Earlier, I ranked the 43 Presidents based on their qualifications for the office, from most experienced to least. Now, I’m going to consider the records of fictional commanders-in-chief. Their ranking represents their position compared to actual Presidents.
Josiah Bartlett (West Wing)
A Nobel Prize winning Economics professor, congressman and small-state governor, Jed Bartlett has a mix of legislative and executive experience, as well as unparalleled financial credentials. So I’d rate his qualifications just above those of Dwight Eisenhower.
Glen Allen Walken (West Wing)
Speaker of the House for two years before he became acting President of the United States. He held decent qualifications for the office. I’d like to think that in the world of West Wing, he unseated Matt Santos in 2010, thus confusing the hell out of anyone trying to come upw with numbers for presidents .
Matt Santos (West Wing)
Bartlett’s successor was a three-term Congressman, and former Mayor of Houston. While never elected to statewide office, he does have a respectable mix of executive and legislative experience, in addition to his military service. I’ll rank him just above Reagan, and just below Hoover.
Arnold Schwarzenegger (The Simpsons)
Presumably, he spent 4-6 years as Governor of California before he became President in the world of The Simpsons movie. His tenure wasn’t as lengthy as Reagan’s, but he was still a reelected large state governor.
David Palmer (24)
A former Congressman and Senator from Maryland, I’ll rank him slightly higher than JFK due to his experience in the state legislature and as Chairman of the House Ethics Committee.
Charles Logan (24)
According to the character profile, before he was selected as John Keeler’s VP, he was the Lieutenant Governor of California. Prior to that, he had been a CEO and State Assemblyman from the Santa Barbara area.
Wayne Palmer (24)
A CEO (who got that job because one of his brother’s backers) and White House Chief of Staff who served a partial term in that position. He wouldn’t have been President, if not for the assassination of David Palmer.
Kenneth Yamaoka (Eagle: The Making of an Asian-American President)
The manga featured a New York based lawyer turned Senator, who was a protege of a David Dinkins type New York City mayor, and had previously served honorably in Vietnam. As a result, Yamota’s resume fits between JFK and Harry Truman.
Andrew Shepherd (The American President)
The Aaron Sorkin written film described Michael Douglas’s character as a former Governor of Wisconsin, who started out as a Professor of political science.
Tom Morrison (O: A Presidential Novel)
The novel by McCain speechwriter Mark Salter described a general turned businessman turned governor of an unspecified state in New England. He’s essentially a combination of David Petraeus (sans sex scandal) and Mitt Romney.
“The Big Guy” (World War Z)
Mark Brook’s oral history of the zombie war featured a moderate Republican of Jamaican descent with military and presidential-level cabinet experience taking over with the aftermath. Let’s be honest, we’re talking about Colin Powell here. Circa 2008 with some additional expertise handling the worst crisis in the history of the human race, he would rank just outside the top ten.
“The Wacko” (World War Z)
The big guy’s vice president was a a liberal favorite whose previous bid for the White House ended a few years earlier with a much-maligned display of emotion. So he’s Howard Dean.
Margaret Valentine (Y The Last Man)
A Secretary of Agriculture who became President when all the men were killed, including almost everyone line of succession, as well as the pilots flying the Secretary of State. She cites a lack of experience, so she was probably similar to Anne Veneman, the Bush era Secretary of Agriculture in terms of her background. Presumably she was a lawyer and administrator, before she became manager of the sixth-largest employer in the federal government.
Victor Von Doom (Doom 2099)
Doctor Doom has previous executive experience as the Dictator of Latveria.
Lex Luthor (DC Comics)
An immensely successful and influential businessman and inventor, widely praised for his philanthropic efforts rebuilding Gotham City after a horrific earthquake, Lex Luthor had unusual qualifications for the presidency, but was as ready for the job as any man can be.
Pete Ross (DC Comics)
Pete Ross served as Lex Luthor’s Vice-President on the strength of a brief term as an interim Senator from Kansas. He ascended to the presidency when Lex Luthor’s world domination schemes failed, and then left when he was intimidated by the secret rulers of the world. It would have been interesting for the Superman comics if Clark Kent’s old buddy from the middle of nowhere in Kansas kept the job of most powerful man in the world, although it would have served as a reminder that pre-Flashpoint Superman wasn’t a young man. He would still be less qualified than any President since the nineteenth century.
Ravenshadow (Rising Stars)
He was a wealthy philanthropist, and genius vigilante who was elected to the white house as an independent candidate in the Image Comics series Rising Stars.
Captain America (The Ultimates)
A hero of the second World War and various alien invasions, he had bonus points for working with FDR.
Prez Ricard (Prez)
DC’s teen President was rather low on experience for some reason. But he had been a prominent activist, so his record still trumps Chester Arthur’s.
Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho (Idiocracy)
Porn superstar is a poor qualification for the highest office in the land. The people who elected him were really stupid.
Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter
In a world in which vampires exist, and manipulate the events leading into the Civil War, experience killing them vampires becomes the most important qualification for anyone who wants to lead America. So Abraham Lincoln goes from one of the least impressive resumes of any President to the most impressive.