Historians love to assemble rankings of America’s best and worst presidents. It’s the history nerd equivalent of trying to come up with the best NBA player or the greatest superhero. Of course, you have the perennial favorites at the top (Abe Lincoln is to the American presidency what Michael Jordan is to hoops or Batman is to ass-kicking), but below the A-list there’s a lot of debate about who was great, who was merely mediocre, and who was flat-out horrible.
What about our fictional commanders in chief, though? Here’s brief salute to those who have answered the call to civic duty in ways that were inspiring, horrifying, and completely ridiculous.
Warning: All manner of White House secrets are revealed in the post that follows. ***SPOILERS ABOUND! (In other words, if you’re not up to date on Scandal, go watch it on Hulu and then come back here. We’ll still be here.)
BEST OF THE BEST
1. James Marshall (Harrison Ford) in Air Force One
Signature Career Achievements: Thwarts terrorist attack by militant Russian separatists aboard Air Force One. Saves lives of the First Lady and only child, as well as his senior staff.
Career Lowlights: At the outset of film, announces the Marshall Doctrine, an open-ended military commitment to…basically confront evil wherever it may be, a policy that makes the “War on Terror” look well thought out.
Notable Personal Traits: In surprisingly good shape for a middle-age bureaucrat. Excellent shot with firearms, packs a mean right hook.
Basically An Idealized Version of: John McCain
Bottom Line: Did we mention that he singlehandedly thwarts a terrorist attack on his plane?
[Hum “Hail to the Chief” if you want to see more]