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Profiles In Courage: The 10 Most Inspiring Fictional Presidents In Film and Television

By Rob Payne | Lists | February 20, 2012 |

By Rob Payne | Lists | February 20, 2012 |

There have been forty-four Presidents of the United States of America (and one band), and one way or another, they’ve all done the job. Some better than others, of course. But we’re still here, so none of them have been a total disaster, and I understand if that’s all relative to you. But it’s safe to say that barely a handful of the real Presidential McCoys could stand toe-to-toe with the absolute best of their onscreen fictional counterparts. None of our guys have ever had to stave off alien invaders, re-build society from the bottom up, or been written heavily by Aaron Sorkin, but I’m not sure we’d survive if any of them had, so it’s probably an unfair comparison from the start.

Thus, in honor of a government sponsored shopping holiday Presidents’ Day — Washington’s Birthday, if you’re pedantic — here are 10 Fictional Presidents To Inspire Our Real Life Presidents Of Today, Tomorrow, And The Day After That For When Shit Finally Does Get Apocalyptic:

President Joe “Not Sure” Bauers (Luke Wilson, Idiocracy, 2006)

President Bill Mitchell, aka Dave Kovic (Kevin Kline, Dave, 1993)

President James Marshall (Harrison Ford, Air Force One, 1997)

President James Dale (Jack Nicholson, Mars Attacks!, 1996)

President Merkin Muffley (Peter Sellers, Dr. Strangelove, 1964)

President David Palmer (Dennis Haysbert, “24,” 2001-2006)

President Thomas J. Whitmore (Bill Pullman, Independence Day, 1995)

The President’s Speech
Independence Day at

President Beck (Morgan Freeman, Deep Impact, 1998)

President Jed Bartlett (Martin Sheen, “The West Wing,” 1999-2006)

President Laura Roslin (Mary McDonnell, “Battlestar Galactica,” 2004-2009)

Battlestar Galactica - Laura Roslin! from goofreet on Vimeo.

So say we all!

Rob Payne also writes the indie comic The Unstoppable Force, tweets on the Twitter @RobOfWar, and his ware can be purchased here (if you’re into that sort of thing). He has anecdotal evidence that suggests the best thing any U.S. President ever did was making a national holiday in their honor.

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