Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Time to exercise your franchise

Okay, in an attempt to keep this blog a politics-free zone while still acknowledging the huge elephant (and donkey) in the room today, we're going to have our own simplistic presidential election, between four recent TV commanders in chief. After the jump, a breakdown of the candidates, and then feel free to both vote and explain your vote in the comments.

Josiah Bartlet ("The West Wing")
Party: Democrat
Pet causes: Campaign finance reform, defense, literacy
Pros: A learned, decent man who commands the respect of everyone around him
Cons: Smoker, secret MS sufferer, prone to losing his cool in a crisis, Dukakis-sized

Laura Roslin ("Battlestar Galactica")
Party: Um, Caprican?
Pet causes: Education, religious fundamentalism, the survival of the human race
Pros: Has kept the remains of humanity alive for several years now, was right about not settling on New Caprica
Cons: Secret cancer sufferer, prone to religious visions, rational but uncontrollable hatred of Gaius Baltar

David Palmer ("24")
Party: Democrat?
Pet causes: Sniffing out the latest rat in his administration
Pros: Charismatic, decent, could easily beat up the other three candidates with his bare hands
Cons: Horrible, horrible judge of character when it comes to picking aides, cabinet members, a wife, etc.

Mackenzie Allen ("Commander in Chief")
Party: Independent
Pet causes: Homeland security, getting re-elected
Pros: Presidential height, ability to get things done without any real political allies in either party
Cons: Constant shifts of direction in administration (and on show), whiny First Gentleman

88 comments:

Dan said...

David Palmer was hands down the best TV president of all time. I think he single handedly is the reason Obama is on the ballot (joking, of course).

But my vote is for him. Super likable and great in crunch/crisis time (something we could use now in real life).

Yussi said...

There is no question that Jed Bartlet is the best guy for the job. Not only did he do the best fictional job in comparison with the other candidates, but he also would be the best man for the real job. Only in company of Josh Lyman of course

Grunt said...

Oh My God! What's an Upper West Side Liberal to do? I want to vote for the women or the black guy, but I have no choice but to vote for my beloved President Bartlet.

If for no other reason than the Aaron Sorkin dialog will keep me consistantly entertained.

Dan said...

Dennis Haysbert is on record as saying he thinks Obama was helped in his campaign by 24, because a lot of voters saw a strong, believable, black US president on that show. Not sure how much it helped, but pop-culture does bleed through into the subconscious. It wasn't as hard to imagine a black President after 24. Or 1997's Deep Impact, actually :)

Sean said...

Haysbert can claim Obama credit if he likes, but it was really West Wing and Bartlet that predisposed me toward Obama back in 2004, if only because it made such a strong association my mind between statesmanship and oratory. Bartlet gets my vote.

Sam Winchester said...

I'm going to cast the first vote for President Roslin. The woman is tough as nails. Not only can she make the hard choices, but she frequently does.

Kevin Michaels said...

Jed Bartlet although David palmer might be a nice VP choice.

Anonymous said...

I'm going with Roslin too. Tough times demand a tough leader. Also, she proves that being religious and being a good leader are not mutually exclusive (are you listening, Dubya?)

bill said...

I'm moving to Parador and voting for Richard Dreyfuss.

MCB said...

I am also casting my vote for Roslin. I had to think about it for a while -- she did rig an election -- but her heart and her priorities are almost always in the right place, she's smart and well-informed, and she's not afraid to take unpopular positions. And her hatred of Baltar just proves what a good judge of character she is.

Malcolm said...

Bartlet For America!

Sonia said...

Hmmm...I have to "write in" (b/c it's America and you can do that here...LOL) and vote for Arnold Vinick from West Wing. He didn't win the election, but I did admire his concession (and not calling for a recount)...LOL.

Devin McCullen said...

I'll vote for Palmer, if for no other reason than because, after all that, they killed him off for cheap shock value.

(Write-ins considered included John Locke, Kerry Weaver, and Susan Ivanova.)

Anonymous said...

I'll vote for Bartlett. As much as I liked Palmer, he made some really bone-headed decisions. And while Roslin is a great character, she's a bit too much of a nutball for real life

JLF said...

Jed Bartlett, FTW!

