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Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Acting Presidents

This is hardly an original idea, but Bill Simmons got me thinking, "Which actors who have played the part of a president could have the greatest chance of being elected?"

Here are the ground rules:

1. They can not be an actor who portrayed an actual president. Their presidency had to be totally original.
2. Their potential for presidency is based on the way they played the president at the time of their character. It doesn't matter if the actor's legacy has become tainted or typecast otherwise. In fact, the actor could even be dead now. We're considering at the time they played a president.
3. Their personal platform means nothing. If Alec Baldwin had played a conservative president, I could care less what his actual political views are. The actors are basically running for office, as the president they portrayed.

Without further ado, here they are:

10. Kevin Kline--President Dave Kovic in "Dave". Just a plain nice guy who was honest with people. He cared more about people than his own power. Not a powerful figure, but comforting.
9. Morgan Freeman--President Tom Beck in "Deep Impact". I really can't remember if I've seen this movie or not, so obviously, if I did see it, Freeman didn't put in a memorable performance. However, the guy's voice is really cool. I think we should send him over to Afghanistan with a bullhorn. Just have him say, "Osama, we see you. Here we come." With that voice, Bin Laden would come out of any cave with his hands over his head. His voice basically guarantees your nation 8 years of peace.
8. Gregory Peck--President in Amazing Grace and Chuck. I know, you're thinking, "What movie?" Actually, if you remember the Cold War, it's a pretty cool movie to check out. Peck gets a vote here for three reasons: a) great classic actor, b) great movie, c) he simply played the part of "President" for this movie.
7. Lloyd Bridges--President Thomas 'Tug' Benson in Hot Shots Part Deux. So he played a total bafoon in the movie. It would be a blast to watch all the slapstick humor for 4 or 8 years. Depending on who was running against him, he may get my vote.
6. Gene Hackman--President Allen Richmond in Absolute Power. I've actually never seen this movie. But Coach Norman Dale may be the greatest character of all time in one of the greatest movies of all time.
5. Michael Douglas--President Andrew Shepherd in The American President. Much like Kline, he played a nice, honest guy. He played a more powerful and adequate President.
4. Harrison Ford--President James Marshall in Air Force One. A shiver runs down my spine as I think of hearing my wife say, "He really is a good looking president," for 8 straight years. Ugh.
3. Bill Pullman--President Thomas J Whitmore in Independence Day. He had charisma. He gave a great speech. He fought against aliens and won. Everything you look for in a President.
2. Martin Sheen--President Josiah "Jed" Bartlet in The West Wing. Despite Jason practically begging me to, I still haven't caught the West Wing. But he seems to play a confident man, plus, overall face time has to get Sheen major props.
1. Dennis Haysbert--President David Palmer in 24. Said a writer to Bill Simmons, "I think I was actually more upset over the assassination of former President David Palmer on "24" last night than I would have been if our actual president would have been assassinated. It was like I lost a member of my own family. Maybe I'm just screwed up, but I don't think so. Here is my question: If you forced every registered voter in America to watch seasons 1-4 on DVD, and convinced Dennis Haysbert to legally change his name to David Palmer, don't you think he would win in a landslide in 2008? I have bounced this question off several people and Palmer has every vote so far, and most would have voted for him over Bush and Kerry." Simmons quickly agreed.

I think I would too.


  • At 6:52 PM, Blogger Gary Underwood said…

    Michael Douglas's inspiring speech calling out opposing candidate Bob Rumson was classic. That is one SWEET American President.

    He's my #1.


    Since I've only seen five episodes of 24, and all of those were Palmer's assassination and the ensuing mayhem, I probably wouldn't vote for him.

    That is, unless, he was running against Geena Davis.

  • At 6:59 PM, Blogger Gary Underwood said…

    I always thought Knute Larson would make a great president.

    After all, he once served as Moderator of the FGBC. Can't be much different.

  • At 11:19 PM, Blogger Jeremy Bear said…

    What, no Geena Davis? Chauvinist pig!

    Fun topic, Danny. I have to confess that, since the tender age of 4, I've had a soft spot for E.G. Marshall's portrayal of an unnamed American president in Superman II...

    "Kneel before Zod!"

    "I will... but only if it will save lives."

    I've never been prouder to be an American!

    From your list, though, I'd have to go with Jeb Bartlett. The show isn't quite as brilliant without the uncanny Aaron Sorkin at the helm, but Uncle Jeb is the best of every President in American history rolled into one.

  • At 11:40 PM, Blogger David said…

    Did you ever see "My Fellow Americans" with Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau? It wasn't that great, but it was certainly entertaining. From your list, I would either take Bartlett from "The West Wing" (at least, back when the witty banter on the show was still witty and not just banter) or Pullman's character from "Independence Day".

  • At 11:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    What about Jimmy Carter?

    Wasn't he mostly just "acting" like a president?

  • At 9:49 PM, Anonymous Natty said…

    The only president worth talking about is Michael Scott. Though he isn't a "president", he is a regional manager, and that position is high enough for me. He has everything needed for leadership. He can cheer up his employees AND he has such a dynamic leadership style. If that wasn't enough to impress you, he has a great VP in Dwight Schrute. If you ask me, Michael Scott has it all.

  • At 9:28 AM, Blogger Joel said…

    Holy random Gracie sighting, Batman! The pastor of my church here in Michigan (Noel Heikkenen is the pastor, Riverview is the church) linked to this post, because he's a complete 24 junkie. So I click over here, and I'm like, "Hey, I know some of these people, I know Gary Underwood and Jeremy Bear." Then I figured out who YOU were (it's not immediately obvious from the blog name...I was like, who do I know from Grace named Danny?), and the circle was complete. How you doin'? I haven't talked to you in years, hope all is well.

    I also am a big fan of Bill Simmons, except when he rails on my underacheiving Colts. :)

  • At 9:31 AM, Anonymous ~~anna~~ (david's mom) said…

    Definitely has to be Bartlet, back when the show was still witty...yes, we do get the show here in the DR...11PM Friday nights with Spanish subtitles.

    PS---I just signed in as David's mom this one time..so you'd know who was casting the vote...after this you'll just have to remember who ~~anna~~ is... Not all embarassed to be known as david's mom, but you know....

  • At 3:03 PM, Blogger danny2 said…

    anna, i think i'll remember who you are!

    as for nate. i'm very disappointed. dwight is not the v.p. he is the assistant TO the regional manager!

  • At 7:24 PM, Anonymous Natty said…

    wrong. if you remember correctly, Dwight received promotion after losing the boxing fight to Michael (if you can call it a fight). However, this was a title change only and no extra money will be received. He is on a three month probitionary period where he cannot tell anyone.

    i am supprised you did not remember that episode.

  • At 11:25 PM, Blogger Gary Underwood said…

    I think the best president of Hollywood lore has to be Robin Williams in Jumanji.

    Oh, I'm sure you are aware of this gross oversight!

    Williams merely did his "presiding" over an animal-invoking board game. Don't let this technicality overshadow such a thespian magna carta like this.

  • At 11:34 PM, Blogger danny2 said…


    natty, because of its probationary nature, i wasn't going to mention it to anyone.

    again though, it's not v.p. just assistant regional manager.

    of course, this is all speculation because we have no proof. just a business card with some whiteout on it.

  • At 5:31 PM, Blogger ~d said…

    i heartily agree with morgan freeman simply because of that wonderful, deep voice.

    i know - that's shallow

    but i do believe bin laden would come running....

  • At 10:36 PM, Blogger Gary Underwood said…

    How about the worst president ever?

    the current dude on 24 is horrible.


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