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Presidential Celebs: Who’d Look Good in the Oval Office?

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And just like that, another election season has wrapped up with its usual bustle and trundled into lame-duck land for the rest of the year, and America is ready to be remade or unmade (depending on whether you’re of a red or blue persuasion) yet again come January. For all their shrillness, controversy, and upheaval—and despite many unlikely candidates—there was a certain lack of star power in the 2010 midterms. Sure, Connecticut voters had Linda McMahon, of World Wrestling Entertainment fame, but that didn’t come close to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s running for governor of California, Jesse Ventura’s running for governor of Minnesota, or the presidential election of the granddaddy of celebrity politicians, Ronald Reagan.


All this begs the question: which celebrities would make a good president of the United States, or would at least look good in the rose garden at the White House? Here are my nominations.


Chuck Norris
Conservative celebrities are in short supply. But the red states could use some star representation, and who better than Chuck to kick butt and take names? Already a political activist for the causes of the right, a President Norris would certainly command cabinet meetings and international negotiations—with a pair of nunchucks. Diplomacy might not be his strong suit, but he might get a lot done by virtue of the fact that everyone would be too scared of getting a beatdown to argue with him.


Paula Deen
I’m not sure who would like a Paula Deen presidency more, Democrats or Republicans. One thing’s for sure: the U.S. school-lunch program would be in for a major overhaul. Young students everywhere would delight in Deen’s butter- and cream-heavy recipes and gooey desserts, which cheerful lunch ladies would dole out. President Deen would likely propose that our country change its slogan from “In God We Trust” to “In Cheese We Trust,” and would wow and whither political opponents with her unstoppable cheeriness. And how about some Middle East peace talks over her gooey butter cake? It couldn’t hurt.


Sigourney Weaver
We already know she looks right at home in the White House, based on her portrayal of First Lady Ellen Mitchell in that fantastically mediocre movie Dave. But what’s way more important in qualifying Weaver to be president is her storied role as Ripley in the Alien movies. That’s the President Weaver we want. Terrorists and global warming aside, it’s only a matter of time before the aliens invade, and we’ll want a leader who has some experience with facing down big, slimy bipeds with tentacles, pointy teeth, and a yen for intergalactic domination. Sigourney for president! Only she can get us safely through the alien apocalypse!


Alec Baldwin
It’s getting harder and harder to separate Alec Baldwin the man from Jack Donaghy, his character on 30 Rock. And I’m not entirely sure which one I would prefer to have in the West Wing. For sure, Jack’s got the political savvy to make a go of it, but the problem is that because he’s a textbook Republican, we’d be looking at Reaganomics run amok. Alec Baldwin the man, on the other hand, has more left-leaning values but has a tendency to become somewhat unhinged (reference widely released rant on his daughter’s voicemail). That’s a quality that could swing both ways in politics, but I’d take my chances.


Denzel Washington
There’s no man in Hollywood that you can take more seriously than Denzel. One look from those cool, steady eyes, and all of Capitol Hill, maybe even the whole world, would fall right in line—and that’s all to say nothing of his imposing stature and commanding voice. Plus, he just oozes diplomatic competency. The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia named Denzel as one of the people with whom they would agree to negotiate the release of American defense contractors held captive. If South American guerillas think he’s got what it takes, then what’s America got to lose? I’m just sayin’.


Angelina Jolie
Do you suppose Angie’s ever in her life heard the word “no”? That might be just the kind of president we need—one who could hold sway over the most divisive legislation with the smallest bat of her long eyelashes, or a knowing smile from those luscious lips. The endless echo of “Yes, President Jolie” would be heard around Washington. Not to mention the fact that the woman could rock a skirt suit like no other politician on the Hill.


RuPaul
If America should ever grow broad-minded enough to elect a drag queen president, RuPaul is the logical choice. With his flinty attitude and sharp tongue, his presidency would be marked perhaps more by pithy, dry sound bites than by actual legislative action, but no one would be bored and the West Wing would look fabulous. That’s not to say, however, that RuPaul couldn’t perform effectively as a commander in chief. Quite the contrary—anyone who’s ever seen Drag Race would know it’s best not to mess. Just shut up and do your job, and RuPaul won’t get on your case. Hear that, Congress?


Jack Nicholson
It’s pretty amazing that someone hasn’t floated this idea before: a Jack Nicholson presidency. He could bring that flourish of cool/creepy to the office with his ever-present sunglasses and his trademark wryness. Can’t you just see him sitting at the head of the conference table in the Situation Room, fingers steepled, eyebrows pointed into triangles above his Wayfarers, watching calmly as generals and advisors argue over how to handle some dramatic geopolitical kerfuffle? Then, in a moment of frustrated silence, he stands up and says, “Heeeeeerrrrrrreeeeeee’s Johnny!” Maybe not especially productive, but it would break the tension.


For the most part, logic might dictate that celebrities should be celebrities and politicians should be politicians—mixing the two just ends up confusing people. There’s only so much shine and star power a politician can stand to have before the populace puts him or her on a high pedestal from which to fall (e.g., Barack Obama), and celebrities tend to have those qualities in spades, which is why they’re, you know, celebrities.

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