With the general election for President of the United States coming in the fall, the general consensus seems to be that the country will be voting for who they believe to be the lesser of two evils. Not exactly inspiring stuff.
Fortunately, the fictional world of television has given us some inspiring examples of how presidents should behave and function, as well as some terrible examples of how they absolutely shouldn’t.
On this 4th of July, Zap2it is celebrating American Independence by ranking the best and worst fictional presidents. Sometimes it’s a good reminder to see what the great leaders — and the really, really awful ones — look like.
Is it any wonder that Jed Bartlet (Martin Sheen) tops the list as the best fictional president? He’s inspiring and eloquent, with a backbone of pure iron when it comes to party politics. Best of all, he’s an idealist and an optimist — something that seems kind of like a unicorn in Washington D.C these days.
2. President Roslin — ‘Battlestar Galactica’
When the Cylons attack, there is no one we’d want running the government more than Laura Roslin (Mary McDonnell). With the country (colonies?) in her completely capable hands, we can be sure we’re safe, whether it’s from aliens or hostile takeovers.
3. President Kirkman — ‘Designated Survivor’
We know this show hasn’t even come out yet, but we’re still pretty convinced that Tom Kirkman (Kiefer Sutherland) will be a pretty stellar president. The learning curve will no doubt be steep, but watching him rise to the occasion and become the leader of the free world will be totally worth it.
4. President Palmer — ’24’
If Americans could vote for David Palmer (Dennis Haysbert) in the upcoming election, we’re pretty sure he’d win in a landslide. He’s got a kind heart with a firm hand, which is what everyone wants to see in a leader. Not to mention, he can keep a cool head in a crisis, which is every day on “24.”
We’re putting Mackenzie Allen (Geena Davis) smack in the middle of our list because she tackled the issue of being the fist female president on “Commander in Chief” remarkably well, while still not being what we’d call an amazing president. Realism wins her the “good not great” award.
6. President Meyer — ‘Veep’
She’s definitely not the best president, but she’s far from the worst. Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) is another case of someone who probably never would have been president, but managed to do a decent enough job with the position. All in all, though, we’re kind of glad she didn’t hold on to the reins for too long.
7. President Logan — ’24’
Corruption, thy name is Charles Logan (Gregory Itzin). If Bartlet has a backbone of iron, Logan has a backbone of mushy-gushy jello, which makes him unable to stand up for himself or his policies in a crisis. Not exactly the kind of president you want to see you through a terrorist attack on “24.” Plus, there’s that whole treason thing …
8. President Grant — ‘Scandal’
Who on earth would ever vote for Fitzgerald Grant (Tony Goldwyn) to run a country? If he’s not starting wars on behalf of his kidnapped mistress, he’s making headlines for sex scandals and cover ups. Oy vey.
9. President Underwood — ‘House of Cards’
Do we even need to explain why Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) takes the cake as Worst President Ever? Despite the fact that he’s a power-hungry narcissist, he’s also the least equipped person to do the job in history. Not to mention, we think other world leaders will find it really odd when he starts talking to empty air in one of his traditional soliloquies.