LA said...

Palmer.

Alan Sepinwall said...

I am also casting my vote for Roslin. I had to think about it for a while -- she did rig an election -

Did Roslin rig the election, or did Tory? Or were they doing it together? I can't remember anymore.

JAS said...

Bartlet for America!!!
also....I'd like to cast a vote for Matt Santos, the potentially awesome president whose administration we never got to see.

Dark Tyler said...

BARTLET!

The whole concept of him is that he's the ideal president.

Nicole said...

Lisa Simpson... but if I am forced to pick one of the 4, Madame Airlock.

I do think that Palmer being president in the 24 universe where it was the not too distant future probably helped make a black president not quite so unlikely. The Cosby show has also been credited with helping that along too.

ksquard said...

Let Bartlet Be Bartlet!

I've been watching WEST WING reruns on Bravo for the last 5 or 6 days. It's just been reminding me how much I wanted to vote for him when Kerry and Bush were at each other's throats and how much I wish we could have a candidate of that character running today.

Jennifer said...

Finally, an election where I'd be happy if any of the candidates on the ticket won!

I might lean towards Jed or Laura a bit more, though.

Real Live Woman said...

No question - Jed Bartlet! For all of the reason mentioned above, plus, Martin Sheen always reminds me of my dad.

Rachel said...

Bartlet! While all four candidates are impressively capable in a way that -- sadly -- only the fictional can be, Bartlet is the one that inspires as well.

dez said...

David Palmer because that smooth, deep voice could sell me on anything. Except Allstate because it costs more than my current insurance :-D

olucy said...

Bartlet for America!

Mac said...

Got to be Bartlet. You mentioned Palmer's problems with personnel, but Roslin's top aide is a Cylon.

Alan Sepinwall said...

You mentioned Palmer's problems with personnel, but Roslin's top aide is a Cylon.

In fairness to Roslin, even Tory didn't know she was a Cylon, where all of Palmer's back-stabbing underlings knew exactly what they were when he hired (or married) them.

Susan said...

Let Bartlet be Bartlet.

My vote is for Bartlet all the way. Especially after watching five episodes of the season 1 marathon last Saturday. :)

Reeb said...

Voting for Bartlet, because he's the guy that got me engaged into politics, to the point that I now argue back at the TV when I think he's wrong. Also, I've watched much more of the West Wing than all three other shows combined.

I always found Santos to be a tool -- too obviously written as the guy we were supposed to like, rather than the guy we liked because he was awesome -- so in a Santos/Vinick match-up, I don't know who I'd vote for. I'd turned off the TV by the middle of season 6.

henry said...

Jed Bartlet all the way. You wanna be inspired by your Commander-in-Chief. Bartlet brings that in spades.

Joe Reid said...

Did Roslin rig the election, or did Tory? Or were they doing it together? I can't remember anymore.

Pretty sure Tory did the foot-soldiering, but Roslin (and Tigh) gave the orders.

Anyway, Roslin's my favorite character but would be a total horror show if she were my actual president. Bartlett for America here.

Anonymous said...

President Bartlet

pgillan said...

Bartlet/Russell '08!

R.A. Porter said...

I think this is all very cute, but now that you've had your fun it turns out the rest of the galaxy has ratified its Constitution. So I'll be casting my vote for

John Sheridan as President of the Interstellar Alliance.

Anonymous said...

Battlestar Galactica is the only one of these four shows that I've watched, so I can only comment on Roslin---she's my favorite character on the show, but I couldn't vote for her (unless, of course, the alternative was Baltar or some such). She's surreptitiously taken on so much more power than anyone intended the office to have, and combining that with religious visions is a recipe for disaster. Sure, she's done a pretty good job up to this point, but if (or when) she goes over the edge completely, what will happen?

Pamela Jaye said...

wow...
I think I've seen some Beckett/Calavicci bumper stickers, but I guess they were a write-in.

Two of these "countries" are out of my realm of experience.

I might vote for Senator McAlister as he has an open mind - but he's no longer running.

Bartlett had awesome Sorkin dialog, but has been known to assassinate foreign someone or others and seems to made more of teflon than even Gregory House MD.

