The List: Top 10 fictional politicians

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From the August 9, 2012 edition

As Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis face off for a congressional seat in the new comedy “The Campaign,” we’re tallying the vote on our favorite fictional politicians.

10. Senator Palpatine

We could have done without all the learning about intergalactic trade protocol in the “Star Wars” prequels, but the dude who became the emperor with all the lightning-y fingers and such? Yeah, he came to power by shrewdly playing the political game. Scary.

9. Sen. Jay Billington Bulworth

When he grew tired of the political game, the titular character of “Bulworth” (Warren Beatty) hired hitmen to assassinate him. This sounds like kind of a downer, until Bulworth begins to live his last days like, well, his last days — smoking weed, getting drunk, telling the press what he really thinks and having a fatal attraction to Halle Berry. Not a bad way to go out.

8. Tracy Flick

You would think that someone as smart and ambitious as Reese Witherspoon’s character in “Election” would be a great leader, right? But her ruthless obsession with becoming class president derailed her sense of right and wrong. Good thing that would never happen in real life!

7. President Beck

If a comet is on a path to collide with Earth and annihilate humanity, you want a president who is calm, soothing and reassuring. You don’t get much more calm, soothing or reassuring than Morgan Freeman in “Deep Impact.”

6. Mayor “Diamond Joe” Quimby

Womanizer? Yep. Embezzler? For sure. But you can’t argue with his policy that guns don’t kill people, bullets do.

5. President Josiah “Jed” Bartlet

Let’s face it: Martin Sheen’s President Bartlet on “The West Wing” was the most popular president of the last 20 years on both sides of the aisle.

4. State Sen. Clay Davis, “The Wire”

On a show where moral ambiguity was rampant, Clay Davis (Isiah Whitlock Jr.) stood out as the most corrupt S.O.B. of all. He sure got a lot of mileage out of his catchphrase, though — sheeeee-it!

3. Sen. Jefferson Smith

Jimmy Stewart became a star after playing Jefferson Smith in “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” and why not? Stewart completely embodied the wholesome, do-gooder nature of Mr. Smith that’s all too rare in politics these days.

2. President Camacho

Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho, president of the eerily familiar America of “Idiocracy,” was a five-time “Smackdown” champion and porn star before he became the most powerful man in America. Who wouldn’t vote for that?

1. Leslie Knope

She’s a busybody, sure, and a little socially awkward, but Amy Poehler’s “Parks & Recreation” character actually went into government not for power, not for glory, but to actually help people. We could use more of that.