George W. Bush’s Personality Analysis

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This essay aims to study the personality of George W. Bush, the US president. The study will be conducted on two personality theories namely Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (Type Theory) and the Big Five Theory of personality (Trait Theory). The study will first attempt to understand the personality and his background, so that before his personality is dissected his background is properly diagnosed. Then we require understanding of the different theories and their theoretical background in the literature review section. After a complete understanding of the personality and the theories we would try to understand the personalities with the help of the theories and compare and contrast both the findings.

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Personality Background

George W. Bush was born on July 6, 1946, Connecticut, and was 54 at the start of his term as President. His father, George Herbert Walker Bush was the 41st President of the United States. He has three brothers and two sisters. When he was two years old his parents moved to Odessa, Texas fro his father’s oil business.

College Education: Bush had a so-called Eastern elitist education. Educated at Yale and Harvard, he majored in history and got a Masters in Business Administration from Harvard in 1975. He also played baseball and rugby while there from 1964-1968. Bush had a very colorful life during his formative years for he has been said to be a playboy as well as a heavy drinker during his college years.

He served with Texas Air National Guard during 1968-1973. Bush got married to Laura Welch on November 5, 1977. It was a short engagement. They met in the summer of 1977 and married just a little over three months later.

Business: Land, oil, and gas. After working with land and mineral rights and doing a bit of investing in drilling, George started his own oil and gas company around 1978. In 1983 he became the CEO of Spectrum 7, another energy company that merged with his. In 1992 U.S. News and World Report reported on some questionable dealings including possible insider trading involving Harken Energy stock. It is believed that there were a lot of hush ups during Bush’s years a businessman and his father’s political connections helped to bring him out of the troubles.

In 1984 George Bush (and others) purchased the Texas Rangers Baseball team. He was a managing general partner until 1994. He has been keen on baseball and has played for his college. His hobbies are fishing, especially bass fishing. He had served as Governor of Texas from 1994 and again in 1998 before he was elected as the President of United States of America in 2000.

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Theoretical Background

Humanistic Theory: Carl Rogers was an influential American psychologist and among the founders of the humanistic approach to psychology.

Optimal development, according to Rogers, results in a certain process rather than static state. He describes this as the good life where the organism continually aims to fulfil their full potential. He listed characteristics of a fully functioning person (Rogers 1961):

  1. A growing openness to experience – they move away from defensiveness and have no need for subception (a perceptual defense that involves unconsciously applying strategies to prevent a troubling stimulus from entering consciousness).
  2. An increasingly existential lifestyle – living each moment fully – not distorting the moment to fit personality or self concept but allowing personality and self concept to emanate from the experience. This results in excitement, daring, adaptability, tolerance, spontaneity, and a lack of rigidity and suggests a foundation of trust.
  3. Increasing organismic trust – they trust their own judgment and their ability to choose behaviour that is appropriate for each moment. They do not rely on existing codes and social norms but trust that as they are open to experiences they will be able to trust their own sense of right and wrong.
  4. Freedom of choice – not being shackled by the restrictions that influence an incongruent individual, they are able to make a wider range of choices more freely. They believe that they play a role in determining their own behaviour and so feel responsible for their own behaviour.
  5. Creativity – it follows that they will feel more free to be creative. They will also be more creative in the way they adapt to their own circumstances without feeling a need to conform.
  6. Reliability and constructiveness – they can be trusted to act constructively. An individual who is open to all their needs will be able to maintain a balance between them. Even aggressive needs will be matched and balanced by intrinsic goodness in congruent individuals.

Type Theory: Personality type refers to the psychological classification of different types of people. Personality types are distinguished from personality traits, which come in different levels or degrees. According to type theories, for example, there are two types of people, introverts and extraverts. According to trait theories, introversion and extraversion are part of a continuous dimension, with many people in the middle. The idea of psychological types originated in the theoretical work of Carl Jung and William Marston whose work is reviewed in The Personality Code, a book by Dr. Travis Bradberry. Building on the writings and observations of Carl Jung, during WWII Isabel Briggs Myers and her mother Katharine C. Briggs delineated personality types by constructing the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. This model was later used by David Keirsey with a different understanding from Jung, Briggs and Myers.