Since Mr Sterling never made it past (was it Senator? and I never saw "Nancy"s father at all (and damn it - what about Andrew Shepherd? oh right - not on TV, can of worms too big)

I'll have to take Mackenzie whats-her-name. I remember really liking her and thinking she was level headed but firm and would not allow herself to be pushed around (although I can't remember what she did when her kid used the auto-pen to sign the paper from him teacher.)

Michael Peterson said...

I saw the signs in New Hampshire, I believe they said "Bartlet IS President."

Sleepyhead said...

Bartlet for America!!

Roslin is beholden to the military-industrial complex. Sure, sure, they're necessary for the survival of humanity, but she has a tendency to knuckle under to military power-grabs and abrogate the rights of her citizens because she's so in loooove with the supreme military commander. She was extremely qualified... to be Secretary of Education.

Anonymous said...

I have powerful memories from 2002 of watching W. gear up to invade Iraq while Congressional offices were shut down due to Athrax strikes, and being very envious of this lovely fantasy America that had a cool, confident, moral leader in David Palmer.

T said...

For me, it's either Bartlet or Roslin. Ultimately, my vote would go to Roslin only under very specific circumstances--you know, humanity on the brink of extinction and what not. But otherwise, in peace or in regular-magnitude war (you know, that don't involve the near-extermination of the human race and the uninhabitability of our planets), it has to be Bartlet all the way. (And all his staff, one hopes! Lyman 2016!)

Andrew said...

While I approve of Roslin's anti-Cylon agenda, I am troubled by her tendency to base policy decisions on kamala-induced hallucinations. In her second term, despite never being elected to the Presidency, would Roslin be eligible to run for another term? (What are the Colonial term limit laws?)

I'd have to vote Bartlett. I like me a President who can do a mean walk and talk.

(Though it does bring to mind two election-inspired Simpson quotes, both from Homer:
"While I don't approve of Bob's -killing policy, I do approve of his Selma-killing policy."
"Don't blame me. I voted for Kodos."

filmcricket said...

Bartlet for America, for sure.

Interestingly, though, while The West Wing was a great show about governance, I never felt it did elections particularly well, aside from the flashbacks in In The Shadow of Two Gunmen parts I and II - and even those stories were were about the primary campaign, not the general election.

My favourite election episode ever? The episode from (I think) S2 of Northern Exposure, where Ed votes for the first time. Chris in the Morning's speeches about freedom get me teary every time, and I'm not even American.

Gareth Wilson said...

Bartlet all the way, the others are terrible. Palmer's administration was a string of disasters, Roslin's a election-rigging religious nut, and Mackenzie Allen's comitted the US military to saving any woman facing an unjust death penalty, anywhere in the world. That last one sounds good, but they'd need an awful lot of helicopters.

dez said...

"Don't blame me. I voted for Kodos."

I plan on saying that frequently in the next few years, no matter what the outcome :-D

Anonymous said...

If these are my choices, David Palmer.

Chip said...

David Palmer all the way

Mo Ryan said...

No love for G. Baltar?

Ha.

ROSLIN 08!

Elwood said...

Jed Bartlett is my President.

M said...

Let's see:

I can't comment on Mackenzie Allen on account of not knowing a thing about her.

David Palmer, as a lowly Senator, thought it was his job to dish out vigilante justice on foreigners and to that end hired an incompetent hitman who managed to "accidentally" kill the foreigner's wife and daughter.

His idea of negotiation is to make extraordinary demands without a shred of justification or even just explanation, then use force if turned down (witness how in season 4 he demands of China to turn over one of their citizens for torture without ever mentioning that the man is their only lead in the hunt for nuclear terrorists, then following up this stunning display of stupidity by sending armed forces into the Chinese embassy -- you know, an act of war).

Laura Roslin bases her policy decisions on hallucinations, tried to steal an election (Tigh and Tory perpetrated the actual fraud, but Tory did so only after Roslin's go-ahead) and is currently president because of a military coup (yes, it was presumably Adama who instigated the coup, but she went right along with it). So the woman has demonstrated -- in fact, twice -- that she doesn't need votes to become president.

