Charlie Sheen in “Machete Kills” vs. Martin Sheen in “The West Wing”: Who’s The Better American President?

<a href="https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=476295762455195&set=pb.401091929975579.-2207520000.1381515372.&type=3&theater">Machete Kills</a>/Facebook

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


“Motherfucker, I’m not asking! I’m the president of the fucking United States, man.”

So says President Rathcock (solidly played by Charlie Sheen) to Machete (Danny Trejo) during their first encounter in Machete Kills. Rathcock orders the ex-federale to assassinate a psychotic Mexican revolutionary named Mendez (Demián Bichir), who has a missile pointed at Washington, DC. In exchange, the president gives Machete full and immediate citizenship. “I just stamp this bad motherfucker,” Rathcock says, as he marks Machete’s papers.

Machete Kills, directed and co-written by Robert Rodriguez, is the sequel to 2010’s Machete. While it is only marginally political—immigration, the drug war, the military-industrial complex—the first film is one long love letter to liberal immigration politics. (For the record, Rodriguez donated quite a lot of money to Democrats and Obama’s reelection effort). In 2010, some noisy conservatives accused Rodriguez of creating an incitement to race war; and after Arizona’s SB 1070 became law, Rodriguez and Trejo cut a trailer in which Machete delivers a “special Cinco de Mayo message—to Arizona”:

Machete Kills marks the introduction into the franchise of several new characters, such as Luther Voz (a billionaire villain modeled in part after Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk, and played by Mel Gibson) and Rathcock. Here’s footage of Sheen talking about what he would do if he were President of the United States in real life; his agenda would include banning Twitter and establishing “nude Tuesdays”:

As you may recall, Sheen’s dad, Martin, is famous for playing another fictional American president: Jed Bartlet, on Aaron Sorkin‘s NBC drama The West Wing. “I am the more interesting president, yeah,” Charlie told the US edition of Metro. “I will have your vote after [you see] the movie…In one day in the Oval Office, I slept with three women, pulled out a machine gun, drank, smoked and swore. In seven [seasons], dad didn’t do any of that, you know?”

It is true that Rathcock is much more of an assault-rifle-wielding, playboy hedonist than Bartlet ever was. But which one is the superior American president? Here’s a cheat sheet on their politics and personalities for you to decide which you’d rather vote for:

President Bartlet

  • Democrat (according to Martin Sheen, the character is largely modeled after Bill Clinton, although Bartlet is way more liberal than Clinton)
  • Loyal family man
  • Gun control advocate
  • Pro-immigration reform
  • Breaks all kinds of international law by ordering a team of Navy SEALs to assassinate a Middle Eastern government official who moonlights as a terrorist ringleader.
  • For gay rights, against religious fundamentalism:

President Rathcock

  • Republican
  • Enjoys orgies
  • Gun lover (who campaigned on protecting gun rights “with a vengeance”)
  • Presides over an immigration policy that includes maintaining a gigantic wall between the US and Mexico
  • Executes a foreign policy of ruthless Machete
  • Legalized pot

So, which one of them has your vote?

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate