Pop Culture Presidents

HANKS/HAMM

Tom Hanks is far from being the youngest, sexiest, or most alluring movie star. He’s not the kind of celebrity whose every move and relationship is carefully scrutinized by the media. But those things have never been what makes Hanks special. Instead, he is refreshingly ego-free, and he doesn’t seem to crave fame the way so many celebrities do. Above all, he seems like a normal guy, the kind of guy you would want to be friends with-or, as is so often brought up during election season, the kind of guy you’d want to have a beer with.

Is there a more likeable star than Hanks? He’s a modern-day Jimmy Stewart, projecting a down-to-earth charm and personable good nature that most celebrities can’t pull off no matter how hard they try. President Hanks would be the everyman candidate, effortlessly exuding the warmth, compassion and relatability that so many candidates strive to demonstrate on the campaign, trail. His easy rapport with others would be an enormous asset for any president, helping to forge strong diplomatic ties and pursue negotiations with even the most dangerous world leaders.

Looking for presidential qualifications? Throughout his long career, Tom Hanks has personified the best aspects of the American character. As Forrest Gump, he was the embodiment of American optimism and determination. As Captain Miller in Saving Private Ryan, he represented the Greatest Generation, movingly depicting a schoolteacher whom wartime turns into an uncommonly brave soldier and leader. In The Terminal, he was an Eastern European whose inability to officially enter the U.S. resonated with the real-life struggles of immigrants. He’s played a baseball coach, a cowboy, an astronaut, and an FBI agent. The next step is clear: it’s time for President Tom Hanks.

Not only does John Hamm play Don Draper, a man in charge sprinkled with a little bit (read: a lot) of style in the AMC series Mad Men, but he’s also a stern, stand-up guy off screen. He is articulate and could deliver a fantastic State of the Union address in a moment of crisis or joy. Since he’s accustomed to doing so many fake advertising pitches in Mad Men, maybe he could even scribble down some notes for his own presidential speech one of these days, since we all know that presidents never speak their own words. He is congenial and has friends in high places. While they are comedic figures like Paul Rudd and Kristen Wiig, it shows he has a softer, more relatable side, and he can even have real friends-which some politicians seem to lack. He’s an absolute charmer with that million-dollar smile and those sparkling eyes-which wouldn’t hurt our foreign policy negotiations. While he did work set design for a soft core pornography film for a brief period in his life before becoming an actor (and a politician!), it’s almost certain that the campaign managers can make that a non-issue soon enough.

He’s an all-American (born in St. Louis, Missouri), handsome man. Perhaps he is our generation’s JFK.

Plus, he’s not too hard on the eyes, which will certainly help attract some strong female support.

STREEP/DAVIS

If you’ve ever seen a good movie, the odds are that Meryl Streep had a hand in it in some way, shape, or form. Her magnificent body of work includes such classics as Sophie’s Choice, Adaptation, The Devil Wears Prada, and the Julia Child biopic Julie and Julia. Streep carries herself with an air of poise and grace that would make her a perfect candidate for the Oval Office. Both on and off the stage, Streep has shown that she has all the attributes of a great and dignified leader, someone who could sympathize with the people but also lay down the law when needed.

For a pristine example, look no further than her Oscar-winning role as the legendary Margaret Thatcher in last year’s The Iron Lady. Streep emulated the stern and stalwart tactics of the leading lady with such precision that it makes you wonder how today’s world would manage if she deployed such tactics on them. Or look at her infamous character in The Devil Wears Prada, where she ruled a vast media empire with a cast-iron fist. Reprising such roles in a debate or political discussion would make her opponents cower and quiver in their boots. Who would really be able to stand down President Miranda Priestly?

Aside from having ice in her veins, Streep also has consistently proved over her career that she is fully capable of empathizing with others. For example, her recent rendition of famed cook Julia Child illustrated Streep’s uncanny ability to consistently emit a sweet, charming flair. It’s a skill that would make her connect with the everyday American, be it man or woman, and allow her to emotionally unite with even her fiercest political adversaries.

Of course, the icy and unflinching Priestly-Thatcher-like Commander-in-Chief would have to be offset by a more empathetic, soft-spoken vice presidential candidate. Viola Davis is the perfect woman for the job. Having solidified her name among the great leading ladies in Hollywood in recent years, Davis has built a career playing heartfelt characters, such as her fantastic lead part as Aibileen Clark in The Help or her award-winning cameo as a neglectful mother in Doubt. Davis would provide a calming yin to Streep’s yang, a check to the balance.

If President Streep got out of line or went overboard with her theatrics, V.D.’s levelheadedness would bring her back to earth.

Vote for Streep/Davis this election year. You won’t find or can’t think up a fiercer, sturdier, or more lovable political pop culture combo.

 

About Brennan Carley 80 Articles
Brennan Carley served as the Arts & Review Editor for The Heights in 2012. He's currently an Assistant Editor for Spin.