Fundamental to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator are the preferences which are normally abbreviated with the initial letters of each of their four preferences for instance:

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  • ESTJ – Extraverted, Sensing, Thinking, Judging
  • INFP – Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Perceiving

The preferences for are sometimes referred to as attitudes. Briggs and Myers recognized Extraversion and Introversion as functions that can show in the external world of behavior, action, people and things (extraverted attitude) or the internal world of ideas and reflection (introverted attitude). Sensing and Intuition are the information-gathering (perceiving) functions. They describe how new information is understood and interpreted. Thinking and Feeling are the decision-making (judging) functions. Those with a preference for Feeling prefer to come to decisions by associating or empathizing with the situation, and those with a preference for Thinking prefer to decide things from a more detached standpoint, measuring the decision by what seems reasonable, logical, causal, consistent and matching a given set of rules.

Assessment of George W. Bush’s Personality

Carl Rogers Theory

  1. A growing openness to experience – Bush has been alleged to have been intentionally avoiding any comment on his college days when he led a very extravagant lifestyle. It wa then that he earned the title of a playboy anf was taken to drinking.
  2. An increasingly existential lifestyle – as far his personal life is concerned Bush has lived every part of it completely. He owned a baseball team, he played baseball and he enjoys his stay at his ranch in Texas.
  3. Increasing organismic trust – though Bush showed no acceptance of social norms in his early life, he became more conservative in his approach once he became a political figure.
  4. Freedom of choice – his behavior and policies are constrained and they adhere to the choices given to him rather coming from his own judgement. Though when it comes to personal life, Bush has has been freedom loving.
  5. Creativity – well, this is agrey area for President bush.
  6. Reliability and constructiveness – This cannot be said about Bush for his policies towards Iraq and then Iran throws a shadow of doubt on his ability to be constructive in his approach. This was more again in early years when he aspired to be a businessman and faced heavy losses.

MBTI

Extraversion or Introversion: The picture that emerges over Bush’s life is one of an extravert. In his school years he takes on extraverted roles such as cheerleader and fraternity president. He earns a playboy reputation and demonstrates a bias for action by flying for the Texas Air National Guard.

Sensing or Intuition: George Bush appears to be a sensing type. The picture of Bush as a sensing type seems clear if we consider the younger Bush i.e. before he became a politician and thus subject to political spin and image building. In particular, the picture of Bush that emerges from his younger days is one of a person who thrives on living in the moment, whether it be playing sports or partying

Thinking or Feeling: Former White House speechwriter David Frum’s comments about George Bush suggest Bush demonstrates the traits of a thinking type. As he had said, “He is a tough-minded person. He is not always charming. He can be very brusque and dismissive.”

Judging or Perceiving: Accounts of Bush’s daily regimen as president suggest judging preferences. Even when on vacation at the Crawford ranch, prefers that his day be planned around a schedule thus reflecting a preference for judging.

The above assessment suggests George Bush is an ESTJ type, often referred to as the Administrator or Supervisor type (and frequently found in administrative roles that focus on implementing rules, procedures, and laws that reflect tradition).

Reference

Myers, Isabel Briggs; McCaulley Mary H.; Quenk, Naomi L.; Hammer, Allen L. (1998). MBTI Manual (A guide to the development and use of the Myers Briggs type indicator). Consulting Psychologists Press; 3rd ed edition. Web.

Rogers, Carl (1961). On becoming a person: A therapist’s view of psychotherapy. London: Constable. Web.

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PsychologyWriting. 2022. "George W. Bush's Personality Analysis." May 27, 2022. https://psychologywriting.com/george-w-bushs-personality-analysis/.

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