The Most and Least Believable Fictional Presidents

As we welcome a new resident to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., here’s a look at the most and least believable commanders-in-chief to lead our nation in film and television. 

Most Believable

Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus, “Veep”) – Selfish, manipulative, stumbling from one scandal to the next, Meyer is Washington, D.C., at its most believable. It’s satire, but just barely.

James Dale (Jack Nicholson, Mars Attacks!) – When Martians invade, President Dale delivers a plea for peace to the little bulb-headed creatures. Then the Martians kill him. Forget Independence Day – this is how it would really go down.

Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho (Terry Crews, Idiocracy) – In Idiocracy’s future America, the president is Crews decked out in wrestling gear, leading our nation with the power of monster truck rallies and screaming. A future more believable with every passing day.

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Least Believable

James Marshall (Harrison Ford, Air Force One) – A president that is both a strong, powerful leader and physically capable of throwing terrorists out of planes? It’s just too much to hope for.

David Palmer (Dennis Haysbert, “24”) – When Palmer is nearly assassinated (twice!), he shrugs it off like it’s no biggie. This level of awesomeness is too much to expect from a politician.

Claire Underwood (Robin Wright, “House of Cards”) – Underwood spends five seasons scheming her way to the White House like a certifiable evil genius. In real-life Washington, someone from her staff would have gotten drunk and left a document detailing all her plans in an Uber and brought her down back in season 2.


This story is part of Milwaukee Magazine‘s January issue.

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Archer is the managing editor at Milwaukee Magazine. Some say he is a great warrior and prophet, a man of boundless sight in a world gone blind, a denizen of truth and goodness, a beacon of hope shining bright in this dark world. Others say he smells like cheese.