Josiah Bartlet has a tendency for grand standing in foreign crises, and to be his own worst enemy, not even attempting to push through his policy proposals because the Republicans might say mean things about him (and screwing over his supporters -- like those gay rights groups -- in the process). Despite this, he'd win my vote by virtue of being the only candidate who'd not be an unmitigated disaster.

That said, this is the first presidential election I actively remember where I actually prefer one of the real life candidates to their fictional counterparts.

[Bender] We've come a long way, baby. [/Bender]

Anonymous said...

Kang or Kodos - there's no difference.

Guess I'll go with Jed.

Would have liked to see a Santos admin though.

Puff

Namaste said...

Hmmm ... Bartlett's an economist, but of course economists got us into this mess, right? I say we all learn a lesson: Roslin '08!

Internship said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Internship said...

Laura Roslin hands down. She showed great leadership in such horrible times. She has Cancer and is still tough as nails. I think she would make a fine commander in chief. In fact I would love a Roslin/Andama 08 ticket :

R.A. Porter said...

The problem with a Santos administration is that he'd just be having "difficult" foreign leaders "taken care of" by sociopathic assassins.

Rick said...

Ralph Wiggum!

Steve said...

Are there *any* TV Presidents that aren't liberals? (Excluding cartoonishly bad TV Presidents like Gaius Baltar.)

The only example I can think of is John Sheridan from Babylon 5, but he wasn't so much a President as a rebel leader.

The only non-liberal movie President I can think of is Harrison Ford from Air Force One. And possibly Bill Pullman from Independence Day, although my recollection is that that movie scrupulously avoided any mention or suggestion of what political party he belonged to.

Anonymous said...

Huh. I always assumed David Palmer was a Republican.

Anonymous said...

It's got to be Bartlet. The other Palmer President ruined David Palmer for me.

Art Fleming said...

Are there *any* TV Presidents that aren't liberals? (Excluding cartoonishly bad TV Presidents like Gaius Baltar.) While he was technical never president in the shows present timeline, the president of the brothers in Jack and Bobby (i forget which one) was republican.

Sarah said...

Roslin for president!

Jennifer J. said...

I'm a David Palmer fan all the way. It's that voice...I'm voting for a voice! ;)p

dez said...

^You and I can form the Voice Party, Jennifer J.!

annie said...

Bartlet. :D

Now I'm not sure if I want to watch election coverage or my season 1 dvds... (because I always start at the beginning)

Anonymous said...

ROSLIN '08! Frak yeah.

You can't beat a president who's doing her best to ensure the survival of the human race! Religious visions and election tampering aside (hey, you gotta have some drama), Laura Roslin's displayed immense courage under fire, strength under the greatest of pressures, and her leadership has survived tests that no other presidents here have had to experience. Her sole raison d'etre is to ensure her people survive, and she never hesitates to make tough decisions in service of the greater good even at great personal cost. Roslin may make some tough, controversial decisions in her universe given the precarious state of humanity's survival there, but I also happen to think she would make a great peacetime president (when she would have the luxury of doing all the right things she wants to do), if only she had the chance.

Adrienne said...

Laura Roslin!

I'm a little bias because I've only seen Battlestar Galactica and none of the other shows, but I'm not sure that I'd like the other candidates as much as I like her.

SR said...

In context, I loved both Bartlet and Roslin...but for some reason I've lost my appetite for chief executives who seem to put themselves above the law.

That said, I'll always have a soft spot for Nixon's head in a jar.

mrsb said...

Jed all the way!

Though I wish I could have voted for Tom Beck!

MCB said...

@Alan -- I just finished Season 2.5 (I'm working my way through BSG, finally! I never watched it before this year), and Roslin definitely OK'd the election rigging and almost went through with it even when caught by Adama! (So maybe my vote for Roslin doesn't count, since I haven't seen her entire record yet :-))

@steve -- I kind of thought Baltar was a Bill Clinton-style Democrat (pro-choice, anti-war, smart guy, can't keep it in his pants).

Jen B said...

Bartlett.

It kills me that I can't actually vote for him.

Anyone else see/love the column in the NYT in which Sorkin envisions a meeting between Bartlett and Obama?

Anonymous said...

