From books, movies, TV shows, whatever. Whenever we despair of the current occupant of the White House, we can always imagine an alternative. I’d nominate:
Andrew Shepherd (Michael Douglas) from The American President. Witty, bright, clearly enjoyed the job and did his level best despite the political cost.
Tom Beck (Morgan Freeman) from Deep Impact. Smart, serious, imposing, and just the voice I’d want to hear broadcast the Oval Office when the shit really hit the fan.
Josiah Bartlet (Martin Sheen) from The West Wing. Sheen played Shepherd’s chief of staff in The American President, but came into his own at the core of this great political TV show. A principled statesman, a bibliophile, history buff and Nobel Prize-winning economist. Jed, we hardly knew ye…
Honorable mention has to go to President Merkin Muffly, who did his best to save the world after the Soviets had set up the doomsday machine and one of his generals had set in train events that would trigger it. In the face of a worse crisis than any president has every faced, and confronted by insane and incompetent subordinates and a drunk and incoherent Soviet Premier, President Muffly never loses his calmness.
Unless I hallucinated it, in my youth (late 1960s, possibly early 1970s) there was a Saturday morning cartoon called “Super President”. That’s right; a superhero whose secret identity was President of the United States.
There was also the president in the classic mystery story, “The President of the United States: Detective” by H.F. Heard. I don’t recall his name (or if it was ever given), but he was clearly a man ahead of his time and would nowadays be doing PowerPoint shows and winning an Oscar for him. And the story was written in 1947.
Henry Fonda in Fail Safe–forced into an unbelievable situation and compelled to make the most horrific of decisions, putting his country (and the safety of the world) before all other personal or party interests.