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A 2004 study of presidential personality types found that “current presidents tend to be very extroverted (about 90th percentile), while early presidents tended to be more introverted than most present-day Americans.”
In his influential 1972 book, The Presidential Character, political scientist James David Barber argued that we should pick presidents by their personality type.
The “active-positive” president — the ideal voters should seek — tackles the job with manic energy and zest, and “gives forth the feeling that he has fun in political life.”
The “passive-negative” sees the office as a matter of stern duty, and his “tendency is to withdraw.” Among Barber’s “active-positives” were crusading meddlers like FDR, Truman and JFK; his “passive-negatives” included the Cincinnatus-like figures Washington, Eisenhower and the under-appreciated Calvin Coolidge, who cut taxes, shrank spending and delivered peace and prosperity.
Introverts — present company excepted — can make good presidents. Obama’s current predicament stems in large part from his flexible relationship with the truth — a personality flaw that has nothing to do with his sometimes solitary nature.
Besides, given the disaster his presidency has become, you can't blame the guy for wanting some alone time.
This column originally appeared in the Washington Examiner.