Who would be a better president: Jed Bartlet or Matthew Santos? (Presidential Madness – Round One)

Welcome to Presidential Madness 2012 Round One. Just like the real NCAA March Madness, our field of 32 fictional presidents will be squaring off daily to see who will advance and ultimately be crowned best fit as President of the United States. In a series of polls, we’ll answer the age-old question: does life imitate art more than art imitates life? You will decide.

Follow the entire process and download your own bracket on our Presidential Madness page. To the matchups!

The President from “The Unit” (2006-2009) vs. Henry Ashton from “Vantage Point”(2008)

The President (played by William H. Macy)

While only on “The Unit” for a guest appearance, we’re fans enough of William H. Macy to give him a fighting chance in this tournament. We couldn’t find a clip of Macy in action, so here’s the preview of the show.

Henry Ashton (played by William Hurt)

President Ashton was the main focus of Vantage Point, a movie that explores multiple perspectives of his attempted assassination.

Jed Bartlet from “The West Wing” (1999-2006) vs. Matthew Santos from “The West Wing” (1999-2006)

Played by Martin Sheen and Jimmy Smits, respectively

In this battle, we decide once and for all who was the better President in the popular political drama “The West Wing.” Jed Bartlet was portrayed as the “ideal” president and is the direct descendant of Josiah Bartlet, a real-world signatory of the Declaration of Independence. According to Wikipedia his accomplishments include: amnesty to illegal immigrants from the Americas, appointing the first Hispanic Supreme Court Justice and first female Chief Justice, negotiating a peace settlement between Israel and Palestine, creating millions of new jobs, providing strong support for alternative energy, and orchestrating a Social Security reform plan.

Santos is elected after Bartlet’s tenure though his presidency is not fully explored as the show ended shortly after he was elected. Partly based on Barack Obama, the long-shot candidate wins the election on a platform of better public education and appoints his opponent as Secretary of State.

The President from “Austin Powers” (1999) vs. President McKenna from “X2: X-men United” (2003)

The President (played by Tim Robbins)

Only appearing in the movie for a minute, “The President” is threatened by Dr. Evil’s plan to build a laser on the moon. Dr. Evil threatens to destroy major cities unless the President gives him 100 Billion dollars. Of course, in 1969, that amount is laughable.

President McKenna (played by Cotter Smith)

In the opening scene of X2 McKenna is saved from “assassination” by the superhero Nightcrawler which was actually a warning about the impending mutant uprising. As a result, McKenna is eventually supportive of civil rights for mutants. McKenna then bans all research on mutants and makes it illegal to use mutants in a military capacity.

President Bennett from “Clear and Present Danger” (1994) vs. James Marshall from “Air Force One” (1997)

President Bennett (played by Donald Moffat)

Reacting to the death of a close friend at the hands of a drug cartel, President Bennett authorizes force in finding those responsible. After several black operations to attack the drug cartel, President Bennett is implicit in the cover up.

James Marshall (played by Harrison Ford)

Air Force One is hijacked and President James Marshall must maintain the safety of everyone on board while not accommodating the terrorists’ demands. A Vietnam veteran and Medal of Honor recipient, the president murders several of the terrorists to protect his family and ultimately prevails after killing the leader of the group after reciting the now-famous “Get off my plane!” line.

Return to Constitution Daily Monday for a new round of voting, and keep track of the tournament competition on our Presidential Madness page.