Politicians and celebrities occupy a unique place in American society. And while both groups live at the forefront of the public spotlight, they remain two pretty distinct entities. Sure, there’s some occasional overlap, like when Gov. George Pataki wowed audiences with his moves on Dancing with the Stars, Season 2, or when aging Hollywood heartthrob Ronald Reagan led the country as President during America’s arguably worst decade, the 1980s. But success for crossover celebrity politicians is anything but guaranteed. Gov. Pataki, for example, finished DWTS a mere second runner up. And President Reagan drove up the national deficit as he simultaneously created a destructive nonsensical narrative about the evils of “big government,” all while furthering the perpetual culture war, a divide that persists and hinders progress to this day.
But two bad examples shouldn’t eliminate entirely the possibility that celebrities couldn’t make good politicians. Which always makes me scratch my head and wonder, what if a celebrity were to somehow make it all the way to the top? What would the country look like with a celebrity President? Would they pull a Reagan and start selling weapons to Iranian radicals to fund rebels in Nicaragua? Or might a new course be charted? I’ve made a list of celebrities and imagined the political landscape of their hypothetical administrations:
1. Kenan and Kel
I guess they’d have to run as a ticket, and I can’t really choose who I’d rather see demoted to the role of Vice-President. Maybe we should just make Kenan the head honcho, seeing as how his name always comes first. That way people wouldn’t get confused if their names were reversed on campaign bumper stickers.
But a Kenan and Kel Presidency would be just the thing this country needs to jolt us out of the depressingly trendy nihilism that characterizes modern America. It would be the ultimate nineties throwback, something fun and just slightly stale to bridge the gap from childhood Millennialism to a super rad adulthood. And they could bring back all of their old acts, like I can just imagine President Kenan asking Kel, “Hey Kel, who likes flying on Air Force One?” and Kel would do the whole, “K-k-k-k-Kel likes flying on Air Force One!”
2. Reese Witherspoon
This makes perfect sense, because Witherspoon made a lot of money playing the role of an aspiring outsider politician. I’m referring to her Elle Woods character from the Legally Blonde movies. Elle started out as a sorority bimbo, only to wind up graduating Harvard Law before helping to pass actual legislation as a Congressional intern. Come on, even real life members of Congress can’t pass actual legislation. If Witherspoon could harness even half of Woods’ political savvy, the United States would benefit tremendously.
A political sequel for Witherspoon wouldn’t be that much a stretch. Last we saw Elle Woods, at the end of Legally Blonde 2, she had been elected to Congress, and as the movie closed, she looked to the camera and gave hints of future presidential aspirations. Unfortunately, we still don’t have that third movie. I say Witherspoon should go for it in real life, and after she’s done being President, they can release a documentary of her time in office as the third installment of Legally Blonde.
3. Danny DeVito
If Danny DeVito were to somehow win the Presidency, he’d make history not only for becoming a celebrity commander-in-chief, but also for wresting the title of “America’s shortest President” from current record holder, Martin Van Buren. But DeVito would bring more to the job than a series of stools placed strategically throughout the White House so he could reach things without the constant help of his staff.
President DeVito would offer a wide range of perspectives for the multi-faceted role of chief executive. Let’s say he needs to negotiate with the Russians. DeVito could embody the character of Frank Reynolds from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia to make President Putin question the very definition of sanity. If he needs to help negotiate new contracts for federal employees, he could take a page from his role as the penny-pinching boss on the TV show Taxi. I don’t think he’d ever have to draw on his deranged portrayal of The Penguin from Batman Returns, but just having gone through the experience of biting the head off of that live fish should give DeVito an added layer of depth to cope with the stresses of the Presidency.
4. Kate Mulgrew
OK, I thought Danny DeVito would be the best celebrity President to square off against the Russians, but who better to face down our former Cold War adversaries than someone who plays an actual Russian on TV. I’m talking about Red from Orange is the New Black. President Mulgrew is a professional actor, and part of her training in preparation for her latest role was to really get in the head of what it means to be Russian.
But of course, this isn’t the 80s. There are a lot more responsibilities a President has to deal with besides having an existential staring contest with the East. Which is why President Mulgrew would have to rely on her previous experience as Captain Janeway from Star Trek: Voyager. Talk about executive acumen, Janeway had to lead a partially mutinous crew on an eighty-year voyage home from the outer corners of the Delta Quadrant. Bilateral negotiations should be a piece of cake.
5. Donald Trump
There’s no way Donald Trump would ever win the Presidency, so I hate even wasting mental energy imagining what a President Trump would mean for America. Yeah, fuck the Donald. I’m taking a pass here. In fact, I’m done, I’m just going to stop. Just mentioning his name has totally taken the wind out of my writing sails. Oh well.