"Hoover on a galactic scale," May writes. Failure
(James Cromwell) 3 points
The Sum of All Fears, 2002
The President of Russia dies and is replaced by a controversial politician. When a bomb explodes at the Super Bowl, Americans quickly blame Russia. Tension escalates before European neo-Nazis are found to be responsible.
Survives bombing of Super Bowl; blames Russians for attack; consults with staff to plan U.S. response; withdraws offensive forces and reconciles with Russians—but only after nearly causing nuclear war.
President Fowler, according to Kennedy, was "an effective crisis manager, but devoid of the vision thing." Average
According to Dallek, though Fowler's "rush to judgment nearly sparked a nuclear war," his restraint ultimately saved the world (and his reputation). Nevertheless, "it is difficult to see anything here that makes him more than an average President." Average
According to Brinkley, Fowler's standing was hurt by his "demagogic recklessness" in responding to the terrorist detonation before pulling back in the face of new evidence. Below Average
May: Fowler damaged his reputation by "leaping before looking." Failure
(Kevin Kline) 1 point
A look-alike is hired to impersonate the President and, when the President suffers a stroke, is asked to stay on indefinitely. The double, Dave Kovic, takes over the presidency and immediately sets the body politic in order.
Micromanages budget in order to pay for programs that combat homelessness; entertains a lonely child at a shelter; makes Dagwood sandwiches for a Secret Service agent.
Though the typical American may have been impressed by Dave's ability to solve so many policy problems so quickly, our historians were dismayed by his willingness to ignore the Constitution by serving as Chief Executive in the Vice President's stead when the President was incapacitated. May refuses to rank Kovic at all, on the grounds that he was never actually the President.
Brinkley writes that Kovic "deserves low marks for his fraudulent assumption of office," but grants that he does redeem himself somewhat by giving up that office voluntarily. Average
Kennedy writes that Kovic's "performance was easily trumped by that of the only other unelected President, Gerald Ford, who, unlike Kovic, had the good sense to do nothing while in office." Below Average
Dallek: "Did Dave never hear of the Constitution and the elected Vice President's right to replace the incapacitated President?" Failure
(Peter Sellers) -3 points
Dr. Strangelove, 1964
A psychotic general schemes to attack Russia with nuclear bombs. Muffley attempts to thwart the plan, but a series of missteps lead to nuclear disaster.