day of many possibilities — but we can surely fantasize about President Camacho for America and other make believe heads of state. So, as you can see below, we’ve made our picks and now we’d like you to read them, react, and tell us about the TV or film Commander in Chief that you’d most likely throw your support to.

President James Marshall – Air Force One

This one time, Harrison Ford played a President that made some hard choices to protect his family, his plane, his office, and the United States of America with the righteous intensity of his patriotic fists. Gary Oldman had a bushy goatee, but it was not enough to defeat President Marshall and freedom spread across the land like super lice, only it was good and you didn’t want to get rid of it.

“But President Whitmore in Independence Day defeated an alien invasion! That’s way harder than beating back Gary Oldman and company.”

He helped. Don’t get ridiculous with your face. President Marshall was a one man wrecking crew, and an alien invasion is as super unrealistic as a President jumping into the fracas when other options are standing right in front of him. Also, Whitmore had Robert Loggia. So, that’s cheating.

“Get off my plane!”

Top that, Sorkin. – Jason Tabrys

President Tug Benson – Hot Shots

Considering the number of times our nation’s President has been portrayed in both TV and film, Hollywood has had plenty of chances to get it right. And for the most part, they’ve done a fine job. When I visualize what I expect the President to be, I picture a confident leader of men, an articulate speaker, and a compassionate intellect who holds the position with the utmost integrity. And nobody embodied those characteristics better than President Tug Benson in Hot Shots! Part Deux.

Some people may not remember this, but in the early 1990s, our country was embattled in a bitter land dispute with Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi government. In Hot Shots! Part Deux, President Benson – in a brilliant performance by dramatic actor Lloyd Bridges – took the fight to Saddam, literally, and stood up for Democracy the only way he knew how: by challenging him to a one-on-one duel with light sabers. First guy to die loses. I cannot think of anything more diplomatic than that. – Brian Sharp

President Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho – Idiocracy

Do you want a Commander-in-Chief with years of experience in politics, or do you want a leader who is basically an American Gladiator times 10? Obviously, it’s the latter, which is why President Camacho is the most badass fictional president we’ve seen so far. Mike Judge’s Idiocracy was already stacking up to be a decent comedy with jokes like “Ow, My Balls!” but the minute Terry Crews’ President Camacho stepped on screen, it was pretty much solidified as a cult classic. Sure, President Camacho lacked experience in foreign relations, but he made up for it with a machine gun and a tricked out motorcycle. That’s enough to get my vote. – Bennett Hawkins

President Jed Bartlet – The West Wing

The man can ride his bike into a tree and still command respect. He’s fluent in Latin and in French (if you know what I mean). He’s ambitious, articulate, forward-thinking, and displays just the right amount of humility considering that he’s the leader of the free world and always the smartest person in the room. President Josiah Bartlet might be the only president — real or fictional — who was able to endear himself to the American people by taking God to the woodshed. The man fell just short of perfect, but I think we can forgive him for being a Celtics fan. – Mike Bertha

President Mackenzie – First Daughter

I am going to get obscure here and go President Mackenzie in the Katie Holmes rom-comette First Daughter. Obviously, Michael Keaton plays a busy, busy president, but he makes time to be the dad that all girls want. By this, I mean he brings her cake in bed. Plus, any film is better for having Michael Keaton’s eyebrows in it. – Alia Stearns

President Bill Mitchell – Dave

In the 1993 comedy Dave, Dave Kovic (Kevin Kline) is hired by President Bill Mitchell (Kevin Kline) to serve as his double for a brief public appearance. During the hustle, Mitchell suffers a stroke (whilst f*cking someone who isn’t his wife), and the president’s conspirators extend Kovic’s time as the fake president a little further. In the process, Kovic (appearing as Mitchell) makes the otherwise slimy politician look good, because he’s a great dude.

That, and he brings in his friend, Murray Blum (Charles Grodin), to balance the federal budget.


President Merkin Muffley – Dr. Strangelove

One of three roles Peter Sellers plays in Stanley Kubrick’s 1964 apocalyptic comedy Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, President Merkin Muffley spends the movie tasked with trying to reel in a rogue bomber set on launching an attack on the USSR. A passive, ineffectual leader who sits by helplessly as his advisers rabidly argue over the best course of action, Sellers based the character on former Illinois Governor and two-time Presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson. Of course, he’s probably best remembered for his uncharacteristically decisive remark, “Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here. This is the war room!” – Christian Long

So, who’s your favorite TV or film president?