Who Are the Best Presidents in Fiction?


The fictional President Bartlet (Martin Sheen) in The West Wing.

The fictional President Bartlet (Martin Sheen) in The West Wing.

Our recent conversation with Thom Addinall-Biddulph threw up some interesting examples of American Presidents depicted in fiction. In this over to you, we’d like you to share your own favourite fictional presidents. Whether on page or screen, and whether Presidents of the United States, the galaxy, or all that lies between, comment below, tweet us using the hashtag #PresidentFiction, or message us on Facebook. We’ll post the best to this blog on Friday.

Sometimes presidents in fiction may seem better than their real-life counterparts. Could Barack Obama deliver an inspirational speech against an alien invasion? Would George W. Bush help someone to file a tax return?

But better is not always interesting. In the alternative universe of Philip Roth’s The Plot Against America, the anti-Semitic and Nazi-supporting Charles Lindburgh is compelling and sinister.

And as Thom points out, the title of president has become synonymous with the President of the United States, but the idea of being presidential is one that may seep deeply into popular culture, so that even characters who are not formally the President nevertheless carry the ideas of the office, representing the “phantom presidency.” For instance, in No Country for Old Men the sheriff Ed Tom Bell tries to govern his patch of Texas with “the same authority as God,” like a mini-president.

The possibilities are endless: real or imagined presidents, presidents of the USA or elsewhere, and people who behave like the President in all but name. Who are your best examples from fiction?

Comment below, tweet us using the hashtag #PresidentFiction, or message us on Facebook, and we’ll share them on Friday. For inspiration, our interview with Thom can be found here.

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One response to “Who Are the Best Presidents in Fiction?

  1. Pingback: All the Presidents Fiction | READ Research in English at Durham·

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