Hail To The Fake Chief: The Seven Types Of Fictional U.S. President

This feature is part of our Politics and Entertainment week, looking at the points where art and issues overlap.

As this lurching nightmare of a presidential election wheezes toward the finish line, we’re left once again to ponder how — with rare exceptions — the candidates for the highest office in our land so often seem like so much less than our best and brightest. Maybe the problem isn’t with our politicians. Maybe it’s with our expectations.

Just take a look at the commanders-in-chief that our movie and TV writers have foisted on us over the last century. It’s a motley lot of crooks, kooks, equivocators, idealists, and ass-kickers, each reflecting either who we want our leaders to be or who we think they already are. Generally speaking, our big- and small-screen presidents fall into one of seven categories, none of which really sync with the real world.