While Bartlet's my first choice, I'd go for Palmer if Sorkin wrote him. If Roslin had gone through with the election rigging, I'd have gone with her. Too soon to see how Lee Adama's doing.

Stef said...

Bartlet all the way!

Jen B., I saw that Sorkin piece and it was great. Did anyone see the other NYTimes piece over the weekend about how David Axelrod, currently Obama's campaign manager, really was an advisor on The West Wing in its last season? He helped shape the Santos-Vinick storylines, and the article pointed out how there are many parallels between this actual race and the fictional Santos-Vinick match up. Life imitates art?

Under Cover Asian Man said...

Roslin - good wartime president- where a Machiavellian philosophy is required- but would be a poor peacetime leader in the mold of Nixon. Results-oriented thinking is only best in crisis with high stakes, not day to day governance.

Bartlet - too controlled by his "Karl Rove" figure (Aaron Sorkin), a known ego-maniac and drug abuser Dishonest about his key health while a cowboy midget-mind sits as his vice-president. We know how dangerous a cowboy midget-mind as president could be (in theory of course). Seems to be quite the windbag with his staff, with grand, know-it-all speeches that indicate having a closed mind.

Palmer - don't know much about him, but seems like a known terrorist associator, hothead, and poor judge of character who gets himself into more trouble rather than focusing on policy. At least from the commercials I've seen about him, which could be (gasp!) misleading character assassination attempts by some swiftboating group. Thank god American politics is above such things in real life.

McKenzie - troubling, because unlike the other candidates, was quickly voted out of office (canceled) after a quick rise and fall. Indicates that she was all image and no substance. Sounds familiar.

I'm going to write-in a candidate instead. A family man who is exceptional with kids and thinks family first at all times. A man who is exceptionally cool under pressure and never, EVER gives in to his emotions. A career man who works overtime tirelessly every day for free because he believes in his causes with all his being. A quiet, thoughtful individual who has made a career of fighting crime and knows how to lock the most dangerous criminals away for good. Yes, my write in vote is for Dexter Morgan, the right leader for a tough time in America.

R.A. Porter said...

@under cover asian man - so that's a vote for Santos as Vice President?

Anonymous said...

David Palmer by a landslide. He was awesome. One of the worst decisions '24' ever made was killing him off for no good reason. Jack Bauer spent the first four seasons going to extreme lengths to protect Palmer from all sorts of threats. Then a sniper kills him all of a sudden at the beginning of season 5, thus proving that nothing Jack accomplishes can't be erased in one quick scene the following season.

Rick said...

Slate.com did a good bit about the similarities between Obama and Matt Santos (Jimmy Smits' character from the final season of West Wing):
http://link.brightcove.com/services/link/bcpid1612750325/bclid1037705321/bctid1898343112

hazmatzak said...

I would like to point out that the President is Commander in Chief of our Armed Forces, but not of the People. An important distinction.

David Palmer was very briefly but definitely identified as a Democrat on the show. Wikipedia concurs.

Anonymous said...

This makes me laugh!

http://vimeo.com/2148839

Anna said...

Bartlet, Bartlet, Bartlet, Bartlet, Bartlet.

I love Roslin as a character, but she's a very specific president for very specific circumstances. And even in those circumstances, most of the time she's still a huge bitch.

Britt said...

Bartlet. Always.

clare328 said...

Bartlet. and Toby, and CJ and Josh and Donna and Sam and Leo and Mrs Bartlet. May they reign in the white house in my head forever.

And I'm not the only one. There are Australian politicians quoting his speeches... for real...

Zachary said...

Jed Bartlet hands down.

He's what American presidents should be and what the American people should look for in their leaders.

Katrina said...

Jed Bartlet without a doubt.

Jennifer said...

Jed Bartlet, a devout Catholic in his personal life, told a pack of politically manipulative Christian fundies to get their "fat asses" out of his White House.

He has my heart forever.

Christy said...

Roslin! Willing to make hard unpopular choices.

Debsa said...

David Palmer, he ran the country, dealt with terrorism and a highly drama filled family.

Anonymous said...

Whichever person Charlie Young would vote for. In other words, Barlett.

pgillan said...

So who won? Was anyone keeping a tally? Who's our next fake-TV-President-elect?