It’s Presidents’ Day; the day when we celebrate two of the greatest presidents of all time. They had what it takes to be the best: Strong convictions, grand vision, and the courage to make bold decisions against tremendous odds. But if pop-culture presidents have taught us anything it’s that the best Commanders in Chief are also powered by hidden or secret talents. Let’s take a look at five of our favorite moonlighting Oval Office holders and the side jobs that made them exceptional.
President Camacho – Porn Star, Wrestler
Prior to becoming President, Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho became famous (and therefore electable) by being a porn star and then a professional wrestler. All these jobs made him the ideal candidate to be the Leader of the Intelligence-Free World in Mike Judge’s criminally underrated movie Idiocracy. Set 500 years in the future, society is so overrun with commercialism that IQs have hit rock bottom. Intelligence is so low that average-intelligence Joe wakes up from cryogenic sleep to find that he’s now the smartest man alive. Camacho could’ve reacted out of fear and laid the smackdown on Joe’s “brainy ass,” but we find that this soul-singing leader is wise as well as versatile, choosing to put Joe’s brains to work. He may drive a monster truck and wear flag-striped wrestling pants, but he also manages to kick some butt in a crisis.
President Thomas J. Whitmore – Alien-Killing Fighter Pilot
A president often has to face down an armed conflict and even an occasional catastrophe, but what about both in the form of a massive alien invasion that also happens to destroy the White House? That’s what happens to President Whitmore from Independence Day. He begins handling the situation diplomatically, trying to negotiate and show that humans are open to talks; but the moment it became clear that these invaders have no intention of going peacefully, he declares, “Let’s nuke the bastards.” And following a blazing and inspirational speech to the troops, he hops right into an F-18 fighter jet to take on the approaching saucers. Welcome to Earth, indeed.
Abraham Lincoln – Vampire Hunter
On Presidents’ Day, we celebrate the real Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, for one, but what if the Great Emancipator had a few more talents than speech-making under his belt? In Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, there is a war raging between American vampires and humans, starting long before the outbreak of the human Civil War. In this alternate history, fictional Honest Abe’s mother is killed by a vampire, and he spends his early years training to hunt down and get revenge on bloodsuckers using his silver-edged axe. Even as he ascends to the highest office in the land, Abe doesn’t take his eyes off the rise of the undead. Soon he’s swinging that axe fast and furious to maintain mankind’s freedom and liberty from becoming vampire lunch.
President from Saints Row IV – Enforcer, Gang Leader, Actor
Prior to Saints Row IV, your unnamed main character ascends from simple hired enforcer to becoming the leader of the 3rd Street Saints gang to being a famous actor who’s recognized by folks on the street. But after saving Washington D.C. from a nuclear attack, your not-so-humble crime boss is launched into the White House itself. Soon after taking office, alien invaders descend on our nation, taking your president and cabinet (which includes Vice President Keith David) hostage. All that violent training comes in handy when you all are imprisoned in a killer VR simulation, and you’re all forced to fight your way out. And in true Saints Row style, the game’s customization options allow you to do it dressed as a giant hot dog.
President Calvin Ellis – Superman
One would think being Superman would be enough of a full-time job, but in the storyline of DC’s Earth 23, Kryptonian Kalel who goes by Calvin Ellis also has time to be the president of an alternate Earth’s United States of America. Confirmed by the writer to be inspired by this Earth’s real POTUS Barack Obama, no one knows Calvin is the Man of Steel. Yet, his dedication to doing what’s right and protecting the people of Earth puts those two jobs nicely in parallel. Aside from saving Earth from alien and interdimensional threats, President Ellis is known for “balancing the national budget, solving the Libya Crisis, forming the Alliance of Nations to foster demilitarization and international collaboration, and receiving the highest approval ratings since President Rickard in the 1970s.” I’d say that is FAR more superhuman than x-ray vision and flight.
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