Monday, February 18, 2008

Happy Presidents' Day!

I don't fully understand Presidents' Day. Are we supposed to honor our current president? Remember those of the past? Go to the Ford dealership to get a GREAT DEAL on a 2008 Explorer!!????

I am going to honor Presidents' Day the best way I know how--with a little tribute to my three favorite Presidents, as seen on TV.

3. President David Palmer (Dennis Haysbert) on 24.

President Palmer was the man. For four seasons of 24 he graced our television screens with his imposing presence. Despite psycho wives, assassination attempts, and recurring over dramatic plots of terrorism on the US of A, Palmer remained the perfect public figure and political counterpart to Kiefer Sutherland's Jack Bauer, and delivered lines like this one, "Now, Jack, if it were anyone else, I would ask you if you were sure. But with you, I already know the answer. God bless you, and good luck," with serious conviction and a pretty baddass oratory style. (In a related topic, I once used President David Palmer as a supportive argument for why Barack Obama is more electable than Hillary Clinton. I'm all kinds of smart.) I would probably feel comfortable with Palmer in the White House, but only if he had Jack Bauer by his side, although contrary to popular belief (see Dwight Schrute, Jack Donaghy), he doesn't exist.

2. President Laura Roslin (Mary McDonnell) on Battlestar Galactica.

President Roslin, among many, is one of the best reasons to watch BSG (that's what we fans call it, obv). I mean, if you are 43rd in line for the Presidency and then some aliens stage a nuclear attack on the human race and you are forced to live in spaceships with all the remaining surivors while hunting for a new home (Earth) and find yourself, the former Minister of Education (and did I mention you have cancer), the President of the Twelve Colonies with a whole shitload of responsibilities, not to mention continuing alien attacks, mutinous constituents, and an arguable insane, villainous Vice President, then it's safe to say you probably have my vote. Laura Roslin kicks all kinds of ass. She's also got this crazy romantic tension with Admiral Adama (Edward James Olmos) so you could probably call her a cougar. (On a side note--I love that term!) Anyways, if Roslin can handle the demands of the office considering the circumstances, it makes me wish George W. Bush were also a fictional character.

1. President Josiah "Jed" Bartlett (Martin Sheen) on The West Wing.

President Bartlett could probably be described as a dream president. He's the ideal: incredibly smart, clever, level-headed, tough when he needs to be, has a decent sense of humor, a lot of personal integrity, and he's pretty down with G-O-D. Despite that whole issue of lying to the American public about his MS, and a brief moment when he had to step down after his daughter's kidnapping (who wouldn't step down after that?) Jed Bartlett embodies the perfect guy for the job. And, moreso than 24 or Battlestar Galactica, The West Wing is definitely the most realistic of these shows, and thus Barlett the most plausible Commander in Chief. Furthermore, I learned a lot from those years of watching Bartlett as the POTUS on TV. I also felt pretty involved watching The West Wing. I may have been in bed in my dorm room in Middlebury, watching an eleven-episode marathon, but where else can you get passionately excited about politicos arguing over lobbyists or getting enough votes for a new bill to be past? Certainly this can't exist in the real world! (Note the half-ass sarcasm, please.) In any case, I can only dream of a President like Jed Bartlett. Or a senior staffer as good looking as Sam Seaborn (Rob Lowe--now taking a presidential turn on ABC's Brothers & Sisters). Best seasons to watch Barlett in his glory would be 1 through 5. Go watch, you'll thank yourself.

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